I often hear this question
in my counseling practice. The answer is fairly complex
There are two different reasons that people have for
wanting to get married
To get love, validation, security
To share love and to grow
emotionally and spiritually.
People who feel insecure
and alone are likely to look for someone who will fill
the inner emptiness and give them the love they are
seeking. They want to find someone who will complete
them and make them feel adequate and worthy. The problem
is that no one can do this for another person - it is
something we each need to learn to do for ourselves.
Since we are always attracted to people who are at our
common level of woundedness or our common level of
health, a person looking to get love will attract a
person also looking to get love. Each person hopes to
get filled from the other, not realizing that each feels
empty and really has nothing to give. Therefore, no one
is the right person when the intent of getting married
is to get love and security rather than to share love
asking the question, “Is this the right person for me?”
why not ask, “Am I being the right person?” Am I being a
person who comes to a relationship filled with love to
share, or am I being a needy person hoping to get love
The main reason that many relationships don’t work out
is because each person is disappointed in not getting
what they expected to get from the other person. But
when a person does not know how to love and validate
themselves and create an inner sense of safety and
security, they certainly can’t do this for another
person. Yet this is what each person expects of the
other. It’s like trying to get water from a rock. What
do you have to give when you feel empty within and want
to get filled through another’s love?
It is actually fairly easy to know if this is the right
person for you when your intent in being in a
relationship is to learn together and share love. A
person who comes from a full place within finds it easy
to discern when someone is empty inside, and will not be
attracted to the empty person. A person who is truly
open to learning about themselves, to growing
emotionally and spiritually, to taking responsibility
for their own feelings of safety and security, worth and
lovability, will not be attracted to a person who is
closed, controlling, and just wants to get love.
Knowing if this is the right person for you does not
happen instantly. It takes months to discover whether or
not a person is who they say they are. You cannot really
know who a person is until you have conflict and find
out what this person does in conflict. Some people can
appear very open and loving until a conflict comes up
and then they get angry, withdraw, resist or comply,
closing down rather than staying open to learning about
themselves and the other person. An important question
is, how does this person deal with conflict and how long
does it take them to open up if they do close in the
face of conflict?
Since none of us enter relationships fully healed, it is
very important to know that your partner is willing to
explore conflict rather than just protect against it
with controlling behavior. Conflict occurs in all
relationships, and if both people are not open to
learning about themselves and each other within the
conflict, the unresolved conflicts will eventually
destroy the relationship.
If you are a person who is open to learning and wants a
relationship in order to share love, there are three
essential ingredients that need to be present for the
person to be the right person for you:
There needs to be a basic spark of
attraction. If you do not feel physically attracted to
this person within the first six months of the
relationship, the chances are this attraction will not
develop. It does not need to be instant, but it does
need to be there at some point.
Both of you need to be capable of
caring, compassion, and empathy - to be a giver rather
than just a taker. If this person just wants what they
want and doesn’t care about what you want, they are not
the right person for you. If you just want what you want
and you don’t care about what the other person wants or
feels, you are not ready for a relationship.
Both people need to be open to
learning in conflict rather than just wanting to win and
be right. If both people are open to learning in
conflict, conflicts will be resolved in loving ways, but
power struggles will result if one or both of you are
intent on controlling and winning.
Other ingredients, such as common interests and values,
are also important, but without the above three
ingredients, they will not sustain the relationship.
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