the one

when i googled "the one", i got Jet Lee, LOTR and some seriously disturbed performance art.

occasionaly there’s going to be a topic that comes up i don’t really know how to cover because there’s so many different views and valid arguments coming from opposite directions.  this is like that.

consider this post interactive.  kind of like Dr. Phil meets Choose Your Own Adventure.  or maybe MadLibs, depending on your mood.  either way, i’ll ask some questions and you can feel free to answer, not answer, tell me i’m insane, the most brilliant blogger e.v.e.r., or just fill in body parts that make you snicker.

in the immortal words of Michael Scott from the office, “I use to think she was ‘the one’.  Or A ‘the one’.”

the idea there is one person out there made just for you is very popular with romance novelists, 12 year old girls and christians.  i’ve been all 3 at somepoint.  one only in my head, one for about 365 of the worst days of my life and one for the last 31 years and counting.

you’d think i’d be totally sold on “the one”.

yeah, not so much.

here are my reasons:

1.  taken out to its conclusion, the theory of “the one” would mean that if one person screws up and marries the wrong “the one”, it throws it off for everyone.  an extreme view?  yes.  but the logic holds if “the one” is a fact.

2.  it negates the idea that a marriage is hard work.  if you’re married to “the one”, it should all be easy right?  afterall, that person is your perfect match so the marriage should only die of natural causes.  namely, death.

3.  it is a new idea.  it’s only been in the last several decades that “the one” has taken on any sort validity.  up until 100ish years ago, most marriages were still arranged.  in many countries, this is still the case.  lots of arranged marriages find contentment and even love that lasts for decades.

4.  finding someone to love and pledge yourself to is a lifetime of commitment that doesn’t end until one of you does.  i believe a decent person is capable of doing this with any number of other decent people.  it’s a joint effort.

5.  it’s a theory that has caused much grief and people to think they are settling for a lesser happiness because they missed “the one”.  ugh.  how sad.

6.  if “the one” dies early in life, does this mean that you will never have access to that kind of joy ever again?

there is a flip side to my poopooing though.

i just had a conversation with a good friend i respect.  she happens to believe she is married to “the one”.  and for good reason.  he has a truly excellent mustache.  how can you argue with that?  another reason is that she found him at a point in her life when circumstances arranged themselves to lead her to a place where the only thing there for her, was him.  she had everything where she came from and nothing where she landed.  it truly seems the only reason for her to end up where she did, was to find him.  they are amazing together.

she can’t imagine being with anyone else.  shoot, i can’t imagine her being with anybody else.  and i’m pretty sure he’d have something to say about “anybody else”.  their story really does give credibility to the idea of “the one”.

i feel the same way about craig.  but craig and i both feel that we would have found happiness with other people had we “missed” eachother.  we are just really, super duper grateful we didn’t.

do you think it’s possible the answer is both?  some people are destined while the rest of us make choices?

if you’re into the bible at all, i think that theory holds.  jesus gave some a choice and others, like paul, he hand-stamped.

maybe some of us do get struck blind on the road to damascus, so to speak.  but others make a choice.  honor that choice.  then that choice becomes “the one”.

what say you?


29 comments on “the one

  1. Katie M says:

    This is a tough one. I think of Elizabeth Elliot when this topic comes up. Her husband was Jim Elliot and he was killed while working as a missionary (there are lots of books and movies about it). She wrote a book called “Passion and Purity” which told the story of how she and Jim met and fell in love. He was her “the one” at that time…they eventually got married and had babies. After he died, she married another missionary…that was killed. After him, she married someone else. I believe that in cases like this (totally not advocating divorce at all….just in cases where the spouse dies), maybe this person is “the one” for that given time of your life. I agree with you that it can be both….some people get a choice, and other times the person is so obviously “the one” that you almost don’t have a choice. And I’m fine with that. I am hoping that I am one of the ones that has a choice….but also knows that I am making the right one based on discernment from God.

  2. Aaron Reddin says:

    wait…the bible they gave me the other day said i should have a minimum of 7.5 wives…..dammit!! my gramma always said not to trust the ones on bikes….

