This past weekend marked 6 months that Monica and I have been married. Of course, whenever we are out somewhere we typically get the “How’s married life?” question. Lately, many people (especially men) have been asking the million-dollar question, “How did you know she was the one?”. Usually, this is tough for me to respond, not because I don’t know the answer; but because there were a number of things that led me to ask for her hand in marriage. I think men often look for one big event or the defining moment, that will ultimately lead them to throw their ‘player cards’ out the window. In my case, I knew early on in our relationship that Monica would eventually become my wife. There were many subtle signs, but here are the 4 main things I noticed early on.
1. She Was Everything That I’m Not
I know it’s going to sound a little cliché, but opposites really do attract. When Monica and I began dating, I found out immediately that she was everything that I wasn’t. From the jump, I admired her brain and I understood she was smarter than me. Now, that’s not saying that I am not a smart person, but her mind is on another level! Many things we do, vacations we take, or calculated risks, stem from her train of thought. I tend to say she’s the thinker and I’m the execution. During the time of us dating early on, this was important for me. Sometimes, I can be a bit impulsive with decisions and with marriage that may not be the best thing. She became my voice of reason, someone I could talk to before taking a risk or making a decision. She was all about ‘thinking things through’. Now that we are married, those roles are still pretty much the same. Sometimes, it happens so simply and casually, we don’t even pay much attention to it. For example, one random day last fall, we had a simple conversation about taking a Christmas trip instead of going home for the holidays. She talked about how our schedules lined up, threw some nice destinations out there with good weather, activities she wanted to do, etc. By the end of the night, I had pretty much planned the entire trip out! Of course, that wasn’t a major event in our lives, but it shows sometimes I need her thoughts in order to put things into action. I always tell her, if she can think it, I will make it happen and that has gotten us through.
There’s much more to it, though. She’s the quiet introvert and me, on the other hand, can speak to anyone in the room. I’m the early bird and she’s the night owl. She prefers music, and me, I am more into movies and sit-coms. Trust me, this list goes on and on; but for us, it works perfectly. I know, you’re probably thinking what this has to do with me knowing she was ‘The One’. Honestly, it was important to find someone with different interests. It made our relationship adventurous and it forced us to try new things, in efforts to please each other. Because of this, we were teaching each other about compromise, without even knowing it. As we move forward with our relationship and our marriage, we never stop learning about each other. From day one, she removed me from my comfort zone, simply by being my opposite. It was something that I loved then, and I still love today.
2. She Had a Vision That Didn’t Include Me
My wife can be the hardest person on herself, and sometimes she’s a little too hard. But one thing I admire about that is her vision she’s created for herself and her future. I’ve never wanted to be the boyfriend and ultimately the husband, that his spouse absolutely depends on for everything. Yes, it has always been my job to lead and provide; but it is also my job to empower her vision for her personal goals as well. Early on, we had a conversation about our dreams and aspirations and she didn’t mention marriage one time. And truthfully, that attracted me to her even more. I could see that her dreams were real and that she wasn’t just ‘looking for a ring’ like some women do. I knew subconsciously that our bond would become strong enough for marriage; but if someone doesn’t have any ambition for themselves, it’s not easily taught. I loved that she had this desire to want more and her actions have always matched her hustle. In a way, her personal vision challenged me to start acting on my own goals. We all have a point in our lives where we tend to get a little complacent, but that doesn’t happen often with my wife around. Seeing these characteristics from her early was not only inspiring, but it was alluring as well. A positive trait that I envisioned my life-partner having.
3. Family First
In all my years, I have never met someone more protective of their family. And I mean she’s protective of everyone, not just her immediate family. I would be lying if I said I didn’t like it, though. This one was really big for me early on because how a person treats their family tells a lot about their character. It was obvious she valued her family and I knew those same values would transfer to our marriage and our family, once we reached that point. This was also a way for us to relate to each other as well. Like myself, Monica was and still is extremely close to her mother and grandmother. From the very beginning, we made conscious efforts to spend time with those close to us. Even now, she will often ask ‘Have you called your grandma?’ or “When was the last time you spoke to your dad?”, ensuring I am on point. I honestly love it, and I know once we take the next step in our marriage, she will treat our own family the exact same.
4. My Defining Moment
I started this article speaking about how some men search for the big event or the defining moment that reassures them that they’ve found ‘The One’. For some of us this happens, for others, it doesn’t. I can still remember the day it happened to me. I was 24 years old, Monica and I had been seeing each other for about 18 months, and officially together for nearly a year. We had been living together for a couple of months now and to everyone, things were going extremely well. It was October 31, 2013, the night of Halloween. She literally just started a new job the day before, but she kept her old one to make a little extra money on the side. I was working with the Milwaukee Bucks at the time, everything seemed great. That night, I received a work email, asking me to be there the next morning a half hour early. I turned to Monica and told her “I am going to get fired tomorrow morning”. I felt it coming for months, I saw some of the signs long before it happened. She kind of blew it off at the time, but in the back of my mind, I was terrified of what was next. Let’s be honest, we were both young and we just moved in together. I didn’t want to be the man that ended up out of work for so long that it became an issue in our relationship.
The next morning, my intuition was on point and I was fired on November 1. Of course, she was the first person I called, and still, she didn’t believe me lol. She got home from work that day and I was in the bed, distraught. I started rambling on and on about how this wouldn’t last long, and how I will get back on my feet asap; then she made me stop talking. She told me not to worry about it and she will continue to work her two jobs in the meantime. That day literally changed my perception of her forever. Here I was thinking she would be in a panic, but she didn’t even flinch. I knew from that point on, nothing could break us. No matter what happened, trials or tribulations, we would always have each other to fall back on. I admired the fact that she was always rooting for me to win, but still accepted me when I failed. There was no pressure or hard feelings.
There will be many signs throughout your relationship that will define the person you’re with. Finding ‘The One’ is more than looks or their personality. Focus on the small things that this person may not show you every day, but when the time is right you will see what they are about. I encourage both men and women to be themselves and don’t be afraid to show your partner who you truly are. Some things you may see as a flaw, but the person you’re with may praise. So, to answer the question, “How did I know?” is tough, because there are still things she does today that validates my decision to make her my life partner.