1. Everything is better – more peaceful, more calm, more fun, more light, more reassuring – when you’re together. Even if things are difficult, they’re still so much better when you’re experiencing the difficulty together.
2. When you know they’re hurting or sad, you feel actual pain too; pain so real that it often has physical manifestations like nausea or a headache or the inability to sleep, simply because you hate knowing that they’re not happy.
3. Showing them all the imperfect pieces of you makes you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable, but it never makes you worry that they’re going to love you any less.
4. You see every single problem or challenge that you encounter as something that ‘we’ have to deal with, not something that ‘they’ have to deal with.
5. Even if the problem only stems from one person’s career or one person’s family, it’s still a challenge for ‘us’ because you both know, without a doubt, that you’re a team.
6. You know instinctively, deep in your gut, that you trust them.
7. You still have a hard time making sacrifices or selfless choices, but you never question whether the decision was worth it – you know that, no matter how difficult it is, it’s worth it if it’s the best thing for the two of you as a whole.
8. Their happiness and delight brings you even more joy than your own.
9. You still completely respect one another, even when you’re frustrated with the other person about something.
10. You tell one another what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
11. When something is troubling you and you can talk it out with them, it always feels like a weight has been lifted off of you – regardless of whether or not they help you solve the problem. Sometimes, it’s just as helpful knowing you can talk to them and they hear you and understand you, even if they can’t fix the thing that’s causing you stress.
12. You look at all possible decisions and choices in terms of how they will affect both of you. Not because they’re a burden to you or because you can’t live freely with them, but because you both feel so strongly that your partnership is 50-50 and that everything you do, you do together.
13. Their opinion and advice matters to you more than anyone else’s.
14. Knowing they’re proud of you bolsters your confidence like nothing else, because you know that, even if you fail, they’ll still love you the same, or even more than before.
15. Your fights really are about the issues you’re having in that moment.
16. Meaning that if you’re arguing about a financial disagreement, that is what the fight is truly about – no one is bringing up a separate problem with somebody’s sister from last September and trying to shoehorn it back into this argument.
17. You never forget to do the little things – saying thank you, doing your share of the chores, complimenting each other, taking time just for yourselves, listening as much as you talk. You know how important the little things grow to be.
18. You come to decisions with a lot of patience, a lot of difficult conversations, and a lot of honesty. Even when they’re incredibly difficult decisions or choices, you always arrive at the conclusion feeling connected and like a partnership.
19. You love each other even when you really don’t like each other.
20. You’re not afraid to say if you’re angry with the other person.
21. And when you are angry with them, you tell them specifically why you’re mad and what you need from them to work through it, rather than waiting for them to ‘figure it out’ and then blowing up at an unrelated issue when they don’t.
22. You understand one another on a level that no one else understands you, not even your closest friends and family members.
23. You know you’re strong on your own, but you feel infinitely stronger with them by your side.