If you're in a serious relationship with someone you really, really like—even love—you might be starting to question whether or not he or she is "the one," otherwise known as "marriage material." Of course, the decision to spend the rest of your life with one person is by no means a small one, which is why it deserves a significant amount of consideration. Experts agree that a great starting point is to think about all of the qualities that make him or her someone you'd like to spend your life with. "Each person is going to have their own criteria for the type of relationship they want, and as such, will have different criteria for who they would consider to be 'marriage material,'" explains Talya Knable, a licensed clinical professional counselor. "With that being said, there are a few signs that most people can look out for when trying to determine if someone is marriage material." Here, experts share five signs that your partner would make a good spouse for you.
They are interested in marriage.
This one might seem obvious, but it is important to note. "In today's culture, there are a lot of people who do not believe in the institution of marriage—they may not want to venture into a legal commitment with someone, or they are simply happy to remain at the dating stage of a relationship without furthering that commitment," says Knable. "Either way, if you are looking to get married, this is an important thing to discuss with a prospective partner."
They share similar values.
When you are trying to determine if someone is marriage material for you, Knable suggests making sure that your partner's overall values line up with yours. "Considering a life with someone is a huge milestone, but not one that should change your overall values and beliefs," she says. "When you find someone who aligns with you in some of these bigger categories, that can be a sign that they are marriage material."
They are honest and trustworthy.
It's impossible to be truly open and vulnerable with a partner who you feel you cannot trust and confide in, explains Staci Lee Schnell, licensed marriage and family therapist. "Feeling physically and emotionally safe in a marriage is essential. A partner who is honest and trustworthy allows for that safety," she says. "You can feel assured that he or she will be loyal and faithful if they demonstrate these qualities."
They love you unconditionally.
Life isn't always easy, so you can count on the fact that you and your spouse will experience ups and downs that might challenge your relationship. It's important to know that you can always count on your partner and that he or she will be there for you when times get tough. This is where the in sickness and in health comes in, reminds Schnell. "You want to be able to count on your partner to pick up the slack if needed," she says. "You want to know they will be there for you always as marriage is a lifelong commitment."
They have similar life goals.
This does not mean that you both are looking to accomplish the same things in life, but rather that your individual goals align with each other, explains Knable. "If one person is interested in traveling and the other wants to settle down and have a family, it might be hard for both of you to achieve your goals in a marriage," she says.