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9 couples reveal when they knew they’d found ‘the one’

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From love at first sight, to 'before we event met' these true falling-in-love stories will inspire and charm you.

When I look back on my relationship with my now husband, Joseph, I can point to the exact moment when I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with with him.

We’d been dating for about two months and were spending the evening over at the home of Joseph’s parents, celebrating his 22nd birthday. I watched him interact with his family, particularly his mom, and realized how much he loved them. I realized I’d found the man I’d been praying for—someone who loved family just as much as I did.

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Curious, I wanted to hear about the special moments when other couples knew ‘the one’ had appeared. Talking to nine very different couples, I learned that some grew to love each other steadily, and others came to it like a bolt of lightening—some even before they started dating. While every story is unique, each points to the beautiful moment when the couple realized they have found ‘the one.’

After a heated discussion

Dray and Mandy, married for 280 days

Mandy said it was hard to point to one moment as the instant she knew Dray was ‘the one.’ But she has one memory that sticks out more than the others. “Dray and I celebrate our Christianity very differently and we got into a very heated discussion about it one night. The odd thing about the discussion is our power was out in the whole thing happened completely in the dark. At the time I didn’t realize how much we rely on nonverbal communication. But sitting on the floor listening to him talk to me about how no matter what, he would be willing to put in the effort to find ways for us to share our life together that respects both of our faith traditions, Even when I wasn’t sure that the solution existed, was one of the defining moments for me.” It was his dedication and willingness to find a solution that would lead to their marriage is that is the reason that Mandy trusts him to be by her side through anything.

For Dray, he couldn’t picture his life without Mandy beside him. He said, “Once I started getting to know you I knew I wanted you to be a part of my life. Once you became a part of my life, I knew I never wanted to you to leave it. I know we’ve had our ups and downs, but at the end of the day I love you very much and I can’t picture my future without you by my side. Your compassion, your intelligence, and your spirituality help me strive to be a better man and you a man can’t ask for much more than that in a wife.”

After the first date

Tom and Nicole, married for 23 years

Not very many couples could say the exact spot where they were standing when they knew they’d found the love of their life. But Tom remembers vividly: “When did I know? I think it happened on the corner of Union Turnpike and 178th street. As if the lightning bolt that went through me when I first met her a couple of days earlier wasn’t enough, from that first kiss all I knew was that I wanted us to be together all the time.”

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Tom and Nicole met on a blind date, and Nicole said she knew Tom was it the morning after their first date: “I can’t lie; the next morning, I told my college girlfriends that I had met ‘the one,’ the man I was going to marry. Now I’m sure a lot of people have thought that and it turned out to be mere infatuation, but I was among the blessed. That feeling of safety and familiarity, that instant bond, held up over time, and Tom proved himself to consistently be in my corner, to always put my needs, my safety, and my well being, as a priority.” That feeling is still present in their relationship today. Nicole said, “The bonus is that he still makes my heart go pitter-pat after 23 years.”

It took a break up

Erwin and Linda, married for 51 years 

Erwin and Linda had been dating for 2 years, but Erwin wasn’t quite sure Linda was the one for him. So, he said, “I broke up with her. But after two weeks of separation and some prayer, I was totally sure she was the one for me. So we got back together and shortly after I asked her Dad if I could marry his daughter, and if he was okay with that. He approved and a few days later I asked her to marry me … and about 6 months later, we were married.”

Linda said after Erwin had met her parents, she knew for sure. “As far as I was concerned, I wanted to be with him the rest of my life. But he wasn’t sure yet. We broke up for a little while. I was pretty heartbroken.” She was overjoyed when he changed his mind. “He had a change of heart and he was fixing to go to basic training at the National Guard and just before he went he asked me if I’d marry him. He had to ask permission from my parents but they really liked him and gave their approval. I just knew he was the one that I wanted to spend my life with. Now 51 years later, he’s still the one!”

Right after they started dating

Rob and Cindy, married (almost) 40 years

Rob and Cindy celebrate their 40th anniversary in May. Thinking back on their first years together, Rob said, “I think I knew she was “the one” for me very early, perhaps on our second or third date. The physical attraction was very strong—she was beautiful, moved gracefully and had a physical presence and confidence that was intoxicating to me. She was smart and passionate and talented and funny.” He also enjoyed spending time and exploring with Cindy. “She was easy to be with—a great conversationalist, interested in me and the world around us. Her values and commitment to faith, family, friends and community were very strong. I wanted to be with her all the time, listen to her talk and sing, touch her face and share my life with her. I still do!”

