How are you supposed to know when you've found the person you're meant to marry?
It's a question I asked myself a lot when I was single. I would scroll through pages and pages of Match.com profiles, feeling skeptical. I'd sit in my car before a first date and wonder if the next few hours were supposed to change my life forever. I wanted to believe that my person was out there, but it was exhausting wondering if each bozo who sent me a message on OkCupid was him.
I was worried that I wouldn't know if it happened to me. I heard stories about love that kindled slowly, over time, and I worried that I'd get bored with my date before discovering that I actually loved him.
I didn't know, then, that love would hit me fantastically hard. When I did meet the man I was supposed to marry, it would be obvious.
Now I only wish that I'd trusted that it would be. I wouldn't have wasted so much time.
Here's how it happened.
How I Knew I'd Found The Man I Was Going to Marry
- He took me on dates.
Dates have become something rare and special. This is because so many men now expect women to hang out. This is often boring, and always sends a mixed message. ("Does he like me? Or are we just friends? And if we're not going anywhere, can I change into my yoga pants?")
But not my Billy. He took me out. He made fun plans. He paid for me, he held doors open for me, and he bought me flowers. All of these things made it clear that he liked me and was working hard to win my affection.
He won it.
- There were no games.
I recently learned that some people are so calculated about dating, they'll even time their responses to their text messages in order to gain the upper hand. For example, if it takes their date five minutes to reply to a text, they will then wait ten minutes before replying to them.
WHAT? Why do you need the upper hand if you (supposedly) like each other?
Billy did not do this. There was no upper hand. In fact, he put all his cards on the table. He never kept me waiting. He texted me all day long. He confessed everything. He blurted out "I love you." He showed me a picture of himself at his chubbiest, and also his fittest, and asked me if I could be okay with either of his two extremes. I was so charmed, I gave him an emphatic yes.
- He dazzles me.
This is important, since I just told you that he texted me all day long. Billy is not the first man to ever come on strong. He's just the first man that I couldn't get enough of. He's funny, sharp, talented, a little crazy, and I never know what's going to come out of his mouth next. I love being around to witness what he's going to do next.
- He is generous.
There are rich men, poor men, and the best, rarest men all: generous men. Billy is the most generous man I have ever met.
I first saw this when Billy and I went to Kennywood on an early date. We shared their legendary French fries. Billy had never had them before and I wanted to make sure he enjoyed them, so I made sure I ate all the burnt, shriveled fries and left the crispy, golden brown ones for him. Soon, we were both done eating, and only the most perfect, pristine fries remained. It turns out that he was also eating the ugly fries -- to save the best ones for me.
Billy is not a rich man. But he'd always go without to give me the best of everything he has.
- He is attentive.
This one was the clincher.
One day, before Billy and I lived together, I decided to Facetime him. He answered. Even though he was in the middle of checking out at the post office. Even though he was sublimely embarrassed when my enthused, "HEY BABY!" was heard by everyone in line. He always answers me.
Billy lavishes me with all the attention I need, which is a lot. He checks on me. He lets me know when he misses me. I always know where he is. And he makes me feel loved, every single day.
That is why it didn't take me long to nail this thing down. It took me 33 long years to find him, and now, I promise to appreciate him every single day.