Just 10 months into our relationship, my now-husband got down on one knee and proposed. I said yes without a moment of hesitation. When you know, you just know.
After all of the well wishes and eager questions (How did he ask? Have you set a date? Were you surprised?), I received a few raised eyebrows. You haven’t even dated that many guys. How do you know he’s the one? You haven’t even been together for a year. Are you sure? In a society that commends (or at least doesn’t question) spur of the moment decisions like hooking up and getting tattoos, such questions seemed a bit laughable and more than a touch ironic. We weren’t just running with a feeling. We were acting on love — a love deeply rooted and ready to flourish even more.
Here’s the thing: it only takes one — the right one. Maybe you don’t meet the man you’re meant to marry until you’ve dated dozens of others. Or maybe Mr. Right comes along when you’re in grade school.
When You Know, You Know
I didn’t date many guys throughout high school and college. Busy with athletics and academics, I preferred not to devote any time to dating if I didn’t realistically see it ending in marriage. Some date “casually”; I saw this as a waste of everyone’s time, money, and energy. So, when I began dating the man who I eventually did marry, I was sure that he was someone I could see myself spending a lifetime with. After only one date (a rather enchanted evening complete with deep conversation, laughter, a French bistro, and a long walk through a charming historic town), I knew that what we had could (and hoped that it would) end with rings on our fingers.
Love speaks in fullness and certainty so that when you come across it, you know it immediately.
Every second that we spent together was full — full of joy, love, and promise. We had fun together and, more importantly, we saw eye to eye on all of the most important things in life, such as faith and family. Three months into dating, we both knew that we were meant to be together forever. While that may sound like the gushings of a naive, head-over-heels girl, it was a realization that he and I both reached with much thoughtfulness, prayer, and guided discernment.
I could have balked at the idea of marriage because I hadn’t experienced other “loves.” But when you know something is right, you don’t have to try out other options to confirm that your decision is correct. When you fall in love — truly fall in love — why would you feel the need to see if you will ever fall in love with another person? When you’re truly in love, you know it — whether you’ve been there before or not.
Don’t Let “Experience” Be a Distraction from Commitment
Wanting to date around can often be a means of evading commitment. Someone who fears lifelong fidelity could easily choose to remain in the hamster wheel of dating guy after guy after guy. Some may call it freedom, but how free are you if you’re a slave to your fear, to today’s casual dating and hookup culture, or to a misplaced desire for “experience”? More often than not, those who leave love in order to dip their toes back into the dating pool find that what they’re looking for is what they left behind.
You don’t need a long list of “been there, done that”s to enter into marriage.
“Experience” is overrated. You don’t need a long list of “been there, done that”s to enter into marriage. What you need is a love that’s rooted in truth — a love that says You are the one for whom my soul has longed. You are the one with whom I will build my life. You are the one. That love doesn’t come from experience with non-loves or almost-loves. It comes from encountering and knowing the right one.
Nearly three years, three moves, and one sweet baby into marriage, I can still say that I’m absolutely sure that my husband is the one. I didn’t need multiple failed relationships, experience dating around, or even much time to know. I knew (and still know) because love doesn’t speak in halves or hesitation. It speaks in fullness and certainty so that when you come across it, you know it immediately. And when you come across it, you say yes.
Maybe you will date many men before you find the man who will be your better half for life. Or maybe you will date one and you will just know that you never want to date another. Both can be valid paths. So, to the girl who’s questioning whether or not she can say the big “yes” to the first man she falls in love with, the answer is a resounding absolutely.
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