Men share how and when they realized that the woman they were with was something special.
By Kristin Bailey Murphy
It happens to most men sooner or later: He’s dating someone, things are going well, then… wham! The woman does something small and seemingly inconsequential that makes him fall for her, hard. What, you may be asking yourself, is that special element that changes his thinking from “She’s fun” to “She’s The One?” Well, it turns out men are more than happy to walk down memory lane and reveal those pivotal moments—and Catherine Cardinal, Ph.D., dating expert and author of The Cure for the Common Life, explains what women everywhere can learn from their stories!
“She got my weird sense of humor”
The case history: “Not long after we’d begun dating, Anneli unexpectedly showed up on the set of a short film I was making. The scene we were shooting was… how can I put it? A little bit crude. I’ve dated girls that have been kind of uptight about stuff I think is hysterical, so after the scene was over I didn’t know what to expect. I was relieved — and kind of surprised — to see that it made her laugh. In fact, she was laughing so hard that tears were streaming down her face and she could barely breathe. That’s when I knew I had a good one. Two months later I proposed.”
—Matt Ballard, 35, New York, NY; married to Anneli for two years
Love lesson learned: A shared sense of humor is essential
Let’s face it: No matter how much you love someone, your life together will get dull if you can’t laugh your way through it. “Choosing someone who is not rigid and who can let go with a good belly laugh, especially over the same things you find funny, is a win-win situation,” says Dr. Cardinal. “It ensures you’ll have an animated, lively life.” And how great is it to know your mate finds you fun and entertaining? In other words, she gets you!
“She challenged me to do the right thing”
The case history: “I knew Marianne was The One when she encouraged me to work through a tough situation I was having with a co-worker. She allowed me to vent but also challenged me to see things from another perspective and not take the easy way out and ignore the situation, which was my impulse. Because of her influence, I was able to approach my co-worker and get a better understanding of where he was coming from. After that I knew Marianne would never be someone who walked behind me, but someone who would always stand next to me.”
—Ken Kish, 33, San Clemente, CA; married to Marianne for six years
Love lesson learned: Disagreements can help you grow closer
It’s easy to unconditionally support someone’s every decision. Challenge your date to live up to certain standards, though, and you’ll gain even more points by showing you’ve got a backbone—and that he or she will become a better person as a result. “Anyone who encourages you to face a challenge is more likely to be a consistent, predictable partner—and one who realizes that unless you grow, you both get held back,” says Dr. Cardinal.