How do I know if he's the one?

1:56 PM

This is one of the most universal and common questions those in the dating scene ask. There are variants to this question, such as “Is the Lord telling me to dump him or is it just fear?” and “Is this feeling revelation or is it just because I am really attracted to her?” But the core question is the same: Is this the person I should marry?

How do you determine whom you should marry? Although it should be obvious that much of this comes down to personal preference, many people like to defer to God to make this decision for them. 

NEWS FLASH: He won't make your decisions for you. That’s not the way He works. He has endowed you with a heart and a mind and the ability to use those to make decisions and act for yourself.  So the first item of business is to determine if you want to marry a particular person. To do that, you might ask yourself some of these questions:

Are you attracted to them physically, spiritually, intellectually, and/or emotionally?
Do you like spending time with them? Talking with them?
Do they love the Lord more than they love you?
Do they make and keep covenants?
Do you have some shared interests? Shared goals?
Do they inspire you to be kind? Are they kind?

These are important questions to consider while refining your own preferences. Now, let’s say you’ve found someone that you want to marry (assuming you know enough about them to make an informed decision). How do you know that the Lord endorses your decision? There are two parts to this answer: how we ask and how He speaks.

Obviously asking is important, but there is much more to asking than muttering words. In response to Oliver Cowdery’s desire to know something, the Lord responded, “Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.” (D&C 9:7) As part of the process of asking in faith, it is required of us to ask and act. The actions required by us to determine whether or not the Lord approves of our mate selection include going on actual dates (yes, you still need to do this even if you believe she is “the one”), learning about our partner by seeing them in a variety of settings, having deep and meaningful conversations with one another, and practicing our faith. As we ask in faith (which includes our actions), we invite the Lord to provide us guidance.

The second part of receiving an answer is coming to understand God’s pattern for speaking with His children.  The Lord gives us a pattern in all things so that we might not be deceived by the adversary (D&C 52:14). One clear pattern in God’s communication with his children is that of “line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” (Isaiah 28:10) So what does that look like in the case of selecting an eternal companion that the Lord approves of? It looks much like how Elder David A. Bednar described how he knew the Lord approved of his decision to marry Sister Bednar:

Sister Bednar and I knew each other for 19 months and dated for 15 months before we were married. I do not recall ever receiving a single, overwhelming spiritual confirmation that she was ‘the one.’ I do recall that as we dated, as we talked, as we became better acquainted, and as we observed and learned about each other in a variety of circumstances, I received many small, simple, and quiet reassurances that she was indeed a remarkable and spiritual woman. All of those simple answers over a period of time led to and produced an appropriate spiritual reassurance that indeed we were to be married. That reassurance did not come all at once; rather, it was spiritually subtle and gradually distilled upon our minds as the dews from heaven.”

You see if we are too busy looking for the big and dramatic answer, we might miss several subtle assurances along the way.

Let me summarize. To determine whom you should marry, remember:

The Lord will allow you (and expects you) to choose and act for yourself. This will be your eternal companion, not His.

Asking in faith requires both asking and acting. Strive to see one another in a variety of settings and circumstances (e.g., DATE!).

The Lord provides answers in small and simple ways over time. Be righteous and look for His hand in your life.

Understanding these key principles can help you understand how to determine whom you should marry. The more you learn about God’s pattern for revelation and how to ask in faith, the more you can determine whether or not what you are experiencing is fear, excitement, and/or an answer from heaven.

For more insights study and ponder these articles:
Line Upon Line, Precept Upon Precept by Elder David A. Bednar

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  1. This is great advice/ Not just for marriage and dating but for career and education stuff. Of course the questions you ask yourself will be a bit different.

    1. That's a great point, Lisa! Often times we can take the same true principles and apply it to different areas of our lives. Thank you for pointing that out-- super powerful to consider!

      - Madisen, with BYUIDO


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