6 Ways to Tell You're With the Person You Should Marry, According to Science
If you've ever been in love, there might have been a time when you began to wonder if your significant other is someone worthy of that lifetime commitment. You know, the one that involves walking down the aisle.
Many of us may hope the answer lies somewhere in the pages of Cosmo, where readers often seek advice about deal breakers or try to find secret signs in the way their partner answers certain questions, but there are deeper reasons that may suggest you're with the person you should marry. There's actually a lot of science at play.
Of course not everyone wants to get married, and no one in a long-term relationship should ever feel pressured to tie the knot. But if you are the marrying kind, here's how you know if you're with the person you should marry.
1. You can rely on your partner when things go wrong.
According to marriage and family therapist Erica Curtis, a relationship is marriage material when a couple is able to cope together, knowing they can rely on each other through the ups and downs of life.
"While it's not pleasant to think about the worst of the worst that life can throw at you, when considering whether or not you're with the person to marry, it can be useful to consider the darker side of life and how you imagine the two of you might fair through it together," Curtis told Mic.
This is in line with a 2010 study from the Journal of Marriage and Family which found that couples who have similar fighting styles, particularly constructive and calm communication approaches, have the lowest divorce rates. A couple who fights well together loves well together.
2. You're hooked on your partner's idiosyncrasies.
A recent study found that while looks, wealth and charisma are what initially reels someone in, what makes someone stay for the long-term is accepting your partner's idiosyncrasies.
While some people may leverage a partner's quirks as negative qualities in fights, a compatible partner learns to adore your confounding love for marmalade or squeaky, high-pitched laugh. As Robin Williams' character said in Good Will Hunting, "People call those imperfections, but no, that's the good stuff."
3. You know you can grow together through ultimate tragedies.
"Now, you can imagine a zombie apocalypse if you'd like," said Curtis. "But try filling in the blank with something a little closer to reality like a serious illness, the death of a parent or even the death of a child, but ask yourself, 'What about the relationship tells me that we will (or won't) be able to grow through these hardships together?'"
4. You have more than compatibility in your relationship.
While the dating world, especially dating sites, like to have us believing what makes for a last relationship is compatibility (i.e., all those questionnaires), according to University of Texas psychologist Ted Huston, focusing on shared interests isn't what makes for a great relationship, mutual commitment is. It's when couples start looking at what they don't have in common, that things can get off track.
Along with deep commitment, another key element of sustainable, long-term marriages is that partners are looking for relationships that are full of meaning, rather than thrills. "The complexity of the beloved is an important factor in determining whether love will be more or less profound as time goes on," Aaron Ben-Zeev, a philosophy professor at the University of Haifa in Israel, told Business Insider. The more nuanced your relationship and your partner, the longer and more satisfying the marriage. You can't find that through a quiz.
5. You know how each other feels about pretty much everything.
A study out of the University of Virginia found that when it came to the ability of the 4,242 participants to be able to tell if their partner was happy in the relationship, only 40.9% could correctly answer. Being on the same page and understanding what's going on in your partner's head is essential.
6. You're both able to communicate and respect equally.
Although we all know that communication is essential to a great marriage, how well you communicate is key. Curtis says to ask yourself, "Can you communicate with each other about your feelings and needs? Are you able to request things of each other without demanding or shaming? Do you have mutual respect for each other? Are you both willing to challenge yourselves to grow?" These questions are a great litmus test to determine what kind of dialogue going on in your relationship.
In fact, a great way to determine if you're ready to tie the knot is by asking yourself if your partner feels like a true friend. A 2014 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that marriage often contributes to a sense of well being, especially for couples who have an incredibly close friendship with their partners. People who called their spouse their "best friend" were two times more likely to report a happy and satisfactory marriage.
So ask yourself the tough questions. "Even if you're never confronted with these issues," said Curtis. "It may shift your focus toward the qualities (or lack of qualities) in your partner that may matter the most when deciding whether or not you want to commit to your partner 'til death do you part."