Are You (excited gasp) THE ONE?

I made a discovery five years ago: I was an idiot when it came to relationships.

What made me so stupid was my assumption that just about every girl my age could be my magical future wife. Getting to that thought wasn’t hard since I also figured every girl was in love with me at first sight. But really this way of thinking had its roots in one very romantic lie. The lie:

I was about to find the one.

I’ve noticed now, though, that I’m not alone in believing that lie. A great mass of us believe it, or have believed it at some point. Why do we think happily ever after could happen at any moment? It’s almost that we feel that somehow, if we pour enough anxiety and hope into this idea of a spouse, he or she will come along quicker.

But when I read what the Bible has to to say about love, that’s not what I get at all. The Bible doesn’t tell me “be still and know that you will meet your wife at the next worship concert.” No- God is making a different kind of point entirely in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. The passage is in the middle of a section about positive community, about how to love on everyone around you. So, let’s dissect it in that manner. Seems to me that this is more of an insight to what kind of person I should be becoming, not what relationships will suddenly turn into upon marriage.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Instead of constantly looking for the right one, why not focus on becoming right-hearted?

  • Love is Patient, Kind. Are you being patient with everyone? With your circumstances? Are you finding time to be calm and even loving with those who may irritate you? Would the wait staff at the restaurants you frequent say that you were kind with them? If not, you need to exercise your patience and your kindness.
  • Love does not boast, is not self-seeking.  Most of the newly married guys I talk to tell me the biggest thing they learned in the first few months of marriage is how shamefully selfish they are. Be real- are you about what you need or are you about serving others? A good tool of measurement is to look at your bank statement and your calendar. Where is your time and your money going? If you want to be right-hearted, you’re going to need a heavy dose of servanthood, self-sacrifice, and humility.
  • Love always protects. I recently heard a friend pray for the students around me to be brothers who fought for the purity of their sisters; sisters who fight for the sound minds in their brothers. Are you lifting up the integrity, the self image, and the creation that is the people around you? Would you go to great lengths to protect their heart, spirit, and mind?

I believe we can follow through on all these things, that we can all learn to love the way God designed it. We have to abandon these lies, lovely and romantic as they may be, and pursue a path that sets our own hearts right.

So, what kind of person would you be if you never found a spouse? Do you have work to do in your heart?


10 comments

  1. Sadly, I learned this after my first marriage of eleven years failed. I admit that I frequently wondered if I’d made the right decision during those eleven years. NOT GOOD.

    I learned over the next fourteen years the importance of being the best ME (“right-hearted”) I can be. I learned the importance of walking in love at all times which meant putting myself in the shoes of others and truly treating others the way I would have them treat me. I learned to give people the benefit of the doubt. I learned to forgive. I learned to allow people to be human. I learned to choose joy when there was no apparent reason for it. I learned to bring joy to the lives of others.

    I eventually got to the point where I was happy being single – even preferred it. I had survived many rough years as a single mom and proved to myself and the world that I didn’t need “the one” in my life. Jesus was my husband and He was more than enough! I finally reached the point where I quit looking for “the one.” I had more important things to do.

    Fourteen years after the divorce, when my current husband expressed an interest in a romantic relationship with me, I told him all I had to offer was friendship. He said he’d take it, but it didn’t take him very long to persuade me. I soon *chose* to be with him because I wanted to be with him, not because I *needed* to have a man in my life. Does that make sense? My point is, he became “the one” because I decided he was “the one.” Period. I prayed about it, of course, but once I made that decision, it was made – no wondering, no regrets … for the FIRST time in my adult life where relationships are concerned! He gets to be “the one” for me, and that’s really special because until he came along, I didn’t even want one anymore!

  2. I have been wrestling a lot lately with the issue of love. Reading through that famous section from 1 Corinthians 13, as it relates to loving everyone, and pouring over Song of Solomon as it relates to God’s love for His people individually, in addition to the love between a man and woman. At times, simply loving others can seem overwhelming and impossible. The one thing I am reminded of is that, in our own strength, it really is impossible to be truly, fully loving. It is the Holy Spirit in us that enables us to walk in love.

