There is no such thing as The One.
I remember reading those words and being taken aback. Here I was, sitting on my bed and reading The Wait on a slow Saturday evening and I came across content I did not expect to see.
Sure, I understood that love isn’t always a fairy tale. And I also understood that no one should become the center of my life. But this is probably the first time I was challenged on my expectations of love in a long time.
Even though shock was my initial reaction, the more I let it sink in it the more sense it made.
Reinforcement of The One
I think it’s pretty normal that most people believe in “the one”. Even more, people believe in the dramatic idea of a soulmate.
In our music, our books, our films there is always this notion that love is a once in a lifetime deal. You either have the chance to be with this “one true love” or you lose that opportunity and regret it for the rest of your life.
The myth of The One is simply another false notion that love has to be dramatic, fast-paced, and whimsical. It makes sense; imagine all of those romantic movies and television shows if they didn’t have that kind of drama!
The moment Sam ran frantically to the airport and meets Joanna before she boards the plane back to the United States in Love Actually.
When Dwayne Wayne disrupts a wedding to prevent Whitley, the woman he loves, from marrying the wrong guy in A Different World. (The iconic “Baby please!”)
In The Notebook when Noah gets in Allie’s face and yells “I want you. I want all of you. Forever, you and me. Everyday…What do you want?!”
I’ll admit that the last example is cringe.
These were all dramatic acts of love but, more importantly, a personification of what it means to chase, fuss, and fight to be with ‘The One’. Each storyline emphasizes the idea that “if it can’t be you, it can’t be anyone”.
The Problem with The One
While the idea of The One is a deeply romantic sentiment, it also has its own problematic nature as well.
When we put too much emphasis on believing in The One, we are essentially looking for an ideal. If someone falls outside of that set ideal, it is very easy to overlook that person completely. Psychology Today describes people like this think that people who “click” are meant to be and if they don’t initially they just don’t belong together. This thought process puts entirely too much emphasis on first impressions and emotions. It doesn’t identify loving someone as a conscious decision that we make.
People who are wrapped up in the idea of a soulmate will be intensely passionate about their partner in the beginning, but will likely backtrack once real conflict or disagreements ensue. In their minds, they shouldn’t have to deal with too much conflict because the other person is supposed to be their “soulmate”. So even though their relationships start out intense, they tend to be short as well. The idea of The One thrives on feelings of infatuation.
It’s Not Even Biblical
I’ve heard this misconception more times than I can count, someone trying to “wait for that one person that God has set aside for them”.
There is such a thing as waiting on God’s timing, ask and you shall receive, God’s perfect will, etc. But there is nothing biblical that enforces the idea of The One. In fact, the story of soulmates derives from Aristophanes, a comic playwright, and contemporary of Plato.
Having someone “complete” you or finding “your other half” further perpetuates this idea that we are not whole. The most problematic element here is that it suggests your ability to be complete lies in another person, rather than God.
A good reference for Christians would be Colossians 2:8–9 or 1 Corinthians 7. The apostle Paul warns against believing “deceptive philosophy”. In this context, the idea of The One is no more than a concept that is pushed on by the mainstream.
In the bestselling book, The Wait, celebrity couple Meagan Good and Devon Franklin call out the illusion of The One. Good and Franklin explain that God’s perfect plan calls for one person who is right for each of us who has been called to marriage:
If both people choose to follow God’s will, they will find each other. But some don’t…Does that mean you’re meant to be single for the rest of your life? No, God always has a contingency plan. He’s made us compatible with many different types of people.
Don’t worry about The One
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I feel that we get caught up in the idea of love without remembering that it is also an industry.
Even now, major retail stores are already promoting Valentine’s gifts, trips, giveaways, or candy. A slew of romantic movies will be released in February. For anyone who is single or unable to be with their significant other that day, the feelings of loneliness are just hard to get through.
However, it is important to remember that real love doesn’t always — if ever — look like it does in the movies. It’s not always going to be your true love crashing your wedding in order to tell you how he really feels. It’s not a whole lifetime of missing each other only to finally end up together in your elderly years. It’s not someone desperately running to the airport in an attempt to see you one last time before you leave the country for good.
The cliche “there’s plenty of fish in the sea” holds a lot of truth. If we’re so focused on “that one” and convince ourselves that person is the one that got away, we won’t be able to focus on the many “ones” that pass by each and every day.