There is no love without respect.
Did I marry a good man? Does he still care for me even after all these years? Despite the differences, is his heart in the right place?
If you have such questions, you are not alone. Marriages can be complicated, and the more time you spend together, you will get to see many sides to their personality. But there are certain tell-tale signs that reveal if the man's heart is in the right place.
A good man will support you through thick and thin. He will do so not just because he took those vows but because it's in his nature to be supportive. Remember the times when you were stressed, when life seemed a drag, and all you wanted to do was curl up in a blanket and not talk to anyone? During those times, if your man was by your side, your man cares for you. Not all good men are great at communicating. While some might know exactly what to say, others might be awkward at it. Yet, what matters is that he cares for you and wants to make you feel better.
An old maxim says, "If you can't handle my worst, you don't deserve my best." Do you recall the times when you were angry, frustrated, even enraged, and things seemed out of control? Do you remember projecting your stress and anger toward your partner, even though he didn't do anything to deserve it? If he could see that you were just reacting because you didn't know how else to respond, he is not only kind but also mature. This is a man who deserves your best.
Two people cannot think alike, neither can they agree on everything. In a relationship, and especially in a marriage, there would be times when your personal or political beliefs will vary depending on the issue at hand. When this happens, does he take it as a personal grudge or does he see that you have the right to your thoughts? Can he respect you and value you while still disagreeing with your opinion? Many men have really fragile egos, so they just cannot see beyond the differences. But if he sees things objectively and also tries to build a bridge to understand you better and takes the effort to express himself enough, you have a winner.
Patience is an important factor in any relationship. People have different temperaments and different attitudes. The willingness to give the other person time, space, and acceptance so they feel comfortable to be themselves is critical in a relationship. So if your man can see you in your entirety—in all your strength, wisdom, vulnerability, fears, and joy—without judgment or a need to fix you, his heart is good.
Couples fight. Some fight a lot, some less. Some fight because they are frustrated with the relationship, while others fight because they want the relationship to work. Do you remember the time you fought with your partner? You can learn a lot about a person from how they express their anger or disagreement. Was the fight about proving you wrong or trying to make sense of the situation? Was it because he was hurt and want you to understand him better? Or was it to establish his dominance? If his fight was for the relationship to work better, then he truly cares for you and his intentions are right.
Quite often, we show different behaviors in public and in private. Not everyone is comfortable to display PDA amidst friends and family. Your man might be shy or coy. Or he may be open with his affection. But what matters is if you can count on him to defend you when you are not around or with you by your side. If someone tries to hurt you or put you down, does he step up to and defend you? Does he make sure no one can mess with you or say mean things behind your back? This is a man you need to hold on because he values you deeply.