The Only Way To Know If The Man You Love Is The Person You Should Marry

Hint: It's internal.

Last updated on Mar 06, 2023

man and woman laughing and cuddling Carlos Martinez Subirats / Shutterstock

Last week I had a mother-daughter date night with my daughter Lisa, usually dinner (with a catch-up conversation) and then a movie. This week it was Eat, Pray, Love. I thought the movie was so-so, but it was the trailer for an upcoming romantic comedy that got me thinking.

It posed the question: how do you know you’re in love? I can’t answer that question for everyone, but here’s my story.


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I knew I was in love when I came home late one night to discover that my boyfriend Dale had stopped by to wheel my trash cans to the curb.

As I rounded the corner about midnight and reminded myself that trash pickup was in the morning, and saw that Dale had done it for me, I thought, “Wow! I love this guy.” Dale had done everything right from the get-go.


Two days before our first date, he called to say he was looking forward to it.

The morning after our first date, he called to say he had a great time and hoped we could do it again. He was the first to use the word “love.” And if that’s not enough, he was a great cook, and for someone like me, who lived on microwaved baked potatoes, that was a deal clincher.

Yep, he was a keeper. Or was he? Oh, I was in love all right, but truthfully, that realization scared me to death because now I had to think about the bigger question — was I in love with the right person for the right reasons?

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Love, as I had so painfully learned, was not enough. I had been in love before. I was divorced. And it wasn’t just marriage I’d gotten wrong. More than once, Mr. Right had turned out to be Mr. Oh-So-Wrong; my relationship self-confidence was 2 on a scale of 1-to-10.

I wanted to get it right this time but so shattered was my self-confidence that I came very close to simply assuming I was wrong, too, no matter how effectively Dale had swept me off my feet. As time went on and I fell more deeply in love with Dale, I asked myself time and again, how can I know if he is “the one”?

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I thought back to the committed relationships that had gone wrong and asked myself if I’d missed any don’t-do-this cues.


I had. I realized that each time I had committed myself to a relationship that didn’t work, I had ignored those little voices that, had I listened and trusted rather than rationalized away, would have protected me. Those cautionary voices—my intuition—had always been right. Hmmm... was I onto something? Yes, indeed.

The only way to know when a man is the person you're supposed to marry: 

It turns out that scientific studies prove there’s a lot to this intuition stuff, but I didn’t know it at the time. All I knew then was that in every situation where my intuition had spoken, I had ignored it. I rationalized my gut feelings away and convinced myself that everything was super peachy keen.

This time, however, I invited those little voices to speak up. “Come on,” I said out loud, “talk to me. Tell me what’s wrong with this picture.” Nothing. Silence. “No, really,” I begged, “talk to me.” Again, silence. Well, whaddya know?

No little voices were telling me to run and run fast. Every bit of me—my brain, my heart, and most importantly, my intuition—said, “Go for it!” That was 14 years ago, and I’ve never had a moment’s regret.


Dale and I are now happily married, and I can’t envision life without him. Diamonds aren’t a girl’s best friend. Her intuition is her best friend. If you want to know if he’s Mr. Right, don’t overthink it. You’ll end up exhausted and confused. Sit quietly and ask your intuition to talk to you. Listen carefully. And trust those little voices. They don’t lie.

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Shela Dean is a relationship coach, retired attorney, and author of Frequent Foreplay Miles, Your Ticket To Total Intimacy.