There's a myth floating around that, if you ever want to get married, you first have to find "the one." It can make it feel like everyone you date doesn't quite measure up, because they're not ticking every single box when it comes to what you want in that perfect, soulmate-of-a-partner. But guess what? Sometimes having a healthy relationship with someone you love is more than enough —and may even be a sign you should get married.
And guess what else? That's totally OK, because there is no such thing as a perfect partner. Or a perfect relationship. "There will always be issues in any relationship," NYC-based therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW tells Bustle. "It is how you deal with these issues that will make or break the relationship."
As long as you have the basics of a healthy relationship (many of which are listed below, including how to deal with everyday issues) and you love each other, then you can feel confident you'll have a healthy, long-term relationship. And, if marriage is something you'd both like to do, then go ahead and go for it. Because hey, you two might not not be a soulmates, but I bet you're pretty darn close.
1. You're Able To Argue Effectively
You might think arguments wouldn't happen if you were with your "soulmate," but the truth is, they'd happen with anyone. That's why the only thing that matters is how you both handle it. "If you're are able to argue in a healthy manner — no insults, no name calling, no bringing up any past mistakes — this is a relationship that should be able to go the distance," says psychic and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport. "Everyone argues, but to be able to agree to disagree is extremely important for a healthy relationship."
2. You Both Have Great Communication Skills
In the same vein, you'll be able to build a healthy long-term relationship if you're both able to communicate. "If you have good communication skills, your relationship has a great future," Rappaport says. "Your partner should be willing to communicate their ideas, thoughts, and feelings in a way that works for both of you." And, of course, you should be able to do this, too.
3. You've Got Each Other's Backs
Life is tough and relationships are difficult, but you'll likely weather it all if you've got each other's backs. And, if you're willing to support each other through thick and thin. "If your partner has your back and you can count on them no matter what happens, look no further — your partner is a 'keeper,'" Rappaport says.
4. You're On The Same Page About Commitment
If you've had a discussion about the rules in your relationship — like what it means to be faithful, for example — and you're both willing to stick to them, then you've got a shot at a healthy partnership. "Finding a partner who honors their commitment to you and does not stray is important," Rappaport says. "Even if your partner may not be your ideal or a soulmate, the fact that they value you and your relationship enough to remain faithful is very hard to find these days."
5. There's Mutual Trust
OK, so you know that — no matter what — you can trust your partner when it comes to fidelity. But you also know they're capable of being a lifelong vault when it comes to your secrets. "When told something in confidence, you both do not share the information with anyone — even your best friend," Hershenson says. Vulnerability is such an important part of a healthy marriage, so if both feel able to open up, consider it a great sign.
6. You Have A Healthy Sex Life
Even though your SO isn't that "ideal" you had in mind (and maybe you're not theirs, either) you two still have a fun, exciting, and fulfilling sex life. And, you're intimate throughout the day. "You physically touch other. Whether it's a kiss hello or goodbye, snuggling on the couch or holding hands," Hershenson says. "Even non-sexual touching builds connection between partners." Which means you two could be happy together, for a very long time.
7. You're Both Able And Willing To Compromise
Sharing your life with someone and entering into a marriage means being able to compromise. So, can you and your partner handle it? As dating expert Tina Wilson says, "If you are willing to compromise about things that really mean the most to you, this is a good sign of a relationship that can stand the test of time."
8. You Respect Each Other
It'll be impossible to build a long-term relationship without respect, so check for this, too. "If your partner treats you respectfully and with dignity, this is extremely important," Rappaport says. "If they listen to you and don’t belittle you, insult you, or are in any way abusive, you know they are kind and loving."
9. They're Not Afraid To Be Wrong
Since marriage is obviously a big deal, you'll want to be with someone who's mature. And one way to tell someone's mature? They're truly able to own their mistakes. If this is the case, Rappaport tells me you'll both be able to take responsibility for your words and actions, apologize like you mean it, and admit it whenever you've done something wrong.
10. They Have A Great Sense Of Humor
Again, life is tough, so you'll probably want to navigate it with someone who has an excellent sense of humor. "If you and your partner have the same sense of humor and can keep things light and fun from time to time, you hit the jackpot. Being able to find humor in life, especially when things get rough, is so important," Rappaport says.
11. You Have Healthy Boundaries
Who you are today isn't who you'll be in 20 years, so it's important that you both allow space for the other to grow as individuals. As Rappaport tells me, your marriage will probably be healthy if you're both secure enough to spend time alone, while supporting each other's goals. "It also reinforces healthy boundaries, which everyone needs."
If you and your SO have these qualities, then you've likely got the makings of a healthy relationship. While they may not be your perfect soulmate, they're likely just close enough.
Images: Pexels (12)