You know you’ve found The One when…

1. They are human, and you are too. 

2. You have shared values.

3. You are both are capable of communication.

4. You want to spend time together.

5. You find each other quite smoochable.

This is a little bit tongue-in-cheek, and when I asked ‘how you know when you’ve found The One’ on Facebook, someone suggested this probably should be something I know, in light my upcoming marriage. 🙂 After getting engaged, I’ve been asked more frequently about how to know when someone is The One, and how you decide you have found them and that ‘this is it’. And in asking the question on Facebook, a flurry of responses (displaying some common threads and some very different thinking) have reminded me that this is indeed something we think about.

I grew up surrounded by different cultures and schools of thought on this topic. But a strong current in my generation’s thinking on relationships (certain parts of which are seemingly still very strong in pop culture and some religious circles), and one that I find to be very problematic, is the ‘waiting for The One’ teaching. It is centred, irresponsibly, around the idea that there is only ever one person for you – but as a friend asked during our FB conversation,

 What about those who re-marry due to bereavement or divorce? Do they not have two ‘the ones’?

We were encouraged to make lists of things we wanted in a future mate; and if we were girls, to NOTMOVEANINCH whilst guys were told to hunt/chase/pursue girls. And it was a bad idea to enter into a relationship with someone you weren’t sure you were going to marry, because well, your rose petals would start falling off/cake would start to be eaten and you would have less to give to The One, when you finally were found by/found them. And then we didn’t really talk about what would happen when The One (or even a Potential One) was found. I have great parents who provided alternative views on some of this, and who have been honest and helpful about what happens in the stages the Waiting For The One curriculum omits.

These ideas come from a place of not wanting people to get hurt. Relationships can be messy – and if hurt can be avoided, we see it as better to stay away. But there are problems with this stuff.

It isn’t as simple as making a list. A person is not a list. They are complex, changing, and much deeper than a list could portray. Also, lists change. I used to want to marry someone with blonde hair. (Finally, lists can be superficial!)

The gender role teaching is dangerous. We derived from it that girls should never message first, guys should pay for everything – and, according to some, make every decision in the relationship. This puts far too much pressure them and can cause girls do lose their agency. It can also create some crazy games between people. Again, people cannot be slotted into gender categories. And what about people, especially young people being taught this stuff, who feel different – either in identity or in attraction?

Avoiding relationships until you’re 100% sure is impossible. And dangerous: it is detrimental because of the pressure it puts on a relationship from the beginning, it makes breaking-up more difficult, and could make marriage a bit more flimsy, too (when people are not expecting problems to arise and then don’t know how to handle them.)

A person’s value is not lost with every ‘failed’ relationship. This comes from a sexual purity culture (which really is a whole other ballgame…maybe it’s next for us to talk about?) I remember someone telling me not to have sex with anyone before marriage because I was a cake, and I didn’t want to hand my husband a half-eaten cake when I walked down the aisle. YIKES. So, sex aside, this comes into our conversations about relationships – your value isn’t lost when a relationship doesn’t work out.

So is there a One? How do we know when we’ve found him/her?

I believe love is a choice.

Dan is my ‘One’. I know Dan is The One because I’ve picked him, and he’s picked me to be His One. We have decided and committed to choosing each other every day. And we’ll choose to love each other every day of our marriage. People who are further down the path say that The One feels more and more like The One because of this commitment and choice.

We have grown even more compatible since we have spent 7 years exclusively investing in each other and loving each other.

Already, I can’t imagine choosing anyone else. And this is something that seems to be a recurrent theme:

…make a choice with eyes open and take responsibility for that choice and commitment. And of course from the inside it then often feels like we couldn’t have married anyone else and we are amazed and thankful that our paths came together.

And I think that that is love: the feelings are great, but the choice to love is what makes love beautiful. I like knowing that Dan looks forward to hanging out with me, but what is more meaningful to me is to know that he has committed to choosing to love me every day of our lives together.

Follow-up post: one more tip.

(Quotes used with permission from today’s fascinating FB chat. Thanks wise friends!)


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