  3. MichelleK41 says:

    I believe in the one, I live the fact, LOL!

  4. Jennifer Harrall says:

    My husband and I should’ve never met. We hold on to the idea that we would’ve anyway. Whether its true or not doesn’t really matter. We’ve decided that there’s no one else we’d rather be with. The fates tend to agree, I think.

  5. Lizzy says:

    I thought I found “The One” but he turned out to be “The Wrong” and now I’ve met “even Better One” but I wouldn’t appreciate him nearly as much as I do had I not married “the Wrong ONe” first.

  6. Jason Houk says:

    Just an odd interjection into this… Ben Fold’s song The Luckiest:

    What if I’d been born fifty years before you
    In a house on a street where you lived?
    Maybe I’d be outside as you passed on your bike
    Would I know?

    • emikedunn says:

      I sorta feel like it’s necessary to point out that Ben Folds is married to his fourth wife… And I say it’s necessary only because that fact changed my understanding/perspective of that song entirely. Maybe it will for you too.

  7. Jenn says:

    As a single person I have to believe that there is not “the One” because I think it would make me feel even more discouraged and than I do now at times – because really if you think about it I would be running around like a crazier person than I am now wondering if the boy this morning was in Starbucks this morning was “the One” because I liked his hair but didn’t talk to him because me without coffee = evil. Really? People believe this? – the hair/boy thing that is, the coffee part is true. However, I have heard it phrased like this – there is someone who is better for you than others, but all marriages can in theory work – you’ll have to work harder than the amount of effort that every couple faces, the more you are not suited for each other – ie. move along to someone else.

    So that being said – I know that since I have really strong opinions about certain “deal breakers” I have a limited number of possible people but out of respect for me and them I would rather remain single than marry a man who I know I would annoy into oblivion – apparently being a liberal Mennonite who marathons/yogas makes my dating pool very very small. But basically in the end I’ve learned that there is no such thing as the One but there is definitely exists a lot of “oh honey NO” people, oddly at one point I had planned to marry that type.

  8. jerry says:

    “occasionaly there’s going to be a topic that comes up i don’t really know how to cover because there’s so many different views and valid arguments coming from opposite directions. this is like that.”

    I don’t know, Sharideth, I’d say you covered it pretty well.

  9. jerry says:

    Btw, I felt like I found “the one”. Being older and more mature, I don’t know that I agree now with the theoretical notion of “the one”, but in practical terms, I felt that. Anyway, it turned out well. We have been married for over 15 years now, and have 4 kids and 3 demonic cats (just thought i’d throw that in). If I were going to advise someone, I’d say don’t make yourself crazy looking for “the one” (=needle in a haystack), but pray for discernment, and when you find someone who feels like “the one”, and they think you feel like “their one”, maybe that is as much of a miracle as you need.

    As for your conclusion, I agree whole-heartedly. It reminds me of a professor I had years ago in Bible College, who liked to talk about people who got married, and then, when they didn’t like it, decided it hadn’t been God’s will for them to marry that person after all. He said, “Guess what? If you got married, you’re in God’s will, bubba!”

  10. Neilocrates says:

    This was fun. I think one of the difficult things in life is to respond in a non knee-jerk way when we encounter clearly flawed and harmful philosophy. If one view is wrong, it doesn’t mean that the opposite is true through. In matters like this, it’s really hard to bring up an argument that’s not based mostly on personal experience. Since, I haven’t shared anyone else’s personal experience, it’s hard to discuss this issue on behalf of someone else or in terms of,’ here’s what you “Ought” to believe on the matter.’ I feel like your goal here was to provoke thought. Mission accomplished. That’s what made it a good read for me. I like that you included two sides to this. It was thought provoking.

