You've met someone, you like him. He's fun, interesting, intriguing. Still, you're not too sure about him. You're smart, so you know it all seems really great upfront and while you're excited about the possibilities, you're skeptical--as you should be. There are so many things that could change in the next few months and you know that sometimes men just tell you what you want to hear, that they don't really know what they want, or that even if they seem to want something now, they could feel very different in six months.
What really matters to you is that you don't want to waste your time. If he doesn't want this, that's fine. You know enough by now to not try and force him into something he's not up for. What you really want to know is this: Is he worth your time, your energy, your Love, and your heart? If you invest in this relationship, will the investment pay off? You're at a point now where you don't have time to play games anymore and dating for you is really about discovering the answer to this one question:
"Is he marriage material?"
You are absolutely correct to question this. Your goal with him should be to find out if he is worthy of you and if he will return your commitment with his own. You're right to be skeptical and yet you'll have to risk a little or you'll never really know if it's worth it.
We know from first-hand experience that this can be a very challenging situation to navigate. We know for a fact that there are great men out there that would love nothing more than to find a great woman to spend their lives with. We also know there are men out there pretending to be great men, but they're really still just boys. And we know that you want to know exactly how to tell the difference so you can save yourself the heartache and get moving onto finding your happily ever after.
In this post, we're going to share what we know about the "right" man so you can quickly and easily determine if your new man is the one.
1. Does he make you a priority?
This one idea is so important. It takes so much of the guesswork out of dating. You don't have to try too hard to read into the signs and wonder "what does this mean?" or "how does he really feel?" Boys play games, but men are clear about what they want and they let you know it.
If he is interested in you, it will be very obvious that he wants to see you. He will call you, text you, ask you out, try to make plans with you. He will make the time, and you won't have to guess if he's interested.
Sometimes we hang onto the smallest gestures of kindness and generosity while ignoring the obvious facts. You don't have to justify anything or make any excuses for him. If he did something nice for you two weeks ago but has made little effort since then, that should tell you how invested he is in creating a relationship with you.
It's really very simple: Has he shown you that he wants to be with you today? Can you answer that question to your own satisfaction?
Him showing you he is interested is essential, but how you respond to that interest is also critical. Ask yourself: How have you let him know you want to be with him today?
We bring this up for two reasons:
One: If you want him to do all of the work, that's not fair. If you want him to call you (and keep calling you), when he does, show him that you're happy he called. When he texts you, respond with excitement (use emojis;)). When he asks you out, make yourself available. Don't play games with him, be authentic. Truthfully, that's what creates solid relationships.
Two: When you do this watch how he responds. The right man will be greatly appreciative and will, in fact, work harder on the relationship. The wrong man will get cocky about it and think he "has" you and will start to put in less effort. If you see this happening, you'll know that he's not marriage material.
You may want to see him "work for it" or prove himself--and he should prove himself--but his efforts should be rewarded. We end up hating dating because we make each other jump through hoops and we're rarely ever honest about whether we actually like each other or not. Nobody wants to play games indefinitely, and you can't expect him to chase you for too long if you're not giving him something that he believes is worth chasing.
If he is into you, he will make it known. If you want him to come back for more, make sure that when he does, you let him know that you're happy about it.
Also, on occasion, don't be afraid to be the first to reach out. There is a lot of pressure put on men to be the initiators, and while in most cases they will be, it will mean a lot to the right man that you're thinking about him enough to reach out first. For a man who is really into you, this will not go unnoticed.
Don't waste your time with anyone who does not make you a priority. When he makes an effort, reward that and see how he responds. What you'll eventually have is both of you making a consistent effort in the relationship. This is a solid foundation on which you can build a powerful relationship.
2. Is he consistent?
Probably the most telling attribute of a committed and honorable man is consistency. Yet this is one of the things that many women will be very quick to overlook, and that is a huge mistake. Marriage, while it can be exciting at times, is not about the "thrills". A man who is primarily thrill-seeking is not marriage material. His ability to be consistent, even early on in the relationship, shows you that he is willing to do what is necessary for you, regardless of how he is feeling that day, or the stresses of life and work.
He should have the ability to lay aside short-term pleasure for his long-term commitments and will be applying this principle to 90% of his Life.
He should be consistent in action (which is what we spoke about in number one), and we don't mean that he should only be consistent in the first few months. Just as much as he wanted to call/text and spend time together early on, that should not change with any amount of time. His action should always demonstrate that you are a priority. In fact, as you grow together, he should begin taking more bold and life-changing actions that show that you and your relationship together are a priority.
In the beginning, calling and texting a little each day and seeing each other a few times a week is appropriate. A year into the relationship, he will likely be arranging his Life to see you on a daily basis. He will be calling and checking in with you regularly, and discussing important decisions with you.
Our intention is not to lay down a rule of how and what should happen at what point as a timeline--please don't hear us saying that. Each couple will have a unique situation that will play out differently. We are simply saying that a man who is marriage material will become more consistent (not less) over time, and you will not have to force him to be this way.
In all relationships, it is essential that you clearly request what you want from each other and make agreements to do the things that support your Life together. At times, you will need to let him know specifically the things you would like him to be consistent with. He's not psychic and he's not perfect, and chances are, he will make mistakes. The point is, he will want to do these things, and you will clearly see the effort that he is making towards them.
