Many romantic movies are based on the fantasy of meeting “the one.” As fun as it may be to watch this fantasy played out, in real life it’s pretty problematic. For one, the idea that we all have to find our “soul mate” in this world of billions of people is totally daunting. Talk about pressure! For another, the focus on “finding the one” can distract us from the things that are actually essential to lasting romance. The truth is this:
Lasting romance is the fruit of a healthy covenant relationship. And the foundation of a healthy covenant marriage is a lifelong commitment of chosen love.
Rather than finding the “one,” you should be preparing to choose the “one.” This means you should be a powerful person seeking another powerful person. Powerful people can manage their life and choices, and in turn know how to manage their half of the relationship. When two people have proven to one another that they are powerful, then they will actually believe one another when they say “I do.”
So, what are the indicators that you’re in a healthy relationship headed toward marriage? Here are 6 ways to know that your relationship is powerful enough to handle the commitment of “I do.”
1. A Desire to grow
Emotionally healthy relationships operate upon the common goal of personal growth. Each person is responsible for their own growth and development. They have humility, seek out learning about themselves, and are able to adapt to meet the needs of others. Someone with a growth mentality has a desire to become the best possible version of themselves so they can share that version with others.
2. Pursuit of the relationship
Someone who is ready to be in a committed relationship will pursue the other person. The amount of time spent calling, texting, making plans, learning about the other person, and following up conversations with action should be equally split between two people. One might initiate interest, but in order for the relationship to grow into a commitment, there needs to be equal pursuit and investment.
3. Personal responsibility
Powerful people know how to manage their own life and choices. They will do what they say they are going to do. When they make a commitment, they do not break it. They are the kind of people that let their “yes be yes, and their no be no.”
4. Ability to be vulnerable
Being vulnerable means you are able to let others in to see your heart. Without vulnerability, there can be no intimacy. In a healthy relationship, both people know how to be vulnerable and protect one another’s vulnerability. Too much vulnerability too soon, before trust is established, isn’t healthy, and can create the need for boundaries. But as two people grow toward committed love, there should be greater levels of trust and vulnerability.
5. Emotional healing
Every person was born into a different set of circumstances. Some have had healthy models of communication and relationship, while others had anything but good examples. A key to being ready for a lifelong commitment is dealing with past hurts and emotional woundings. In order to best manage their own life and choices, powerful people take stock of any unhealthy behavior patterns in their life, ask questions about how these may be connected to their past, address the root causes of these patterns, and take a course of action that leads to new behavior patterns.
6. Valuing the connection
Someone who values the connection in a relationship will seek to resolve any issues that might cause disconnection. You cannot transfer love back and forth in a relationship when there is no connection. Two people might have different ways of dealing with disconnection. One person might need some space to internally process, and the other might want to immediately verbally process. It is important to value what each person might need to work through a disconnect, but the goal is always to find a way to reconnect.
Every person is on their own path of growth and maturity. To be in a healthy marriage, it requires two powerful people making daily decisions toward connection and covenant. Looking for the “right one” starts with being the right one for someone else. Once you are able to manage your own life and choices, the ability to find someone else who can also manage theirs becomes much easier. Remember, the goal is always to be able to say,
“You won’t ever have to manage my half of this relationship.”
PS) Do you have another topic of relational intelligence you’d like to know more about, or a question about dating or marriage? Send us your questions in the comments.