5 Tips to Recognizing “The One”

I once dated a guy who said to me, “if there’s even a remote possibility that someone else could love you better than me, I will gladly step aside and let you be with that person.” I married that guy 9 years ago today.

Friends often ask the million dollar question: how did you know he was the one for you? It’s simple. And I’m sharing it here not so much because I think it will somehow help you (because let’s face it, everyone’s story is different), but mostly because my husband is so wonderful that I want to remind myself of why I’m married to him (especially now that I’m saddled down with two delectable munchkins and am losing my mind in the bathing/changing/nursing-around-the-clock routine). So here’s how I knew my husband was and still is the one for me:

  1. He’s not that crazy. (Told you it was simple.) In the sea of 7+ billion people out there, it’s a miracle to find someone who is not crazy. You’ve got the: neurotics, depressives, narcissists, chip-on-the-shoulders, never-got-over-my-childhood-issues, never-got-over-my-ex, “I’m not good enoughs,” and so on and so forth. But the key is to find someone who’s not that crazy. Like, can he handle conflict resolution without playing the offensive? Is he emotionally healthy enough to listen when you need it? Does he know how to apologize when he’s wrong, but still manage to correct you gracefully when you’re the one who was out of bounds?
  2. He’s for you, not against you. He’s seen the worst in you — the real bad — the foaming at the mouth, wild hair, Beyonce kinda crazy — and yet he refuses to define you by those moments. Instead, he roots for the potential of good in you. He expects and nurtures the best out of you. And because he does so, you start wanting to be the better version of yourself, too.
  3. He cares about the things you care about and doesn’t judge. This category encompasses your hobbies, passions, friends and family. Once, during our first year of marriage, we had to pick my mom up from the airport. When mom spotted her cooler box loaded with all the yummies that only a Vietnamese mom would think to check-in at the airport, mom and hubby both went to retrieve it while the lid flew open and out came a frozen solid fish — head and tail intact in all its glory. It went soaring over the conveyor belt, skating across the floor like a triumphant ice-hockey puck that made it to the goal post. The husband walked right over to the fish and carried it back to my mom as though he had just retrieved her lost teddy bear. My mom became his mom. Not once did he judge (though we all did have a good laugh over it afterward).
  4. He makes you feel like the princess you are. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he showers you with gifts and cowers to your every whim. BUT, he’s willing to slay dragons for you every now and then. You bring out the heroic prince in him because he has made you his princess. There was a time when I was up against a tight deadline drafting a brief for a class action lawsuit I was handling. I had a moment of complete stress and emotional breakdown. (I was also 6 months pregnant at the time.) The hubby was in SF for work and his flight home wasn’t until after my court filing was due. I completely spazzed out at him over the phone, blaming him for my self-created conundrum because he “wasn’t there for me” when I needed him. So what did my prince do in response? He surprised me at 4 o’clock in the morning by immediately hopping on a rental car to drive home to me fast as he could because the earliest flights back weren’t soon enough for him to just hold me and let me cry on him and yell at him for my self-induced misfortune.
  5. He’s willing to lead by submitting. My mother-in-law (a licensed therapist) told me that relationships should be 50/50. But her son won me over because our relationship is 100/100. My husband and I both submit to God, whom we know has the final say AND our best interests in mind, and then we both submit mutually to the needs and wants of the other. It doesn’t always end up 100/100, but because that is our intention, it often works out pretty well. He wins my respect because of his sacrifices for me and the kids. That then triggers my response to want to sacrifice for him. So instead of a downward spiraling relationship, I would say ours has a positive slope, albeit with little dips and rises, on the upward trajectory.

So there you have my 5 little tips to recognize the right one for you. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you found your Mr. Right, too!