Five years ago today Rob asked me to marry him. It was perhaps the easiest question I have ever had to answer and I want to share why.
I have read a lot about ‘red flags’ in relationships; things or attitudes that act as warnings that the relationship is not going to work. Well, I thought I would share five green flags that were a ‘go ahead’ signal to give my heart to Rob.
- We agreed on the ‘big things’
For a relationship to truly work well there has to be unity on what you believe are the most important things in life. For me, my big things included my faith, a desire to settle into a home and start a family. I knew I needed someone who shared those big goals. I would have been a terrible match with someone who wanted to travel the world because I would always be more concerned with saving a deposit for a house. Whatever we did one of us would always be resenting the other.
As it happens, Rob is a keen traveler and has done a fair bit in his twenties but when we got together he too was setting his heart on building stability. Knowing that we wanted the same things was a big green flag that we could help one another build the life that we both wanted.
2. It was all so easy
I remember when we first started seeing one another I kept a count of how many days in a row that we saw one another. I normally enjoy my alone time and need breaks from even my closest friends to recharge, but when Rob and I spent 21 days in a row together and I still wanted to see him on day 22, I knew that something special was happening.
In the simplest way I just enjoyed being with him and it was easy to be in his company. It wasn’t an effort, I never worried about what he was thinking or how I looked or how to fill the time. We didn’t second guess one another and we didn’t exhaust one another. It was easy, fun and felt comfortably normal; like this is how life is supposed to be.
3. He gave me sparks
When I saw Rob for the first time the weirdest thought flitted through my mind. I looked at him and in my head a voice said;
‘you and I would make good looking babies’
It was bizarre! I didn’t even want children back then. I knew nothing about Rob apart from his name but I just felt a very strong instant attraction. Five years later, when circumstances allowed us to spend more time together the attraction was still there.
Butterflies in the stomach, goosebumps when you touch, shivers down the spine. There has to be a physical attraction. No matter how many jokes people make about the ‘friend zone’ the truth is that romantic relationships need to have the spark. There are plenty of good guys out there but you need one whose smile flips your stomach.
4. There were other women in his life
That sounds wrong but hear me out. One of the things I soon found reassuring about Rob is that he has a number of female friends with whom he has never been romantically involved, because it shows that Rob doesn’t just see women as potential partners; he views them as people; interesting, funny, complicated people.
It meant that Rob would see me as a whole person too. Not a trophy girlfriend, not as a hysterical woman, he would see and treat me as a person, with thoughts and feelings that are as valid as his own.
This can be a difficult issue for people who have dealt with cheaters in their past because insecurities will mean that you view other women as threats to your relationship. But the truth is that Rob’s female friends are now my friends too and our life is stronger and richer for having them in it.
5. He encouraged me to raise my game
Rob set up this blog for me when I said that I wanted to write more. When I said I was feeling a bit lonely he made sure we made plans with friends. When I get stuck on a project he helps me. When I say ‘I am not sure I can do this’ he tells me I can and helps me work out how. He is invested in my dreams and ambitions and I am invested in his.
We become cheerleaders for one another. Your partner should be that voice in your life that says ‘you’ve got this’. If you find someone who cares about you doing the things you love then hold on to them, love them, marry them.
Investing in your dreams is a huge neon green flag to go ahead, that this is true love.