Can you receive a revelation that he is "the one" when you first meet?

11:09 AM

Not long ago I received a similar question from a student (see below). Sometimes we are so hasty to chase our "happily ever after" that we forget this may be the most important decision of our life. God is certainly involved in this process, but the ball is in your court and you ought to approach it carefully.

I have some questions for you. Recently, I had a friend who recently returned from her mission. She is engaged. I should be happy for her, but it is tough when I know how quickly this has all happened. She told me that she has yet to go on a date with this guy and they have known each other for less than 3 weeks. She told me “we haven’t gone on a date but when we met, we talked, and we just knew it was meant to be.” Today she posted on Facebook that they are engaged.

I feel obligated as a friend to be happy for her, but I also feel obligated as a true friend to help her be more thoughtful with this process. Is that wrong of me? I know I’ve been married for only a short time but I have felt some of the deep pain that can occur in marriage, especially when it is rushed into. Here are my questions: 

  • Can the spirit actually tell someone in two weeks that that is the person they are supposed to marry? 
  • I know she is my friend and I should be comfortable with speaking to her but how do I go about this? Or should I got about this at all?
  • Don’t you think 2 weeks is too short to get an answer that you are supposed to marry someone?

Concerned Friend


Dear Concerned Friend,

You ask great questions. Can the spirit do that? Yes. Will the Father send the spirit that soon? Maybe, but I don’t know how likely it is (at least according to the Lord’s pattern for providing revelation). Revelation is typically received line upon line over time rather than all at once (all at once is the exception; she may feel that she is the exception, but so does everyone else). I have little doubt your friend felt something. What she felt is what is in question. Spirit? Maybe. If so, does that fact she felt something require her to get engaged now, before she even knows the guy? Did she feel he was “the one” or did she feel that he was a high-quality guy with potential? Is what she felt physical attraction? Is it brain chemistry? It very well could have been brain chemicals speaking and this video points that out.

Let’s pretend she did receive a revelation from heaven (which certainly could have happened). Does that disqualify her from following the counsel from Elder Oaks to be careful and thoughtful and thorough in this decision-making process? Certainly, it does not. The prophets have taught that this should not be a hasty decision, so what’s the hurry? What does she have to lose by spending more time getting to know him? I understand it may be unnecessary to spend 2-3 years getting to know him before getting engaged, but a year? Even 6 months is more helpful than 3 weeks. Patterns of behavior typically don't even reveal themselves until at least 3 months, so why make such an important decision before then and, in a sense, lock yourself in? Wouldn’t waiting a few months help them transition into marriage more successfully? Sometimes people seem to care more about getting married than establishing a solid marriage. The development of a solid marriage begins during while dating.

What can you do? Love her and be supportive. Ask inspired questions to help engage her brain in the decision-making process. While still being supportive, you can invite her to be more thoughtful with this decision. How careful, thoughtful, and thorough can you be in 2-3 weeks? Not very. Oliver Cowdery thought that all he had to do was ask and he would be able to translate. He was wrong. Some couples think that to get an answer on who to marry that all they have to do is ask (not date, not get to know, etc.). I believe they are misinformed because asking in faith requires effort (with the marital decision it involves dating, getting to know a partner, observing him or her in a variety of different circumstances). 

Your job is to help her see the benefit to her future marriage of being thoughtful and thorough in this process, and to do so without being offensive. For you, it might start with contemplating why she is being so hasty. Is she insecure? Is she overzealous to get married, much like Zeniff was to inherit the land of his fathers? Being overzealous can cloud our judgement (how did it work out for Zeniff?). Understanding the why behind her decision-making can help you be more compassionate and less offensive, and ultimately more helpful. 

Those are just my thoughts. Good luck.

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  1. On the inverse of this, how quickly can one determine that someone is NOT the one? Will you know pretty quickly if a relationship will work out, or is it always best to keep trying except in the case of abuse or neglect?

  2. MNEL, great question! I believe that the same truths can be applied to the inverse, as you've suggested. I also appreciate that you mentioned cases of abuse or neglect, or other harm for that matter. With that I will say that there are some times when the "no" is obvious quickly, such as red flags as big as those. But sometimes there aren't obvious red or even yellow flags, there is just an absence of a yes (or sometimes an absence of the giddy feelings that persuade a person to continue). In those cases I do suggest that it would be wise to invest more time and effort into exploring that option. As mentioned above, relationships are built over time. There's no sense in forcing something that isn't there but it would also be a shame to miss out on something potentially good so hastily. It could come down to balance, but we have to remember that choice is always at the root and that's something we value! So, if that's the choice, then the important thing is to actively engage both the mind and the heart, knowing that the Spirit communicates with both. That takes time and it takes effort to be both "thoughtful and thorough" as Elder Oaks suggests.


We are excited to hear your insights or questions!