My first kiss happened when I was five years old and had just finished watching Sleeping Beauty. At the end of that movie, Princess Aurora is woken up by her true love, Prince Phillip, and the two live happily ever after.
Anyone growing up in the 90s probably remembers Disney movie after Disney movie, many of which ended in just the same way: True love was found.
It was a beautiful story and, like every little girl at the time, I dreamed of finding my own Prince Charming. But as I grew up, the fairy tale began to lose its appeal and that dream became a distant memory. Instead, I focused on my studies, on establishing a great career and, although I wanted to find “true love,” on having a fulfilling life regardless of whether or not I was in a couple.
Then, when I met my now-fiancé, I fell in love easily.
After a decade of dating losers, men who were emotionally unavailable or guys that simply just weren’t long-term material, I knew I had met the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. We moved in together after just a month and a half and got officially engaged, though without a diamond ring, on our one year anniversary.
As cheesy as it sounds, our relationship felt magical. He loved me and supported me in a way that I never thought possible. It was and continues to be truly the best relationship of my life, by far. Of course this would be the man I’d marry!
So when, even before announcing our engagement, friends asked if he was “The One”, I felt uneasy saying that: Actually, no, he’s not “The One.”
The truth is that I don’t believe in “The One.” Not for myself, and not for anyone.
When, a few months into our relationship, my future husband played me Tim Minchin’s hysterical song “If I Didn’t Have You.” In that song, the musician, who has been with his wife Sarah since the two were teenage sweethearts in Perth, Australia, sings about what his life would be like if he didn’t have her to hold him tight, to lie with him at night, to share his sights and to kiss his tears when he cries. The verdict? He would have somebody else.
Although it sounds kind of harsh when he sings that “of the 9,999 hundred thousand other loves, statistically, some of them would be equally nice,” it’s actually a very romantic song. Why? Because in Tim Minchin’s world not believing in that one true love means that you believe in staying committed to your partner and continuing to work on your relationship. It means waking up next to the same person every single day and choosing to stay with them, despite the fight you had the night before or their shockingly bad breath this morning. It means being with them every single day not because they are your perfect true love but because you choose to devote your life to this imperfect person.
When my partner and I decided to get married, we did it in an unconventional way. We talked about our relationship, what each of us wanted for the future, and how that future could be made better by uniting our lives.
He didn’t get down on one knee and ask me anything or swear to me in every way possible that I am “The One,” because instead we chose to make a decision together. We chose to choose each other together, for a lifetime, as a partnership—which is precisely how I hope to live our the rest of our lives together.
Whenever I see someone boast on social media about how they finally found “The One,” I can’t help but roll my eyes a little bit. I wonder if they said all this before about past loves that didn’t work out or what they will say in the future if things fall apart.
Although friends still cock their heads to the side and wonder how I can possibly say that my fiancé isn’t The One, I assure them that not believing in The One actually makes us stronger. It means that we choose to stay in love, we choose to stay committed to each other and we choose to be together every single day of our lives and for the rest of our lives.
This choice is what makes our relationship strong—knowing that there are others out there but that we have found a great, successful relationship that we want to invest our time and love into.
After all, waking up every morning and looking at my love and saying, “I love you and I choose you” is a special kind of romance because it reminds me daily of the commitment we have made to each other as well as the special bond that we share and will continue to work towards building further.
Maybe it’s not the true-love’s-kiss-conquers-all kind of romance we all watched growing up on our televisions, but it’s certainly the kind of romance I’d like to experience every day for the next fifty or so years of my life.
And then, every morning, I seal my promise to choose him and love him with a kiss.