Why the idea of ‘The One’ screws up your dating life and can screw up your married life.

If you’ve grown up in the ‘Disney era’ you have been encased in a culture that has told you there is one perfect person out there for you. You’ve been raised on movies that show a spotlight surrounding the person you are destined to be the with first time they walk into the same room as you. It’s all dreamy and exciting and who wouldn’t want that? But do these ideas help us or harm us when it comes down to brass tacks. For a few reason I want to prepose that it may do more harm than good.

Making Dating Stressful

First off this idea that there is one person out there for you can make dating even more stressful and anxiety filled than it already is. Gary Friesen in his book makes a rather comical illustration in “Decision making and the Will of God” of how this idea makes us overthink too much. What if we marry the wrong person? If we marry the wrong person then the person they were supposed to marry will marry the wrong person. In the end by us marrying the wrong person we have ruined everyone else’s perfect match. This is  course ridiculous, but it illustrates clearly that there probably isn’t some one single match out there for us, and just because God didn’t send a beam of light on the person we are with doesn’t mean we haven’t found a good match for marriage.

Unrealistic hopes for a relationship

Furthermore, if we have this idea that one single person is the perfect match for us it can make us think we haven’t found the one until we have a relationship that is perfect. Of course if we wait around for the perfect relationship we’re going to be waiting a while. . . well forever. . . No one is a perfect match and you’ll always have to work things out. The danger of thinking there is a perfect match out there is thinking when times get hard that you must not have found the right person. This can ruin your dating life or your marriage.

When you are just getting to know someone who may be a good fit you may always see someone who you can imagine is an even better fit.  In a sense it can create this ‘maybe I can do better’ mentality, which in an age of online shopping and online dating is easy to fall into.

Damaging perseverance in relationships

Still even after you’ve settled in and tied the knot the idea of ‘the one’ can still ruin some relationships even if you aren’t in danger of thinking you married the wrong person. All of us know that couple that became so involved in their new found relationship that other relationships dissolve. There’s a level that of course a marriage needs focus but there can be a danger that becoming so focused on finding ‘the one’ can make us think we don’t need any other relationships. Yes, you’ve found your spouse but that shouldn’t mean all other relationships don’t exist. In fact it would be unhealthy for your marriage if you don’t continue to pull from and give to those relationships outside of your marriage.

Is it all bad? No. I think there is some real good to making sure people keep their standards high and don’t just go for the first person that comes across your path. Too many times people settle for someone less than a good fit and that comes with its own troubles. But perhaps there is some better phrasing we can use to help people set themselves up best for success.

One idea I have had is from my previous blog (insert shameless plug here) Two questions to help you know when you’ve found the person you should marry.


  1. If you’re married and you don’t think s/he’s the one, that raises serious questions as to why you married them in the first place! Surely as Christians, we should recognise that we don’t need to be serial daters before we can find someone to marry!

    1. I agree that we don’t need to be serial daters, but I can also say in my own life. that there is something to be said for dating to learn what you are looking for and need in a relationship.

      Ultimately, I think people who end up getting married believing in the culture of ‘the one’ get married thinking they have found ‘the one’ but question it when things get hard after marriage, but if we instead just think there are good matches for us out there we realize that we have to make it work with the person we marry because there isn’t a perfect match that isn’t going to have problems when we get married.

      1. I believe God is sovereign (I’m sure you do too). An implication of that is that what God joins together, we’re not to seperate, even if we come to decide our partner isn’t “the one” (obviously there’s complications with infidelity and abuse). I don’t think my wife would be impressed if I decided she wasn’t the one God had ordained for me in my life!

      2. Once you have married someone I think I would simply say that because you have chosen that person they have become ‘the one’ for you. There can be no doubt that person is in one sense ‘the one’ once you have married them, but I don’t buy into the idea that prior to you choosing that person they were the only person you could have had a meaningful and fruitful marriage with.

      3. For me the criteria for a wife were that she was a good Christian, a good cook, and good looking. Just because I’ve now found the one doesn’t mean to say I had to sample the delicacies of every eligible young lady in some kind of taste test! 😀 If you are to recieve the gift of marriage, then God has only one for you, we’re not polygamous or “serial monogamists” as I heard one person put it about serial daters! Just to clarify I’m talking in general, none of this is a reflection on you personally, apart from the fact I disagree with you on this. Thanks for the article by the way 🙂

      4. For the record Robert I’ve dated 3 girls and I am 30 years old. I don’t exactly fit the whole
        ‘serial dater’ idea and to try and compare someone who dates purposefully to find the person they want to marry to something like polygamy is pretty un-genuine and unfair.

        Simply saying God has multiple avenues and options for us to glorify and honor him in monogamous relationships is nothing comparable polygamy. I am glad you feel God had one single woman in the millions of Christian women on earth, I just don’t think that’s the case for everyone. Thanks for your thoughts though.

      5. That’s why I said that what I wrote isn’t a reflection on your dating habits, because I don’t know you from Adam. What I am saying that if God brings two people together in marriage, then no one should seperate them. A married partner can’t divorce because they’ve decided their partner isn’t “the one”. I always used to joke with my parents that I wished they’d arrange me a marriage. Seeing as they didn’t I went on a Christian dating site and (eventually!) found the one for me!

        Thankfully, whatever our missteps along the way, and I’ve had many, God is gracious, and I hope that if it’s God’s will for you to marry, that you find the one! 🙂

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