By Lindsey VanSparrentak, iBelieve.com
Big news: Last month, I got engaged! (Cue happy dancing and girlish screams.)
But the process of moving from casual dating, to couple status, to getting engaged was not the simplest process. I found myself constantly second-guessing if Kyle was “the one”. I mean, our relationship didn’t look like a Nicholas Sparks movie so it couldn’t possibly be true love, right?
We often let society speak so much into our dating lives that we forget to listen to our own hearts. Once I silenced all the outside voices, I could hear God confirming that Kyle was going to be my husband. So here are 10 signs that I knew I was going to marry Kyle before he even proposed.
Warning: This post contains overly mushy sentiments of love. Reader discretion is advised.
1. We feel comfortable talking about anything.
Life is full of conversations, some of which are hard and awkward. But I’ve never felt like I couldn’t talk to Kyle about something. Personal insecurities, past relationships, unnecessary details from when I had the flu—we’ve talked about it all. Even when I was having doubts about our relationship, we talked openly and honestly about my concerns. By laying a foundation of open communication early on, we’ve set realistic expectations about our future and don’t let things go unsaid, positive or negative.
If this isn’t your relationship: Don’t panic! Being comfortable talking to each other about anything is something that grows over time. But if you’re thinking about engagement and you’re still not comfortable, slow down and focus on ways to become more transparent.
2. We maintain our own friends, hobbies, and interests.
Despite wanting to spend most of our free time with one another, we still have our own friends, hobbies, and interests. While it’s a lesser priority for some couples, it’s important to us that we don’t have to do everything together. Kyle can go golfing with his friends and I can go out to eat with some of my co-workers. Giving ourselves some time away from one another lets us enjoy the time spent together even more.
If this isn’t your relationship: Ask yourself (and then ask your significant other) if maintaining an independence in some social circles or hobbies is important to you. If it is, become more intentional in these areas. If it isn’t important to either of you, no worries! I’ve known plenty of couples who are happy doing everything together.
3. His happiness is my happiness (and vice versa).
One of the best feelings in life is knowing that there’s someone who values your happiness above his own. Being in a relationship where you both seek ways to make the other happy is a great way to increase selflessly serving one another. In the end, we each just love seeing one another enjoying life.
If this isn’t your relationship: It’s a pretty big red flag if each other’s happiness isn’t a priority in your relationship. It’s even more of a red flag if caring about the other’s happiness is one-sided. It creates an unhealthy balance in the relationship that can leave one person seriously hurt.
4. He's the first person I want to tell.
As Kyle and I began dating, he quickly became the person I wanted to tell the exciting things to: when I aced a project at work, when a co-worker gifted me with a new bicycle, or when I heard a hilarious joke on the radio.
But as we grew in our relationship, I invited him into all parts of my life. He became the person I wanted to tell about the ordinary things, too: what podcast I listened to on my evening walk, when I found a candy bar in the fridge that I had forgotten about, or when I had exact change at a store so I didn’t have to use my debit card.
If this isn’t your relationship: Take a moment and ask yourself why. Is it because you don’t share much with others in general? Is there someone else you prefer to talk to? If your relationship continues to grow without seeing progress in this area, take a closer look at your friendship with your partner. The person you marry should be your best friend! Don’t settle for anything less.
5. The bad stuff is better.
Last weekend, we dropped off Kyle’s car to get a tune up. But right as we pulled into his driveway, my car’s brakes went out. We took my car to the closest shop, and then without a care, we walked the few miles back in the midday summer heat.
You guys, I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that this situation would have left me a complete mess for days in the past. But honestly, it wasn’t all that bad. Don’t get me wrong, I hated forking over the cash, but having someone by my side in this situation made it so much better. He kept me calm and was constantly reassuring me. We even ended up enjoying our Saturday morning of car craziness.
If this isn’t your relationship: Keep in mind that bad stuff with a great person won’t necessarily be pleasant. Your significant other can’t magically fix everything. But if your S.O. heaps trouble, anxiety, or sadness on the pile, consider specifically addressing the things that help when you are struggling. If the behavior continues, it’s time to reevaluate your relationship.
