Realistically, we’re all looking for a life partner sooner or later. But if you actually ask the question, “Do you want to get married?” it makes it sound like you want to get married tomorrow — even if you simply meant eventually. But, since the idea is not to send a man running for the singles bars, you have to look for signs on your own that he’s looking towards the long haul.
He analyzes his parents’ relationship a lot
He talks often about what makes them happy, how they resolve conflict, why they’re compatible—or perhaps why they’re not—and how they navigate married life. If he didn’t want to get married himself, he wouldn’t care what his parents had going for them in their marriage. All he would think about is how they affect him—not each other.
He talks about places he’d like to raise a family
When you drive down a pretty street he says, “This is the type of place you want to raise a family.” When you pass by a nice house he says, “That’s a great family house.” When you travel to a quaint town he says, “I want my kids to grow up in a place like this.”
He wants to take things very slowly
If a man is seriously looking for the woman he’ll spend his life with, he doesn’t mind taking a little time to arrive at forever. The only reason a man wouldn’t rush everything—from the sex to the grand emotional statements—would be if he’s trying to pay close attention to whether or not this relationship has the makings of a life-long partnership. Falling in love is easy: remaining conscious of what exactly goes on, under the surface, between the lines, unspoken between you and another person, is not.
He talks a lot about his married friends
Instead of talking about the wild things his single friends are up to, he’s very interested in the cruise his married friends went on, or the restaurant his married friends recommended, or the great TV his married friends just purchased. He takes joy in talking about how happy they are.
He cares about your health
Only when it occurs to a man that he might want you around forever does he suddenly become super conscious of your health, pointing out that a reminder for your annual checkup came in the mail, suggesting you eat less sugar, calling you any time he even hears about a car accident to remind you of all the ways you should be careful on the road.
He talks about far away places, people or events
And says, “You’ll like them.” He tells you about the cousins he visits every five years and says, “You’ll like them.” He tells you about his family’s apartment in Spain and says, “You’ll love it there.” He tells you about a family reunion, taking place in four years, and says, “You’ll have a lot of fun at it.” It’s not a question to him whether or not you’ll be around in the future.
He puts you before his friends and partying
Before saying yes to any plans, he calls you and asks what you’re doing that weekend. He wants to make sure you won’t be sitting at home alone, or that you’re comfortable with the plans he’s been invited to. Your happiness is more important than a great party—it makes him happier than a great party.
He wants to fix things
He’s started to pay attention to little ways to make your life better. He’s offered to put up an extra set of shelves in your bathroom, or fix your microwave, or take your car in to check out a funny noise it’s been making. If a man believes you’ll be out of the picture in a year or two, what does he care if you have a place to put away all your cosmetics?
He’s taken a serious interest in your dog
While he used to give her a courtesy pet, now he notices if the dog seems lethargic and asks if she’s been okay, he tells you about an article he read about healthy dog food, he buys the dog toys. It’s occurred to him that, if the dog’s only a few years old now, she’ll still be around when you two get married…and then she will be his dog, too.
He asks what you think about your future
He has a lot of questions about where you’d like to live in five years, if you see yourself having children, if you want to work when you have kids, what sort of neighborhood you want to live in, if you plan on investing money and so forth.
He cares a lot about your career
It’s almost as if it’s his career too…he suddenly wants to advise you, and find contacts for you, and know every detail about projects you’re working on. He may have realized that your success could one day be your shared success as a couple.
He lets you take care of him
He calls you to vent after a rough day, or just wants to be near you when he’s in an emotional funk, or has no problem asking you to nurse him back to health when he’s sick, or asks to come crawl into your bed when he’s hungover. He is okay with the idea of having somebody take care of him—be there for him.
He wants to know all about your family
He used to politely smile and nod when you spoke about your family, but lately he’s extra attentive, full of follow-up questions. When you mention one family member’s name, he recalls all the details you’ve said about them. He’s trying to get to know what might soon be his family.
He wants you to know all about his family
Whether it’s to convince you how much you’ll love his aunt, or warn you about how crazy a cousin is, he tells you about his family with a sense of urgency. It seems very important that you know them all, that you’re not scared away by them, and that you accept them as he does.