How Do I know if He’s the One?


How do you know if the guy you’re dating is ‘the One’? Will you “just know”?

The scary part about marriage is most people make this decision of gargantuan proportion in love, which by definition means your mind is hazy from all the 3am make-outs and sheer thrill thinking no one has ever loved like this before. Dating Michael for me meant my journal entries were frequent and swirly with emotional statements in all caps like “MICHAEL DEAN IS THE GREATEST . . . & HE LOVES ME!” I will tell you that I knew he was ‘the One’ the first month we started talking; he knew I was ‘the One’ after he saw he perform a Taylor Swift song with some kids I was babysitting. Long story. 

But how do you know? How do you know if the man you are dating is the person you should spend the rest of your life waking up next to?

We’ll talk more about this in Real Men Don’t Text , but it isn’t necessarily true that you’ll just know when you meet him. The ability to discern if your guy is right for you depends on who you’ve dated in the past and whether or not you know what a good relationship looks like. For example, if you’ve only dated players or even mediocre guys in the past and suddenly you decide your boyfriend is “the One”-I would caution you to take a step back and really evaluate. Sure, he may be better than all the other guys you’ve ever dated . . . but you don’t marry better, you marry BEST. Amen from the married ladies?

Let’s look at a few characteristics of “the One”:

1.) Your friends and family agree. Most of them, at least. If most of your friends and family think your guy brings out the best in you and will be a great person to start a life with that is a very good sign you might have found “the One”. You’ll want to be careful here with extremes. If everyone in your life has raised concern-parents, friends, and most people who know you well-I promise they are not trying to bully you; only care for you because they can often see red flags that you can’t. But it’s unreasonable to think that everyone will agree with your decision, so don’t worry if just a handful of people don’t like his taste in music or his career.

2.) Character. Is he trustworthy? Kind? Forgiving? Character makes marriages stand the test of time. Character is who he is when no one is looking. Does he do what is right or what is easy? Men of high character bring out the best in you. Are you a better version of yourself since meeting him? Will the two of you be better together rather than apart? These are all great questions to consider in making this choice.

3.) You don’t want to change him. Do you love him just the way he is? Does he love you for you? If you have major changes you’re hoping happen in his life, he’s not “the One”. You can’t marry someone hoping they’ll change; just like he shouldn’t marry you hoping you’ll wake up one day and be a different person. Major changes sound like, “I really hope he stops drinking.”; “I’m praying for him to believe in God”; “I’m hoping he’ll open up to the idea of children.”

4.) Companionship. You love being with him. You have fun together.  If you couldn’t make out with him, would you just enjoy being around him? Are you friends? The rich companionship in marriage is my favorite part. I’m telling you, Michael Dean makes me laugh more than anyone I know and I have more fun with him than with I could’ve imagined.

5.) He is a servant leader. Lately, I’ve heard horror stories of ‘Christian men’ berating their wives and running their households like a dictatorship. Jesus demonstrated for men how husbands should love their wives-leading by serving. Michael is an incredible example of this style of leadership and he never demands that I “submit to his authority”. Can you trust him to lead your family? Or will you have to do all the heavy lifting?

6.) You are on the same life path. Do you want the same things from life? Is his idea of success converting a Muslim country and yours is living down the street from your parents and traveling to the Caribbean every year? Does he want to live in a shoebox apartment in New York, but you can’t stand the city and long for a quiet house on acres of land? Talk about the future now and seriously consider if compromise is possible or if you need to move on. It may not seem like a big deal now, but it will become one.

7.) You have a voice in your relationship. Does he  make you feel special? Do your opinions matter, or is it all about him?  You will suffer in the long-run if you have to put your dreams and goals on the back burner because he doesn’t see them as valuable.

8.) Chivalry. Chivalry doesn’t mean you’re not a feminist and it isn’t degrading. Does he care for you and keep you safe? Treat you with respect? Do you feel special when you’re with him? Would he get in a fight on your behalf? Passivity is eating away at many men and you want to marry a man who rejects the urge to sit back.

What would you add to the list? If you are married, I’d love for the single ladies to hear in the comments how you knew your husband was the One.

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24 Responses to “How Do I know if He’s the One?”
  1. Tatuu says:

    Will keep everything in in this list in mind. Unfortunately, I don’t have any additions now as I haven’t found/ or been found by the one yet. :)

  2. Amen to marrying BEST! great pointers Ruthie. Am working on a book and am about to start working on chapter on knowing the “one”. I totally agree with you!

  3. John Gunter says:

    Ruthie, great article. . . you are spot on here! Very important stuff for all when to think through when considering marriage.


    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Thanks John! Make sure to let me know if you come to Nashville this summer. . . Michael & I would love to meet up!

