He's everything you've ever wanted. He's handsome, smart, witty, charming, and your friends and family adore him. He arrives on time and calls when he says he's going to call. He's successful and ambitious but knows how to relax and prioritize the things that matter most. He never gets angry. He always compliments you and tells you how beautiful you are. He's emotionally articulate and isn't afraid to show you his true feelings. As soon as you met him, you had that undeniable sense that he's The One. He completely gets you and sometimes even completes your sentences. Your chemistry is off-the-charts, you're always excited to see him, and he still makes your heart flutter, even after a year of dating. The moment he proposed, you said "yes" and never had a moment of doubt about your decision to marry him. You have that feeling of knowing, the one that everyone said would be a sign that you've met your Prince Charming. When you're with him, he makes you feel alive and beautiful. When you're away from him, it's like you're missing your other half. He's everything you've ever wanted, and more.
Okay, stop the press. The above paragraph is a fantasy. It was fun to write, but that guy -- the perfect package, the one who's ambitious and emotionally articulate and gorgeous -- doesn't actually exist. And if he happens to embody all three of those qualities, I guarantee you that he has other "imperfections". Because, let's face it, we're all human. We're all imperfect. We all come through the birth canal with foibles and unattractive qualities. When we're searching for "The One", we first have to let go of the idea that one person exists who will fulfill all of our requirements for a marriage partner. We have to relinquish the dysfunctional, societally-induced message that when you meet the right person you'll "just know" and you won't experience a moment of doubt. And we certainly have to redefine real love from a feeling that makes you complete (thank you, Hollywood, Disney, and Jerry Maguire, for perpetuating this damaging belief), to a choice, an intention, and an act of will (thank you, M. Scott Peck, for this healthy definition of love).
So let's try again. Signs you've met your Prince (or Princess) Charming:
- He's honest, reliable, and trustworthy.
- He gets you and supports you.
- You're attracted to his essence, his character, his heart.
- You enjoy spending time together, but you're also okay when you spend time separately.
- You both recognize that you are each complete on your own and that you come together to share love, not to complete each other.
- You share similar values (i.e., you both want kids or don't want kids, you're on the same page regarding religion and how you spend your free time).
- He's giving and caring.
- When you have conflict, you find a way to repair, learn, and move on.
- You know he'll make a great husband and father.
- There are no red flag issues: no addiction, abuse, or irreconcilable misalignment of core values.
- You enjoy doing simple things together, like making dinner and watching a movie.
- When your heart is open, you feel a sense of peaceful contentedness about the relationship.
If you've been lucky enough to meet a guy who fulfills most (80 percent) of the above list most of the time (we're not looking for perfect here), you've hit the jackpot. Sure, he'll bug you sometimes, you won't always be attracted to him, and you won't want to spend every minute with him; this the nature of marriage. But out of the billions of people on this planet you've met one who you not only love but you actually like, one with whom you can imagine spending the rest of your life and creating the crucible inside which you grow, age, and possibly create a family. Don't you think that's a gift worth celebrating? Congratulations: You've met your Prince Charming.
Sheryl Paul, M.A., has counseled thousands of people worldwide through her private practice, her bestselling books, her e-courses and her website. She has appeared several times on "The Oprah Winfrey Show", as well as on "Good Morning America" and other top media shows and publications around the globe. To sign up for her free 78-page eBook, "Conscious Transitions: The 7 Most Common (and Traumatic) Life Changes", visit her website at http://conscious-transitions.com. And if you're suffering from relationship anxiety - whether dating, engaged, or married - give yourself the gift of the Conscious Weddings E-Course: From Anxiety to Serenity.