    • Good point, Chelsea. Also keep in mind that we need a systematic view of how God, how Jesus, shows us how to love throughout the Bible. Thanks for sharing.

  3. To answer your question at the end…

    I am who I am whether I am in a romantic/sexual relationship with other people or not. This is how I find people who are compatible with me, and this is how I am able to be a content person for myself. If I were in a situation where I could not find a person who fit my needs (I have been in that situation in the past) the best thing I could do was spend some quality time discovering what my needs, wants, and preferences are so that when a person comes along, I have a better chance of knowing how compatible we might be. With that mentality, I eventually found people worth being with.

    Now I am engaged and have wonderful relationships with people who are very important to me. And it’s not that I found “the one,” because this is irrational. There are people with whom we share greater or lesser degrees of compatibility, but there is no magical “one” out there for me. Really, there are sets of people who are better matched for our desires and needs. Sometimes we meet someone who is so close to a perfect match (and sometimes that view is a biased one based upon that new relationship energy which almost always happens in early relationships), that we see them as being somehow sent to us and specifically for us.

    But asking whether a person is “the one” does not treat people as people, but as means to another end (to remember Kant). We should enjoy the relationships we have with whomever falls into our life, and love each person as they fit into our wants and needs. Let things like romance, sex, and marriage fall where they will, and stop forcing our goals onto what relationships with real people really are; complicated, hard work, and worth it.

    • Thanks for sharing, Shaun. It is way too easy to think that an individual has been made specifically for us. It’s an attractive thought- romantic and maybe even beautiful. But at the end of the day, no one of us was made for someone else.

      As I process my Bible and my prayers, I find that we are made to experience God- not to complete someone else. And to me, that’s kind of a relief. If I was supposed to complete Jenny, she got ripped off.

      • Well, while I will strongly disagree with the second part there (about us being made to experience god), I agree that the idea may seem nice at first, and in fact does inform much of our concepts around romance and love, but ultimately there is no reason to think it.

        I find that my partners and I do complement each other well, but we may never complete each other (whatever that means).

  4. Not just so much unnecessary fear but it also corrupts the relationship. I’ll be married for 8 years this year and many people ask my how I knew Michael was “the one”. Sure we have the basic fairy tale relationship, meeting in HS, etc. But Michael is my one because I decided to be with him. I even left a very long relationship and decided that Michael was the one I wanted to be with. I think there are many people out there we are compatible with, its just a matter of deciding who we still want to be around at the end of the day. Its about who you can commit to and be happy doing so, I don’t believe in the magical “one”, although if you had talked to me in HS I certainly did haha.

    • Absolutely. Believing that someone is the one puts emphasis on the other person being perfect, being a completion of your broken self (ala A Lovely Lie). Ultimately that sets yourself up for disappointment and it is not fair to your spouse.

      And yeah. I thought that about myself in High School too. And you, I, and someone who will always hate me all agreed on who it should be. We were wrong. :)

  5. I used to buy into the myth of “the one.” Well, more like, “how do I KNOW craig is the person I’m supposed to marry?”

    Until I learned through some people wiser than me that it’s not so much about finding “THE ONE,” as it is just picking someone and sticking with them. That doesn’t sound very romantic, and there’s of course more to it than just picking someone out of a crowd, but the fact is, Craig is the one simply because I married him. That makes him the one. if that makes any sense. It’s more about choosing to make the commitment. God doesn’t throw your “one” out there and say, “Ready….go!” and make you search for him/her. It’s not like you’re going to pick the wrong one by accident.

    Anyway–that was a big breakthrough for me before Craig and I got engaged. You’re right–“the one” is totally a lie, and it breeds so much unnecessary fear and gives people an “out” when things get hard. (i.e. “maybe they weren’t the one…”)


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