Does 'The One' really exist?

There’s a website I really like called HONY (Humans of New York) in which a young man named Brandon Stanton set out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map.

He started collecting quotes and short stories from the people he met, and began including these snippets with the photos. They have often turned out to be surprisingly frank personal statements. He’s collected so many and garnered such great support he’s put out a book and even met President Obama.

Comments from viewers online frequently refer to the unexpectedly intimate nature of his subjects’ remarks about their lives.

Having recently celebrated 46 years of marriage, I found the following comment from an elderly man most interesting:

“I think if we were all being honest with ourselves, very few of us ever meet The One. The vast majority of people just marry because they’re ready. I never really felt like I met The One. I don’t think my wife is The One. I mean, she’s a nice lady. But I don’t think she’s The One for me. And I don’t think she’d mind me saying that, because if she was being honest, I don’t think she’d say I am The One for her either”.

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So it set me thinking. Arranged marriage vs romance vs being ready?

A 2012 article in USA Today on arranged marriage said that in countries such as India and Pakistan, marriages are often brokered for religious and cultural reasons. Robert Epstein, a research psychologist, maintains in many of these marriages expectations start low, love grows slowly and extended families lend support.

Love marriages often start steamy but quickly cool off, leading to fraught families and unhappy hearts, he said.

But Stephanie Coontz, author of Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage has a different opinion.

“Many arranged marriages in many countries are associated with a lack of choice for young people and are particularly repressive to women.”

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In a 2012 report entitled Pros & Cons of Love Marriage and Arranged Marriage, the India Tribune came down squarely in the middle. “When it comes to love marriage, the two people get ample time to explore both the good and the bad things about each other, well before marriage”.

In an arranged marriage, “compromise and adjustments form the foundation of arranged marriage … if the marriage proves to be a failure, they have a number of people around them to seek support or to put the blame on”.

Even in India things are changing, says the Tribune. The outlook of people regarding marriages has been revolutionised due to modernisation. However, this acceptance is mainly limited to urban and educated Indian society.

This does not pretend to be a treatise on the subject, please note!

My dad used to say I had to leave Australia to find someone willing to marry me. Ha ha. It’s true! We met in Papua New Guinea, he from New Zealand and I’m from Sydney. I love my husband dearly and our marriage certainly wasn’t arranged! My husband was ready, I was ready. I think we’re happy with that.


Do you know couples who might have been better off with spouses found for them? Do you know any marriages that started off  ‘steamy’ but have been long-lasting? Tell us below.