  4. Natalie says:

    Hi, Ruthie, thanks for writing your great ideas! One funny thing is that I really like that picture above, but I guess my hair won’t be that white forever, :-) zen me ban??! Love you. -Natalie

  5. Lerato says:

    Oh thank you so much, really appreiate this read.

  6. GREAT list. Here’s one thing I can add from my own personal experience after dating someone for nearly 6 years and being married just over one:
    8. A big thing for me is whom he associates himself and socializes with. Corey had an incredible group of close-knit friends that welcomed me with open arms. Guys I had dated before may have been super nice but hung out with unambitious ‘losers’ for lack of a better word. Corey’s friends were kind, smart, motivated, and hard-working.

  7. Ben says:

    What about the ‘spark’? The shazam? Is that important? I don’t have the experience myself but I’ve heard from others that this makes things easier.

    • Nancy says:

      I have the same question. How important is the spark? What if he has all these things, is my best friend, etc., etc., but I’m not all that interested in kissing him, like I have been about others I’ve dated.

      • Gloria says:

        I’m in this same boat… I’m engaged, we’ve been together forever, he’s my best friend and we meet all of the above items. BUT, I feel like he’s more my best friend than the person who brings passion to my life, who lights me up, or at least it hasn’t been that way in years. How important is it that I feel like I’m ‘in love’? Or am I hitting the rough patch all couples have to work through, does it fade for everyone? It’s also been years that I’ve tried to bring it back to no avail.
        I hear statements like ‘I’m more in love with him that I’ve ever been’, and ‘I love him more every day’, and ‘he’s who I think about all the time’, or ‘I just knew’… and I wonder if I’m in the wrong boat, as these just have no resonance for me.

        • Selena says:


          I can relate to what you are saying. I was wondering what conclusion you came to about your relationship?

  8. Charlotte says:

    I second #6-it is so important! I dated a guy for a few years whose life dream was to be in the military, and I knew God was calling me to ministry overseas. If we had stayed together, one of us would have to give up our dream. Before I even met my husband, Jonathan, I knew I was looking for someone with the same future dreams as I had. Now we are serving together in Cambodia. God is faithful!

  9. Cameron says:

    These traits are all great, but Satan can still find a way to destroy it all. Therefore, the One is the person you choose to keep the covenant with. God is not as much concerned with your compatibility with your spouse as much he is concerned with the spouses keeping the covenant of marriage! Imagine how many times the church did not act like the One and how God always kept his covenant.

  10. Edith says:

    I have met someone that my friends like. They think we’d be a good match.

    I think my non-Christian family members would respect him (but if they find fault with him, oh well).

    He’s great the way he is, or at least what I have seen of him in the church-related activities we both participate in. He is, in that context, intelligent, compassionate, responsible, good-humored, and gentlemanly.

    I am very much in like with him and I have taken every opportunity to let him know I think he’s an admirable sort. I think he could be The One. The only problem: so far, he doesn’t seem to have thought at all about whether I might be The One for him. One of my girlfriends says, “Men are clueless.” But that’s not much consolation.

    So I’d say that one strong sign of a guy being the one is: he thinks you are The One for him.

    • Leah says:

      I have the same problem! Haha. Not my will, but Yours, Lord! Maybe he’ll come around… maybe he won’t! But I agree The One will definitely have to think that I am The One for him too! <3

  11. Carol says:

    Brilliant article. I’ve been very happily married for almost five years and I’m often asked ( especially as I am 7 years older than him) ‘how did I know he was the one for me?’ And you are spot on! My answer has always been that I constantly asked God to close the doors if this was of my making and not of His. He didn’t and I know we are definitely stronger together than apart. I liked the additional friends point too from Madelynne – that worked too. Yes the devil will try and get in but God is our protector if we are faithful to our covenant with each other and Him.

  12. Hi Ruthie,
    I love what you are doing here to encourage girls! I have shared my “He’s the one” story here:

    God bless! Cindy

  13. Mickey says:


    I completely disagree on point number 8. Not only is chivalry long dead, put politically correct male-bashing is what killed it!!!

  14. Bliss says:

    It’s amazing to read what you’ve learned and are teaching. I often wondered what “you’ll
    Just know” feels like.
    But I finally know..constant patience and understanding. Respect is key, plus complimenting each
    Others personality. We are like best friends and I know
    Both sex life and friendship are equally important to balance it out.
    Your article is so rewarding to read because it validates what I now know.

  15. Adrianne says:

    Well….my man does every bullet point on your list! Makes me feel good! After a year of being together I notice that from both sides we are less spontaneous in outbursts of love texts all the time all day. I thought maybe it was because he doesnt like and appreciate me anymore as much as in the beginning. Or maybe our love is gone. But your article made me realize that with no man you will always be in those first weeks of excitement and then these elements that you mention become important. And my man does them BEST ;)

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