The One. The one. Is there a One?
And if there is how will I know? And what if I’m wrong? And what if there’s really two or three or…
We humans complicate things so. There are many animals who mate for life and don’t lose sleep trying to figure out if their mate is the only one. Wolves for example. And coyotes, those wild wild nocturnal maniacs—yes, they have it all figured out.
Owls, beavers, eagles, swans, cranes, pigeons, hawks, ospreys, geese and some apes are a few more. My guess is that they don’t spend 10 minutes asking themselves if they have made the right choice or if something better awaits them right around the the next corner.
They just know.
For years I have seen articles that describe in great detail how to know if our beloved is the one. I have read articles and books that strongly suggest that if I answer, “No” to any of their questions I might be in the wrong relationship. Books that ask hundreds of questions and no matter how you answer them you put the book down feeling like you just ate rotten fish and wondering what you ever saw in this person you love anyway.
We talk to friends and therapists and priests and experts. We take quizzes online and haunt the self help aisles in bookstores and libraries. We look for “signs” and ask question after question.
Does she make you feel…?
Does he say…?
Does he have…?
Does she give you…?
Can he read your mind?
Do you speak the same love language?
And oh my God, what do you mean he forgot your birthday?
It really is so much more simple than all of that and it all boils down to two very simple questions.
1. Do I love this person?
Not, is this person hot or sexy or fun; not, do I enjoy this person; not, are we compatible; not, is it a good idea— but, do I really and truly love this person? Would I give them half of my paycheck, the last bite, my car or…a kidney? Is it that kind of love?
If the answer is yes then you’re already more than halfway there. Real love is motivation for growth and understanding and compassion. Real love drives us to be better people who rise above petty difficulties and fleeting emotions. People who do whatever it takes to nurture what we hold dear, kidney donation or not.
2. Are both my life and my partner’s life better because of our relationship?
Sit back, put your feet up, close your eyes, imagine your life without your beloved and ask yourself: How would I live without this person? How would I feel? How would I spend my time? Would I feel full? Would I feel empty? Would I sleep well or would I lie awake longing?
Who would I confide in? Who would I spend my time with? Who would lift me up when I am down? Who would be my rock? Is my love my best friend? What would I do on Saturday night or Tuesday afternoon or everyday for the rest of my life if this person disappeared from my world?
A thousand questions could follow and we should be mindful of how we would answer them but not get too caught up in the details. We need to keep it simple. We need to put aside all secondary emotions like envy, put aside fear and attachment and know that no matter what happens we will survive. With a pure, courageous, open heart we need to ask the simple question: How would my life be without this person I call my love?
I’m not suggesting that we settle for an unhealthy relationship, nor am I suggesting that there is necessarily only one one. I am saying that we complicate things with mountains of questions which can create doubt and confusion. Sometimes the answer is obvious if we simplify. If we can take a step back and answer these two questions honestly and fearlessly I believe the answer as to whether we should be with our chosen one, or not, will be obvious. If we really and truly-give-up-a-kidney-kind of love our partner and we recognize that our lives are better as a team then with a little attention and a lot of commitment everything else will fall into place