I am a very fortunate man. On Christmas day of 2014, right next to that white looking dome in the middle of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Lysia accepted my proposal and we got engaged.
In the past month, I have had a few people ask me – “how do you know you found the right person to settle down with?”. Just last week, my colleague from Mexico city was very curious when she found out that I was engaged – “You’re so young! How did you make such a big decision?”. Strangely enough, I found it really easy to answer these questions. Ask me a whole year ago, and I would have had to think really hard about it… So here are 3 signs I learnt in the past year that you’re ready to settle down:
#1 – When you realize that 2 is better than 1
Growing up, I have always been a very independent person. I had a big ego, made most big decisions on my own, latched onto solo-travelling, and basically loved being a “1”. Not being responsible to anyone (except maybe family), and mostly embracing the freedom of having only to answer to myself. Life was never too complicated. When I first started dating Lysia, I became increasingly nervous when I realized that I had become both responsible TO her and FOR her. Decisions were twice as difficult to make as I could no longer just think about myself. However, through the process of figuring out what works for the BOTH of us, we became increasingly sensitive of each others’ needs, and slowly came to be less selfish about life in general. Once you get pass that point, you start to realize how wonderful it is to have 1+1, someone else that you can share your treasured moments in life, someone else to have your back in all situations, and mostly someone else who probably loves you as much as you do yourself. At that point, you would understand that dependence actually feels as good, or even better, than the independence you had before.
#2 – When sacrifice feels good, no sorry, Great!
Following #1, being in a committed relationship means giving up some of you and giving that to the other person. It could be the independence, it could be a former habit, or even a dream career. When you are ready to put your partner before all that, in other words, sacrifice some of you, I believe you are ready to get married. More importantly, though sacrifice comes with some sort of a negative connotation, in the case I am describing here, the sacrifice is sweet. You will come to realize that nothing is more important in your life than this person you are with. If you’re ready to put him/her before your own priorities, you’re ready. You desire for their happiness, and you are thankful each day to wake up to their smiling face. For those who are interested, Timothy Keller has a few great chapters devoted to this in his book titled the Meaning of Marriage. I highly recommend it.
#3 – When you convince yourself that there is no ONE person out there for you
This is a controversial point, and even Lysia and I have differing views on this. I am going to share my view here which, of course, makes a whole lot of sense to me. Modern culture would have you believe that everyone has a soul-mate, which I disagree. There are about 6 billion people in the world today – let us assume male and female are spilt equally. Now, out of the 3 billion, let us assume further that only 1 billion are in your age bracket. If only 1 in a MILLION people are suitable for you, that is still 1000 potential life partners you will have. Picking just one is a function of time, place, and chance! So you trudge on in life and meet the first, didn’t really work out and you go on to the second… same story happens and you go on to the third… theoretically this could repeat for a long, long time because there are about 1000 of them for you to go through (in our example above). You can most definitely move on to the next, and the next, and the next, but theoretically you can continue “moving on to the next” your entire life. In my opinion, the moment you find one partner that you are so comfortable with, and the above 2 signs of dependence and sacrifice are checked, I say go for it! The ONE person/soul-mate you long for really does not exist because there are more than a thousand of them out there. However, be thankful that the right nexus of space, time, location and chance has allowed both of you to be in union at the same moment. He or she is the ONE for THIS MOMENT in life.
There is no #4, but let me just say that the most important thing is for us to stick to our word through life, which in itself is a long, long journey. This could happen to any couple – moments where we run out of “love” for each other, and even to the extreme of developing some form of “hatred”, God forbid! However, we all need to remember and abide by the one important decision we made when #1, #2 and #3 clicked for us, and when shitty moments surface, think of just three reasons why you first loved your partner, and I promise things will look a lot sweeter.