“Do you think there’s one right person for everyone in the world?”
“Nope,” he responded, taking a bite of his noodles.
We sat quietly at the wooden table in the setting sun for a few moments. I took a sip of my red wine and overheard a conversation at the table nearby about how men have the right to cheat if they’re not getting what they need from their partners.
“I think God gives you a lot of chances to have the relationship you want,” he continued, interrupting my involvement in the conversation next to us that I wasn’t involved in. “I think when you get the opportunity to have the relationship you want, you must treat the person like they ARE the one…if you want it to last.”
I think I remember staring at him, contemplating what he’d just said. I didn’t agree or disagree yet. I just stared.
“I mean, if I want YOU to be the one, I have to treat you like you ARE the one. I knew when I met you that you were it: you were the woman with whom I could have the relationship I’d always wanted to have, if you eventually showed up and treated me like I was ‘the one’, too. That’s why I was so persistent. Because I knew this could be the last relationship I ever started.”
“So, if two people simply agree to treat each other like they are ‘the one’, then a relationship can work?”
It was a heavy question. There was no arguing, no thick air between us. We were truly discussing what it meant to be “the one”. And was it possible for there to be a lot of “the ones”, each being another opportunity to treat them as such…
“Yeah, I think so,” he responded. “I think I got very clear signals, alarm bells even, that my last relationship was not one I should be investing time and energy into. I ignored the voice, the signs, because I wanted ‘the one’ so much. And I treated her like she was the one for way too long waiting for her to reciprocate. It doesn’t work that way.”
The conversation next to us continued up on a VERY high horse, throwing around words like “respect” and “real relationships.” I couldn’t help but chuckle noticing the two men who were discussing “respect” were about 20 years old, smoking cigarettes like an advertisement for cigarettes, and pointing out nice asses every few moments. The basis for their ideas was that a relationship is meant to make you feel good, not to GIVE of yourself to another person. To be honest, that’s how I viewed relationships as well, up until a few years ago, and I’m 33!
I recently heard Tracy McMillan, author of “Why You’re Not Married”, say that relationships are about giving, not receiving. I don’t know about your brain, but my brain immediately rejects that notion. Bear makes me feel special, beautiful, smart, important, and worthy. He GIVES that to me and I RECEIVE it. That makes my relationships something that gives to me. But that will NOT a healthy relationship make if that’s all it is. I have to give, give, give to this man. I have to give selflessly, even when I’m having a bad day. I have to give love, support, hugs/kisses, encouragement, and joy to him as a rule, everyday, like a JOB. And as I do, I realize being in a relationship isn’t to make me feel good; it’s to teach me how most things in life aren’t really about me.
Finding “the one” doesn’t happen until two other things happen first:
1. You’re ready to TREAT someone like they are “the one”. Even when they don’t freaking act like it sometimes. That means GRACE. Allowing your love to have bad days, to leave underwear on the floor, to snore, and still love them like crazy.
2. You’re ready to BE the one, worthy of someone treating you like you’re “the one”. You’re ready to give more than you receive, to honor yourself, and to know who you ARE.
“Well, how do you even know you’ve found the one that’s worth being treated like ‘the one’? And worth acting like ‘the one’ for?!” I asked him.
“That’s the part I think you just know. I looked at you and I just knew.”
“But I didn’t know…”
“No, not at first. But I knew you would know, too, if you eventually opened your heart. And you did. Lucky me,” he smiled.