the one

this is a replay of one of my most popular posts ever. and one of the most controversial. i figured it was time to bring it back around since i have recently seen hugely popular Christian publications advocating the idea of “the one” as Gospel truth. full disclosure, if you believe that is the only possibility, you are not going to like this.

p.s. for those who have read this before, i am updating it a bit. so there.

the one

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 some point.  one only in my head, one for about 365 of the worst days of my life and one for the last 33 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. i also know people who married someone who they believe is not “the one” because they somehow missed their chance and have decided to settle. so. lame. also, i’ve heard people use this as the reason for the high divorce rate. i shit you not.

2.  it negates the idea that a marriage is hard work.  if you’re married to “the one”, it should all be easy right?  after all, that person is your perfect match so the marriage should only die of natural causes.  namely, death. again divorce plays a role because if things don’t work out, it’s not really your fault, right? you just married the wrong “one”.

3.  it is a new idea.  it’s only been in the last several decades that “the one” has taken on any sort of validity.  up until 100ish years ago, most marriages were still arranged or made out of mutual benefit.  in many countries, this is still the case.  lots of arranged marriages find contentment and even love that lasts for decades. many marriages of convenience were completely successful and even admirable in their devotion. i’m pretty sure all those people are looking down on us from heaven, shaking their heads, then asking God to force us all to wear helmets.

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 creating and maintaining a healthy, happy, love-filled marriage with any number of other decent people.  it’s a joint effort. ready to have your mind blown? it is less about the actual person and more about the quality and depth of that person. boom!

5.  if “the one” dies early in life, does this mean that you will never have access to that kind of joy ever again?  answer: no. believing you’ve just lost the only person you could ever be truly happy with is delusional. and limiting. and dead wrong.

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” each other.  we are just really, super duper grateful we didn’t.

don’t 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 most a choice but a much smaller number, like Paul, He hand-stamped. and if we’re getting all Jesusy and shit (to quote my friend, Tamara), show me anywhere in the Bible where it says there is only perfect person, chosen of God, for you.

hint: it’s not in there.

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?


17 comments on “the one

  1. michael says:

    I like #1. It’s kind of like messing up the time-space continuum. First, you end up marrying the wrong “the one.” Next thing you know, Biff rules the world and you can’t find the DeLorean.

  2. In the case of me meeting my fiancee, I always claim God made the best of a mess. The circumstances in which we met were so specific (she lives in Saint Louis, I live in the Netherlands, we had one unlikely opportunity to meet) that I have to see God’s hand in it. However, I personally don’t think that the choices I made before I met her could have been His plan (leaving church, not being faithful), but my fiancee has made me more of the man that I think fit God’s plan. To me, it’s a hybrid solution.

  3. Austin Gilly says:

    I especially agree, and I use your #4 in my arguments for this. I think God looks at us, asking “is it your will that I marry her?” and says “Do you love her? Can you glorify me in this? Does this make you happy? Then F***in’ marry her!!” (God drops f-bombs in my head) Excellent post.

  4. Heidi K says:

    I totally agree. Even your point about some people seeming to have found ‘the one’ still doesn’t negate point 5.

  5. FatSquirrel says:

    Nothing wrong with a little poetic devotion to spice things up–it’s the letdown that is really harsh.

  6. asoulwalker says:

    Number two isn’t the case. There is not a necessary logical connection between believing in “the one” and believing in a specific level of work required to have a successful marriage. It may be the case that many of the people you know who have believed in “the one” also believe that marriage should not be a lot of work. This however, is not a matter of logic, it is a sign of naivete. You could justifiably believe in “the one” and also believe that your marriage will involve an epic work-load. And no, I have no idea where my accents are on this keyboard.

  7. Jake Rohde says:

    A scientific look at “soul mates” from xkcd.

  8. jb757 says:

    Amen sister! On a kinda related note, I would love your thoughts on “spark”, “chemistry” and attraction and if we put too much emphasis on that in the beginning or if we should make choices on other important factors even if the “spark” is not there like we would hope it to be… (but assuming there is at least *some* attraction and you aren’t totally unattracted to the person)

  9. Technically, for #1, two people have to marry the wrong person. Unless of course there’s a country where marrying yourself is an option. And they’d probably count all your income twice there, so I don’t recommend it. It might be worth it for certain narcissists who can’t find any worthier candidate, though.

  10. jb757 says:

    To respond to your “both” answer closing statement… I’ll quote the ever wise Forrest Gump, you know the scene at the end of the movie where he is standing over Jenny’s grave… He says, “I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happening at the same time.”

    There may be some truth to that… God moves in mysterious ways and to even begin to try to understand His ways is an exercise in futility.

    I also like to use that line when having the predestination/Calvinism v Arminianism argument. 🙂

  11. Abby says:

    I don’t know if, before we began dating, my boyfriend was the only one ever for me or if he was one of many good possibilities. I do think we have made each other our “one” in a sense by choosing and committing to each other. Like you and Craig, if either of us had decided not to initially pursue the relationship, we both think we would have been just fine but we are very, very glad we took the opportunity.

    I have debated both sides of this “one” discussion until I make myself dizzy. I asked myself why it mattered so much to me: Fear of missing out. My current stance on “the one” is that it doesn’t matter to me in light of my other beliefs. I believe God is loving and faithful and knows I want to follow Him and will not let me miss out on His will or His gifts out of sheer cluelessness. So when it comes to choosing “a” right job or “the” right job, “a” right spouse or “the” right one, I pray and I consult wise advisors and then choose what seems best. I trust Him to redirect me if I unknowingly go the wrong direction.

  12. Becky Miller says:

    It’s true! He really does have an excellent mustache. It’s almost as awe-inspiring as her hair.

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