My mother always told me, when it comes to finding The One, “when you know, you know.”
Those words bounced around my brain for years. They endured through numerous relationships – always souring what I had. Poisoning my thoughts. Ruining the possibility of a future.
Over the years, as my friends began to pair off and settle down, I found myself constantly comparing my relationship du jour to everyone else’s lasting ones. What did theirs have that mine didn’t. What was I missing? How could I find it? Where the hell was he??
And that phrase just infuriated me. “When you know, you know” — how condescending. How emotionally impulsive! Maybe I was the type of person who needed painstaking analysis and pros and cons lists and careful consideration to decide exactly who I was supposed to be with.
How smart am I, I thought smugly, to approach finding a partner so rationally. I believed I knew best; that I’d achieve the greatest longterm happiness by calculating compatibility to the nearest degree.
But ultimately, logic doesn’t equate to love.
Recently, I read an article about a couple who wrote their wedding vows based on relationship science research. They came up with ten promises to help cement their love for one another and mitigate the risk of divorce. Of course – we can’t know how their marriage will turn out in the long run, but their vows are action-oriented, adorable, and far less vague than “I promise to love you in sickness and in health ‘til death do us part”.
One particular section stood out to me:
I promise to always strive to meet your needs, not out of obligation, but because it delights me to see you happy.
It delights me to see you happy.
This is perfect.
I think this sentiment is exactly what my mother was trying to convey to me all along. When you find the right person, you look forward to finding new ways to make them smile.
I’m done being cynical. I’m done being overly analytical. When you know… I believe you know you know.