How Do You Know When You've Found "The One"? (Part One)

This was a question that was asked during our Facebook and Instagram Live Q & A a couple weeks ago. The question intrigued me, so I decided to deliberate and write a little about it. I’ve had almost a year and a half to reflect on the components that made my relationship with Amanda so vibrant, intimate and healthy. As I ponder these things I realize that many of the things I grew to love about Amanda I didn’t truly know about her before we got married. For instance. I didn’t know she would bring so much balance to my Mach 6, hair on fire, go, go, go, build, build, build, crush-it-and-crash personality. I didn’t know she would teach me how to slow down and enjoy the small, sweet things of life. I didn’t know she would be such a loving, nurturing mother. I had no idea she would be such a loyal and caring friend. I didn’t know she would consistently surrender to the Lord her desire to control and nag when I wasn’t being all she knew I could be. I didn’t know she would pray for me and my walk with Jesus as much as she did. Certainly there were huge foundational character qualities I saw in her, but when we got married I only saw in part what I later began to see and appreciate more fully.

Now that I reflect on Amanda and our relationship I think to myself, how in the world did I know she was "the one" for me? There must have been some indicators. There must of been some tell-tales that made me fall so head-over heels, that compelled me to put so many of my personal ambitions and dreams lower on the priority list in order to pursue her heart.

Of course the question, “How do you know when you’ve found the one,” carries with it some massive underlying assumptions. For one, asking this question presupposes there is really only one person each of us could love and cherish for the rest of our lives. I once heard a pastor blow up this idea using one rational thought process: Suppose Person A chooses the wrong person (Person B), and Person B was really destined for Person C. That one poor choice would create a break in the cosmic chain of romantic destinies where Person C would be forced to choose Person D when they were destined for Person B, and so on and so forth. This would have long ago thrown all romantic narratives out of balance. 

This pastor's logic certainly makes sense to me, and I do agree that marriage and love are more about a daily choices rather than whimsical feelings. I truly believe you can grow to love almost anyone as you selflessly put their needs above your own. Also, if there really is only one for each of us, what does that mean for those of us who have lost "the one", whether that be through death, divorce, etc.  Surely God’s grace, generosity, and redemptive heart would extend so far as to offer us another “one”, right? For these reasons I can’t quite fully get behind the idea that there is only one for each of us. 

At the same time I don’t know how I feel about altogether eliminating the idea of “the one", mostly because I truly believe Amanda was "the one" for me. When I look back at how Jesus wove our paths together and orchestrated us to meet, fall in love, and marry, I can’t help but believe we were destined for each other. Surely the whole idea of “the one” falls in one of those categories of life where it’s not an either/or but a both/and

Anytime you have a discussion in church world on “the one” you know the quintessential “becoming the one” phrase will inevitably be brought up. It goes like this: QUIT FOCUSING ON FINDING THE ONE AND START FOCUSING ON BECOMING THE ONE. One of my favorite pastors of all time, Craig Groeschel, says “Become the one the one you’re looking for is looking for.” Both phrases are 100% true! They’re not just true, they're imperative! They are foundational! If you’re not becoming all that God wants you to be, “the one” may walk into your life and you’ll mess it up! Your character won’t be able to support the weight and responsibility of a Godly, healthy, romantic relationship, and the whole thing will implode leaving you and “the one” feeling hurt, used, and broken.

Another important point to bring up is the fact that no one person will fully and finally satisfy your soul’s cravings other than the person of Jesus. I once heard a pastor say, “There IS only one person that will complete you, and it’s not your crush, Jerry McGuire, it’s Jesus!” Again, this is true! And it also is foundational. In Genesis 2 before God brought Eve to Adam, He established a personal friendship and love with each of them. After losing Amanda it became even more clear that my first love, my source of hope, my true satisfaction could be only one person - Jesus. Placing my hope in any one else is bound to eventually leave me empty, lonely, and disappointed.

I’ve preached phrases and concepts like these for years, but recently I’ve found these phrases, while foundational, fall short of being completely helpful for those who ARE diligently working to "become the one” by putting Jesus first in their life. It’s almost as if the entire constituency of single folks who have their eyes on fixed on Jesus are looking for 2.0 of the “Finding the One Course." Like "we get it, focus on Jesus and He works it out, but I have a girl I want to pursue," or "I have a boy that is pursuing me, and I’m trying to figure out if this is could result in marriage!" "Is it worth the time, heart-investment, letting my guard down, and the of risk heartbreak for the potential of life-long love?” 

So when you boil it all down we circle back to the question at hand: HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU’VE FOUND “THE ONE?" 

I believe you can know. I believe you can be confident stepping into marriage. I don’t believe it has to be a roll of the dice or a guessing game. I believe you can be sure whether or not you’ve found "the one.” Next week, right here on the blog, I’m going to give you ten indicators that you’ve found "the one.” Stay tuned!