He should also be consistent in his demeanor and the way he treats you. A man who has no control of his emotions--someone who yells at you, slams doors, breaks things, or is physically violent in any way--is not ready for marriage. Of course, you will be angry with each other or hurt at times, and sometimes you will not know how to communicate. You will go from anger to fear and experience every emotion in-between.
The man you want to marry will respect you always. He will never attack your dignity, call you names, or insult you. Even in the most challenging of times, his Love and respect will remain consistent.
Is he consistent in action and in demeanor? If you pay attention, it should not take more than a few months to determine. If you become clear for yourself that he is not, then you have your answer.
In many instances, we have been able to sit down with couples to help them both understand and create consistency in their relationship. This has saved relationships that otherwise might not have lasted. It's not a guarantee, as we take each situation on a case-by-case basis and some men and women are simply not in a place where they are ready for that. If you would like us to look at your situation and let you know what we think, click here for a consultation.
3. Do you see a Life together?
This is a crucial point that we've raised many times in our content. He may be a great guy, BUT--can the two of you agree on the life that you're creating together and on where you see the relationship going?
Many of the hard breakups we've seen happen could have been avoided if these conversations were had early on. Granted, it's not the sexiest thing to do on your first few dates and we're not suggesting that it should be a topic of conversation on your first date (though it can be). Early on, though, you'll want to begin having conversations about the vision you have for your Life together, whether or not that includes marriage, and see how he feels about that. Learn about his vision and see how you feel about it.
As you have these conversations, some things will "fit" and some things will not. In some instances, you'll be on the same page about certain things and some you won't. When Fatima and I started dating, one thing that we discussed was that Fatima wanted children. I, on the other hand, wasn't so sure. I had to do some soul searching and come to terms with the idea that if this relationship were to work out, we would have children, and if that is something that I could commit to.
In the areas that you don't see eye-to-eye on things, you have to be willing to accept that maybe he isn't "the one". In that openness, there is a safe space to explore if the two of you can come to mutual terms on those issues. If you both want the relationship, you'll be able to come to a compromise on most things. Doing this work on the front end avoids any feelings of "I didn't sign up for this" coming up down the road. Your willingness to hear each other's visions of how you see your life together being, find the areas where they are not on the same page, and together, get them on the same page, will save you a lot of potential heartaches.
In dating, sometimes we don't want to bring it up because we don't want to be "too much" or freak the other person out. But seriously, why waste any amount of time with someone who is unable or unwilling to be open to the kind of life you really want for yourself? People often marry each other--commit to spending their entire lives with each other--without ever having these important conversations. This, we think, is probably one of the major reasons why the divorce rate is so high.
You can't truly commit to someone without having some clarity about what that commitment involves. If you get married without first establishing that, the marriage is not based on anything except the feelings you had early on. Those feelings will change and when things get challenging, the first response for many people is to get out.
Don't hide from the tough conversations in relationships--have them. It is a disservice to yourself and to him to avoid them. People often say to us that they don't really have a clear vision to even bring up. Everyone has desires and expectations for the relationship they want, whether conscious or unconscious. We work with our clients on creating that clear vision, coming to terms with their own heartfelt desires, and learning to voice them.
If you let your desires and expectations for the relationship remain unconscious, you're likely to get yourself into a situation you're displeased with because you were never clear about where you wanted your relationship to go, nor did you communicate that to your partner. Rather than the two of you designing your life together, you go with the flow and end up where you end up.
That is not the path to happiness.
Know what you want in your Life. For any person you're considering spending your Life with, let them know all about it too. That is the only way you will ever have what you want.
If you meet a man and he makes you a priority, is consistent in action and demeanor, is respectful to you all of the time (there is NO situation EVER that warrants a lack of respect), and the two of you can create a common vision of the life you see for yourselves and both be on board with it, then you can be sure he is marriage material.
Everything said here applies to both partners. If you want to be a priority be sure to make him one as well. If you want respect, be respectful. Just as he will need to compromise for your vision, make compromises for his. When two people consistently meet each other half-way, they are sure to build a powerful bond.
Our last piece of advice on this is don't fool yourself. As we said earlier, you don't have to make any justifications or excuses for him--these qualities are either present or they aren't. Some of them can be worked on, others cannot. We can support if you need help distinguishing what is workable and what is not. Be honest with yourself about what you see and get honest feedback from someone you trust--a coach, therapist, or a trustworthy confidant.
When you are clear that these qualities are present in him and in your relationship, you can move forward in confidence. This is a relationship worth hanging onto.
The Living Relationship
Our story is your story. Two people, perfectly flawed in all kind of ways, traveling the path of Life together, making mistakes, growing through them, and learning from study, success and failure.
We say that we Teach the Art of Extraordinary Love!
While we all must travel this journey of Life, with its ups and downs, its joys and its pains, this path is so much better traveled with a partner.
Our commitment is to people having that partnership, to their lives being filled with Love and to their relationships being safe, healthy and Loving.
To learn how working with us can transform your life and relationships, or if you'd like to schedule and introductory session with us, click here. We'd love to get to know you and begin building powerful, connected and Loving relationships together.