  11. Dave Pettengill says:

    Yeah I agree with you I don’t believe in the concept of “the one”. My past probably has some influence on this as I use to be married for 10 years before my wife decided she didn’t love me anymore. I have been in a great relationship now for the past 10-11 months but I don’t believe in the concept of “the one”. Because what if my ex-wife was “the one” and she left now what? Does that mean that I could never find someone to love and for them to love me for the rest of my life? I don’t think that is true. Could God call people to be single the rest of their lives after a death of a spouse or a divorce? Sure i think that could happen but I think there are many people that could walk in our lives that we have things in common, personalities that mix well, similar interests, hobbies, and faith and fall in love with them and marry them.

  12. Andi says:

    i’ve never considered the idea that the answer could be both. but now this makes more sense to me than anything i’ve heard, and i feel that Bible validates both theories. great post. i mean… Eve WAS Adam’s “the one”, but had there been another option, would it have mattered? we’ll never know.

  13. Melanie West says:

    Sass…. As always you make me laugh. I suspect most people aren’t looking for Mr/Mrs Right. They’re really looking for Mr/Mrs Right Now because they don’t want to really work on a relationship and like you always say it is work. We know this from experience. I don’t think your mate is predetermined. I firmly believe you find the person that best fits your life at the time and that’s who you end up with be it for a while or til death do you part.

    My mother-in-law never dated another man after my father-in-law died. She died 26 years to the day after he did and once my sister-in-law said “Mom, why don’t you date? Daddy’s dead and gone and has been for years.” My mother-in-law looked at her and said, “Yes, he is dead and gone but I’m not and I said til death which meant until my death regardless of whether his came first.” No one ever asked her again.

  14. Jenn says:

    Twitter won’t let me inform you of this very appropriate Flight of the Concords discussion on the One

  15. MichelleK41 says:

    I should also add I have been with *the one* since I was 17 years old. I am now 44. Ups and downs oh sure, but more ups then anything. =)

  16. Sarah says:

    Granted, I’m only 20 and brand new to this blog, but I believe if every relationship is work (which it is) then there can’t be such a thing as “the one”…i’m not even sure what that means. I am dating the love of my life (I know what that means. It means when I’m 85, he’ll be sitting next to me. It means I’ve never met anyone I’ve ever wanted to marry. I was strongly against the institution, and then I met him.) I believe strongly I can never be this happy again, in comparison, with anyone else. It was terribly improbably that I met him. I was on the verge of moving out of state and there he was. I got nothing else out of the situation we found each other in, except my life long partner. So, if that makes him the one, or I just got lucky…I don’t know and I don’t much care. 🙂

  17. JBen says:

    The very fact that for most of history how you felt about a person had nothing to do with whether or not you married them and the fact that a healthy chunk of the world still lives like that should clue us in that “the one” is a western myth.

    I hate to sound cynical but I think it is true. I think it is way more about committing yourself to a person and sticking with them through it all. This works best if, like sharideth said, they are both decent people.

    Worrying about finding the one is a waste of time. if we are going to go down that road, we should spend more time trying to “be the one.” for someone else. As in, learn how to be a loving, serving, committed person.

  18. Jim says:

    I think the idea of “the One” evolved from the notion of courtly love, a medieval concept. It was an enlightened, chivalric view of marriage and love that came with matching luggage. All that said, I think that if two people love and respect one another, and are in it for the others good, they become “the One” for each other. So I think Johnny Lingo was onto something…BIG.

  19. asoulwalker says:

    You know I don’t care much about “the one” but as to Paul being stamped and others not… that I care about. The one seems very unimportant next to that gem you casually mentioned in passing (chuckle).

  20. “honor that choice. then that choice becomes ‘the one’.” ~~ Couldn’t agree more.

  21. Interesting analogy, the disciples were hand-stamped by God to be his Ones. Somehow I think they decided they were looking to be the one already.

    Presently, I’m in the seventh year with “Not The One” but since the two of us have only had short relationships in the past, neither of us know how to break this up, or if we’re prepared to do any cutting at all.

    It’s trial and error here, but you’ve really helped me recalibrate my compass.

  22. It raises an interesting question for those from other cultures in arranged marriages — who have no say in the matter but some of whom stay happily married for decades. To find “the one” means they’re “the one” when you meet them — at 25 or 65 — but people change. Then what? Hence, the two, three, four…

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