A friend recently asked me when I knew that my husband was "the one." I didn't have a good answer for her.
For starters, I don't really believe that there is such a thing as "the one." I believe that there are a multitude of people out there in the world that I could be happy with. Obviously, the level of happiness would fluctuate depending on the person, but mostly depending on the level of effort that we put into the relationship. My marriage philosophy is that you have to roll up your sleeves and make it work. So many people these days seem to have the attitude that when the going gets tough, give up.
Granted, your affection for someone will impact how hard you are willing to work. Another factor that plays into how hard you work is your level of happiness (a happy person is more motivated to make it work, to show signs of affection, to amp up the romance, etc.), so the whole schematic is made up of interdependent variables.
That being said, I love my husband and he is "the one" for me. I say that, contrary to my previous statements, because I married him. I chose him out of the multitude and decided to make it work with him, ergo making him "the one" for me. Do I believe that I could be happier with someone else? No. Because being happy is subjective. My happiness would be different with someone else. It's like apples and oranges.
But back to my friend's question: I never consciously came to the realization/decided that my husband was "the one." We started dating in my freshman year of high school and, at that time, I was just excited that a boy liked me. A senior boy [insert giddy emoticon]. We kissed, we held hands, he walked me to class, we went to prom, he graduated, we had sex over the summer, I went back to school, and we just kept dating for the next four years.
Our relationship was comfortable and at no point during our fights was the question "should we break up?" ever raised, so we stayed together. We talked about our future and the idea of moving in together, but not of marriage and babies, until my dad told me that he "wouldn't be able to support me" if I moved in with him out of wedlock. So archaic and ambiguous.
But it got us talking. There was no real reason not to get married other than the cost. So we got engaged. Four months later, we found out that I was pregnant. Fortuitous, right?
It's not exactly the most romantic story in the world, but I'm really happy. I love my husband and my daughter. They are "the one" family for me and I'm "the one" for them because I try everyday to do right by them. Basically, my advice is to not overthink it. If at the end of the day, you are still willing to try, they're "the one."
I don't know if this will help anyone navigate and evaluate their own relationships, but I hope so. Please share if it does.