The One

Quite a few friends around me are looking for partners or the families are looking out on their behalf. Invariably, “How do you know this is the one?” pops up.

My typical answers –

  • Make a list of how you’d like your partner to be – from outer to inner beauty. Prioritize that. And go around making check-marks or giving percentages. – very flaky, and highly impractical. I look at it as my stop-gap, “give me time to think” solution.
  • Have an elimination process. Some things are big no-nos. Reduce the choice and thus the confusion. – Yuck! I know…
  • You’ll know it, go by your gut feeling and you’ll be fine. – could I get any more abstract!?

Come on guys! It’s been over 11 years and I was just 22. (And being 22 then was very different from being 22 now, but that’s a discussion for some other day.) You cannot expect me to remember the process I went through. All I remember is let’s take it one day at a time, meaning one boy at a time. Who knew the time would come with just one boy? Shebing-shebang-matter-close. All okay because it has worked out great…so far…except for the regular ups and downs… (another topic for another day) …but not everyone can or should take such a risk. Never!

Ruminating over the topic long enough, and going by my experience so far, I think this is one all-encompassing question that needs an answer –

“How much will I be required to change to be able to sustain this relationship for decades to come?”

And conversely, how much will I need this person to change.

This question needs an answer after the mush-mush-gush-gush “I love you the way you are” period is done with. So, in an arranged marriage scenario, there are practical problems due to social issues, like time spent alone before engagement, etc. Then again, there is no mush-gush in an arranged marriage before the engagement anyways. And society is getting more and more liberal towards time spent alone before you are announced fiancรฉs, so there is hope.

The question needs an answer after the reality of “opposites attract” sinks in. Analogies do have their limitations, you know. That theory applies to magnets, not people! Okay, it applies to people, but NOT in the long run. In the long run you need common interests, common things to talk about.

Think about it, your partner is talking about some major philosophy of life and you cannot get over your fascination with the mathematical beauty of matrices. Or you are completely into making this country, your city, your society a better place to live in and your partner is absolutely content with keeping their self content. None of these are bad things, but a lot of them are incompatible. They sound trivial, but ultimately itโ€™s the conversation that keeps the relationship going. Think about how you’d react if this happened today, tomorrow, a decade later and a quarter of a century later.

So, I think my new “way to go about it” mantra is –

“Judge how much you’d have to change for this person.”

Leave a comment ?


  1. Interesting… this makes me want to publish my “Notes of a Bride-to-be”, not because I just chose the man I’m going to spend the rest of my life with (gawd! that sounds heavy!)… but because I think there is more to choosing a husband than your mantra (probably your mantra being the strongest point in deciding)

    Of course I’m still in the lovey-dovey stage and still blissfully unaware/ignorant of the repercussions in the decade to come with the significant other. so it’ll be interesting to exchange ideas after some years though ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Of course, the mantra is not the only thing or the only way. The mantra covers a lot of ground and is not absolutely unanswerable even though the answer is not entirely tangible.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that this question is easier to answer (in your head, without rationalizing for the rest of the world) than say having a list of priorities and going around trying to match them.

    And anyway, Solitary Dreamer, you are beyond this stage now. This one would apply before the decision is made. Now, just enjoy the bliss…

  3. This is great, Meetu. Thank you for the tip!

  4. whatever happened to ‘marry the person who sweeps you off your feet’! I guess Earth is different.

  5. I used to tell myself that I’d have to turn the conventional assurance of “I can live with him” on its head and find the ability to tell myself “I can’t live without him” to feel like I could marry someone. Of course, when it’s being done through 2 sets of parents, there’s not enough chance to get to that level of comfort, or maybe there is. All I know is the principle is pretty sounds, and as clinical as your “Know the big NOs” sounds, that’s actually a pretty efficient way to manage time and feelings ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. the principle is pretty sound … not sounds … I don’t suck at grammar .. really! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. thanks for the link, Ideasmith!

    lol, Obiwan! consider this – if you are to live with this person for the foreseeable future and he/she kept sweeping you off the floor, you’d have a pretty sore behind, no? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Unpredictable – unfortunately, finding the person who doesn’t have any of the big ‘no’s doesn’t automatically translate to the ‘right’ person. And then you realize the futility of the exercise. To say yes, because there isn’t a strong reason to say no is not the best reason to make a lifelong decision.

  8. Ah no, you misunderstood. What you mentioned is a good way to eliminate and reduce the list down to a few people. There’s a fully different set of principles to then apply to finally pick someone from this list. ๐Ÿ™‚ For e.g. in my case it would be the feeling that my life would pale without their presence. Yours could be something else. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. aaah…apdiya…so we were saying the same thing, Unpredictable!

  10. In the long run you need common interests, common things to talk about.
    I think you need a *mix* of common interests and differences.

    There definitely needs to be agreement on the principles by which you live. For example, similar notions about honesty, morality, right vs. wrong etc.

    Differences in other matters (even money matters, for example) can help both partners grow as individuals–which I think is a sign of a great relationship. It also keeps things interesting.

  11. that’s kinda what I did pre martimony

  12. Absolutely, Suchi. But the good thing about ‘differences’ is that they don’t need to be nurtured, they just happen to exist and have a nagging way of not going away or coming in new forms. So, that one, we really don’t have to work on.

    And as far as basic principles go, note that though you might have had similar notions at one point in your life, people change, develop and thus grow in and out of these notions. So, noticing the similarities, and focusing on them is an ongoing process too, right?

    La Vida Loca, tell us more, if you can…what was the decision making process like, how is working out?

  13. Going through something similar at the moment.

  14. I agree with the “Opposites Attract” bit you said.. it can be fun at the beginning.. like when you try out something new.. but eventually you want comfort and familiarity.

    I’m sure all my friends who went thru arranged marriages would love to reminisce reading this article.

  15. It is a long story. We did not meet in traditional ways…but it took me about 8 months to arrive at the decision. I made a list of qualities I wanted and split them as desirable and absolute.

    It has worked great (touchwood)

  16. Good luck, CC! And do keep writing your experiences.

    Yeah sunshine, as Unpredictable pointed out some you can celebrate and some you just can’t live with.

    Thanks fro sharing, La Vida Loca

  17. Just read Preeti’s blog and she has a very similar post like yours. (Trying to leave a similar comment at both the places). Good that you seniors are sharing your wisdom with the freshers and those who are about to join ๐Ÿ™‚

    Tarun Chandel

  18. Anytime Tarun! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Here’s more – on how you have to just keep at it non-stop ๐Ÿ™‚

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