How did I know he was the one?
A few weeks ago I wrote an Instagram post on how I knew Ayo was the one (for me) and I had a lot of comments, DMs and questions so I thought I’d expand a little further.
THE MEANING OF ‘THE ONE’
There are so many varying opinions on the concept of ‘the one’. Opinions on whether there is just one person for each of us, whether we should be pro-active in seeking out this person or let them find us, whether we should make a list or not, and so on. Even with the plethora of opinions on offer (!) I thought I’d share my two cents based on my experience and talking to some incredibly wise people in my life.
Ever since I was like 11, I was always preoccupied with the concept of ‘the one’. That would inevitably lead to questions as to whether there really was just one person for me. My mind would then run away thinking what if someone married the wrong person, would that then mess up the order for everyone else? If someone died and remarried, who in that case was the real one for them…. So many questions (for an 11 year old to take!).
As I started to talk to others who were married and in relationships, it started to shape my view of ‘the one’. My personal opinion is that in the whole world, there are probably a number of people we could be compatible with. But the reality is that we probably will never meet all those people, but in our lifetime we will come across one (or perhaps more) that we could build a great future with. Taking this view, particularly in the few years before I met Ayo helped take the pressure off.
ATTACHMENT VS. ALIGNMENT
In many ways, our culture glorifies the idea of ‘attachment’ but what I feel is more interesting is the idea of ‘alignment’. When people or ideas align - they complement each other and help each other flourish and fulfil their unique purpose.
Looking back over my teenage/early 20s, I realise the obsession with being attached to someone often clouded my view of dating. I often didn’t ask the serious questions about the values someone held and what they wanted their life to be about (which I admit could have been pretty intense for a first date!). But then I would get into situations where my emotions were already involved, only to wake up from the daze and realise that we were going in completely different directions in life and end up getting hurt as I untangled myself from said person/situation.
When I met Ayo, more than finding him interesting or good-looking, from our very first conversation I felt an aligning of our passions and our purpose and really it was from the start that I knew that I’d found my life partner (as cliché as it sounds).
For me, the concept of ‘the one’ is the idea of finding that person who you can not only build a relationship with, but build a future and a home with. In my experience, that person who you find will be the single biggest factor in you flourishing and achieving your purpose in life and running your own unique race well and be a blessing to those in your sphere of influence.
Having that solid foundation that in a sense, your relationship has the potential to be bigger than just the two of you, I think is what will help navigate through those tough and uncertain times. It's what will strengthen your resolve during those seasons when you both change and when life throws curve balls at you - you know you’re held together than something stronger than just your feelings.
5 THINGS I LEARNT IN MY SEARCH FOR ‘THE ONE’
1 | Becoming the One
In my early 20s, I would always think I wanted my future husband to be patient, really generous, love health and nutrition (& not fast food like I do lol!) and so on and so forth.
Now I have to admit, I’m not the most patient person in the world and I do love my fast food (as much as for the wedding I’m trying to avoid it for the next few months lol!) so I was really challenged when someone said to me ‘become the person you want to meet’. I realised that often we can focus so much on the other person and them meeting our set of ideals that we forget self-care and self-reflection and developing ourselves to become someone another will find attractive. Working on ourselves, rather than searching for a perfect individual should be our starting point.
2 | When people show you who they are, believe them.
Looking back over my dating history - character is something I wish I’d paid more attention to. I once went out on a few dates with someone that even from the beginning - even about small irrelevant matters, they were always telling lies. In the end, as we got to know each other, it turned out that even fundamental issues in their lives they had shared untruths. I ignored those red flags at the beginning and in the end they came back to bite me!
Talking to everyone now (guys/girls) - most of us are quite strong-willed and opinionated and thus - it’s not possible for another human being to change us! While of course we can be influenced and inspired by others, particularly as we get to our 20s or 30s, a lot of who we are and what we value is starting to be shaped. In order to know if someone is the one for us, we need to examine whether their character and values align with who we are and what we’re looking for.
For instance, how do they act with their family? How do they treat people who are different to them? Do they live with integrity - when people can see and behind closed doors? Are they someone who holds grudges or do they find it easy to forgive and move on? Are they faithful and reliable (even with even with small things) or are they someone who is always flaky and disappointing at the last minute? Are they someone who holds down their day 1s or are they always trying to make a bee-line for the most poppin person in the room?
Some of these things sound small but I always remember the phrase ‘big doors swing based on little hinges’. Those small things will add up. It might be easy for them to hide who they are initially, but the truth of their character will always show up!
3 | Listen to what your family and friends have to say
Now, while there are occasions where family and friends have unexplained/irrational issues with our significant other, on the whole, I’m one to believe that those closest to us will always have our best interests at heart and want us to be content and joyful in our relationships.
However we all have blind-spots and those closest to us can often see things that we can’t, especially when we’re in the dreamy stage that often characterises the beginning of a relationship.
If the person we’re thinking could be ‘the one’ is someone that those closest to us don’t gel with or feel is actually bad news for us, 9 times out of 10, I’d believe that is a true reflection.
4 | Don’t be anxious
Looking back, I was the type of girl that after one conversation with a guy (probably didn’t even know his surname!) I would be like yes this one’s for me! I wouldn’t even wait for the guy to express interest, I’d already started decorating our children’s bedrooms in my head…!
This attitude also meant that sometimes I held onto the idea of a relationship with someone which stopped me moving forward. We can’t align ourselves with who is meant for us if we’re so busy looking behind and holding onto someone we ought to let go.
The older we get, it can be difficult to have faith that we will meet that right person for us. I know for me, once I got to 25, panic set in. When we’re in a hurry, it’s difficult to see things clearly (particularly warning signs!) as we’re just in a rush to arrive at the final destination. With something as important as who we spend our lives with, it’s a decision that I don’t think should be made in haste or at least not with an attitude of anxiety and anxiousness.
5 | Do your visions for life align?
As I mentioned before, when I started to get to know Ayo, this for me was the biggest indicator. Although it sounds cheesy, it was hearing his vision for his life which made me realise from day 1 that he was for me.
Often, when a relationship/marriage hasn’t worked out, you hear people say ‘we were just going in different directions’. My take away from that is, before we get into a relationship, it’s important we take the time out, to look at our lives, reflect and understand the vision we have for our present and future.
Obviously life is a journey of faith and we don’t know the end from the beginning, or all the twists and turns life will take. But I do think to a certain degree, understanding our purpose and what we were created to do on this earth, is something we should try to figure out before we merge our life with someone else’s. It’s hard to build a future with someone if we don’t have the same foundation and if we’re not focused on the same goals.
If a committed relationship is what we desire, we should want that person we have it with to feel blessed and encouraged by our presence in their lives. For that to be the case, in the season before we connect, it’s best to make the most of it and develop ourselves to become the best version we can. Even now in my relationship, I’m finding there are areas I wish I had worked on (patience in particular springs to mind lol!) as life can be intense and we don’t always have the space to work on those things.
As great as being in love is, let’s resist the temptation to glorify the notion that being with anyone is better than being on our own. Life is so rich and fruitful and a relationship/marriage is not the only component to that. If we have that desire to build a great relationship and marriage with someone, that is a gift and I truly believe that somehow, the person that is meant for us will connect with our lives somehow.