6. Doing nothing with him is better than something with anyone else.
I love going on dates with Kyle: to the movies, out to eat, going hiking. But honestly, I also love doing nothing with him. Some of my favorite nights are when we sit on the couch and just talk. I just genuinely enjoy time spent together, whether it’s a date, running errands, or doing nothing whatsoever. True love is just being content with one another.
If this isn’t your relationship: Are you an extreme extrovert? Does the idea of staying in all night drive you up the wall? Then no sweat! You’re probably just discontent with the idea of doing nothing, no matter who you’re with! But if you constantly find yourself trying to make plans with anyone besides your boyfriend, it’s time to consider if the person you’re dating is a possibility for long term love.
7. He loves you as much in your highs as in your lows.
Confession: I’m an overly emotional person. I cry during nearly every movie, book, and television show. These emotions carry over to real life, too. One moment I’m practically effervescent, and the next I’m throwing myself forlorn onto my bed. (I’ve heard I can be dramatic sometimes, but I have NO idea what people are talking about.)
Never once has Kyle’s love for me wavered. His love is not conditional based upon the status of my emotions, even when I’m way more than a handful! God has given me a person who always tries to love me by Jesus’ example of love.
If this isn’t your relationship: Take a moment to remind yourself of God’s love. Now look to see how your relationship compares. Obviously, it will be short of perfect, but if you feel like you need to earn love, you’re not going to feel loved at all.
8. He's not what you expected, but he is what you need.
I always had this picture of marrying a man while I was a missionary overseas. Of course he’d be volunteering with Doctors Without Borders. We’d run marathons together, get married, and have our standard 2.5 kids. But none of that describes Kyle, and that’s more than okay!
Kyle works in the restaurant industry, loves to take long walks with me, and already has two beautiful girls from his previous marriage. None of that is what I expected, but God knew exactly what he was doing. He gave me a man who’s knowledgeable, a hard worker, grace-filled, and loving beyond all measure! As per usual, God’s plans were infinitely better than mine!
If this isn’t your relationship: Is your S.O. exactly what you imagined and exactly what you need? Awesome! Keep at it. But don’t force a relationship that fits your expectations, but leaves you unfulfilled. It’s not worth it—no matter how great that relationship looks on Instagram.
9. You have complete trust.
It’s often said that the key to a good relationship is trust, and that’s something I’ve struggled with in past relationships. Whenever my exes would get text messages or Instagram messages, I’d worry that they were talking to another girl. (Spoiler alert: a lot of times they were.)
But never once have I struggled to trust Kyle. Sure it took time to grow the trust we have now, but that’s the case with most healthy relationships. Because of our open communication and transparency with one another, we have built an incredibly strong foundation.
If this isn’t your relationship: There’s one of two reasons. You may have trust issues from a previous relationship. This is something you can communicate with your partner while taking proactive steps to heal. (Think: Bible studies, prayer, even seeking counseling.) But if your partner is breaking your trust repeatedly, this is a huge red flag. You can’t have a healthy relationship without trust.
10. There's something you just can't explain.
While fairy tales are best left to children’s storybooks, there’s still something so magical about love. You should get butterflies when you look deep into each other’s eyes, when you slow dance, or when he tells you that you’re the prettiest woman in the world. But you know you have something completely special if you get that spark when you’re unloading the dishwasher, sweeping out the garage, or lounging around in your sloppy clothes with your hair undone. That’s when it’s love.
If this isn’t your relationship: It may be because of the influence chick-flicks or social media. Take a break from both and notice if your feelings changing. But in the end, if you don’t feel the spark of love, it may be time to move on.
Lindsey VanSparrentak is a YouTube Specialist for a Christian publishing company in Colorado. She makes the most of life by adventuring through the Rocky Mountains, running long distances for fun, and planning her upcoming wedding! You can follow her on Instagram!