Four days after we started talking, I was interested in meeting him. For months and months, we continued talking and realized that we have so many things in common.
It's really easy for me to answer the question, "How did you know?" in my head and heart, but not so easy for me to put it into words for the questioner. Nevertheless, here is my attempt to do so.
Before I met Ariel, I had a checklist with characteristics I was looking for in a guy. I was also pretty much ready and willing to settle (since it was extremely unlikely for me to find the man I was looking for). I had come to the conclusion that there was a certain person out there that I needed, but simply wasn't sure he existed. Before quitting, I prioritized my list of needs (and threw in a few wants), knowing that some were more important, some were less important, and some would have been nice (a "bonus") if I got them but could do without them. People laughed and asked me if I planned on finding just one guy who had everything I was looking for.
But it seems that within six months of my decision to get married, I got lucky enough to find the one man in the world who has met each and every request on my list, and what an amazing man he is (he's also a really good looking guy - icing on the cake)!
He thinks like I do, has a great sense of humor, a lot of patience, and has a big heart. He comes from a big family and they are important to him. His health and fitness is a priority, as is his Judaism. He likes to learn and is chivalrous. He is kind to people, no matter who they are, and works hard. Our style and taste is extremely similar, and we both love to go hiking, camping, reading, and playing/listening to music. He is strong, opinionated, extremely intelligent, thoughtful, and oh, have I mentioned kind?
We both have open minds and interests in trying new things. We both enjoy traveling, learning about new cultures and languages, and are foodies (and drinkies; is that a word?).
I love when he holds my hand without thinking about it. I like that he has his own interests, priorities, and friends. I like that he is a goofball. I like that he accepts things about me even when he doesn't understand them. I appreciate that he encourages me to do things I love, and I love that he surrounds himself with good, quality people.
In some respects, our personalities lean in different directions. I am more practical, he is more of a romantic. He seems to have an easier time focusing than I do (or he fakes it well). I am a uber-planner, he is more spontaneous. We balance each other well.
Most of the time, we communicate well. There are times when we don't, and when we are having trouble sharing or phrasing things quite right. But we both understand the importance of it and keep working at it until we are both (reasonably) happy.
In the end, what it comes down to, is that I don't have to try with him.
Every relationship takes work, but I don't have to struggle with him. I don't have to explain my love of Judaism to him or what Hebrew/Yiddish/holidays mean. I don't have to make excuses to travel, and I'll get to learn new languages with him. We can listen to, and learn playing, music together. Not only are we on the same page, but we have been reading the same book as well.
Not only do I love the man, but I like him as well, and I believe that is more important.
He makes me want to be a better person, a better attorney, and a better Jew. I want to be his amazing wife and mother to his children. I know he feels the same way because we've discussed everything, both easy and tough.
I look forward to what the future holds for us, but right now, I'm loving the present... and the man, my other half, my b'shert, with whom I get to share it.