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Cindy shared the same thoughts. She wanted to find the love of her life when she was in high school, like her parents had. When the two met she was 16 and he was 17. After the first date, she knew for sure he was her one and only. “At the end of my first date with Rob (sealed with a spectacular kiss) I knew I wanted to marry him! We had spent weeks talking and flirting at play rehearsals so I knew I could check many boxes on my list—he was smart, ambitious, he had a life plan, he came from a solid Christian family, had a great sense of humor—but it was his lack of guile that drew me the most. No games. He showed me clearly that he wanted to be with me and that made me feel safe with him; he was interested in everything about me. And it didn’t hurt that he was tall and handsome and had really cute buns! Our high school selves were pretty smart, apparently!”

While spending totally ordinary, boring days together

Joel and Kelsey, married 272 days

Kelsey said that just spending time with Joel made her realize she had found ‘the one.’ “There was a moment after we had been dating for a little while that we were just hanging out (something which we did almost everyday), and I remember thinking, ‘I am never going to get tired of this!’ I had never been so content to just be with someone day after day just doing normal life together.”

For Joel, it was their shared dreams of a family. He said, “When she said she wanted to be a stay at home mom and home school the kids I knew I wanted to marry her!”

When they spent the holidays together

Brice and Anna, married 23 years

When Brice and Anna first met at a Catholic College Student Convention, they lived four hours away from each other. But they didn’t let the distance stop them from getting to know each other, and fall in love. Brice said, “We spent hours on the phone over the next few months and seemed to ‘hit it off.’ Sharing our many thoughts and dreams through those calls and a few random visits made me realize that Anna was “the one” for me.”

Anna agreed that it was during the time of getting to first know Brice that she knew she’d found the guy. She said, “Over the course of several months we spoke on the phone whenever possible and wrote each other letters almost daily. We then spent a long holiday together with both of our families and at the end of the vacation I knew that he was ‘the one’ for me.”

The first weekend they spent apart

Bill and Lori, married for 13 years

Bill says it wasn’t necessarily the days he spent with Lori that convinced him she was ‘the one,’ it was actually the days they spent without each other. “When we first started dating, we must have made our friends sick. After we both got to college that fall, we made sure we saw each other every day. Either we went out to dinner, or she stopped by my house walking home from class. Then after about three weeks, Lori went home for the weekend, and I realized how much I missed her. How much I missed talking to her or listening to her talk. She made every day brighter, and I realized that someone who could do that was pretty special.”

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Lori can point to a tragic event that brought them even closer together: “The first few weeks of our relationship were a blur of talking, laughing, and being together. Then, on September 11, 2001, I was walking on my university’s campus feeling alone and scared. I prayed for God to send me someone to be with—a friend to sit with me and watch the news unfold. I was standing at the top of a flight of stairs, holding the rail, about to cry. And on a campus of more than 20,000 people Bill happened to walk up those same stairs. He took me by the hand, and we went to watch the news together. It was the first time we held hands. I wrote in my journal that night that I knew I was going to marry him.”

Before they even met in person

Matthew and Vera, married 15 years  

Matthew and Vera met the old fashioned way—through snail mail letters. After five months of letters, e-mails and phone calls between a Kansas girl and a boy from Maine, the two finally met in the Detroit airport. For Matthew, the first in person visit was when he knew he’d found his bride. “Our writings and phone conversations had allowed me to know Vera—I knew her soul,” he says. “If I had to pick one moment when I knew—it was when she was showing me around the Walmart she worked at and she reached into my pocket and removed my wallet to go through it and see what was in it … I had only ‘met’ this girl for the first time less than 6 hours before, and yet it felt like the most natural thing in the world!”

For Vera, it was more of a combination of little things that let her know. She loved remembering how he could make her smile with his playfulness, and wow her with his seriousness. Regardless of the moment, she knew God had lined things up just right for their relationship. “I can’t say whether there was just one thing that made me know he was ‘the one’ or if it was the whole mess of things,” she says, “but I do know that before I met him, I loved him!”

Vera admits the feelings of excitement and butterflies are gone after fifteen years, but, “they have been replaced by something so much deeper and stronger. Something that will last longer than the infatuation that first draws two people together. It is the choice that we make everyday to love each other and to help each other be better even when it is less than easy!”

Before they started dating

Matt and Jenny, married 83 days

Matt knew there was something about Jenny before he even started dating her: “Before I had even asked her out I knew this was not going to be like any other relationship I had had before. It took a half a year of dating her to pop the question, and that was because I didn’t think it wise to rush. In our fifth month of dating, after a trip to New Orleans together I knew that she was the one to continue the great adventure of life together. It was then that I knew.”

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Jenny agreed, saying, “I had a pretty good feeling about Matt before we even started dating. Things just fell into place in our relationship; Not one part of me doubted that we were supposed to be together.” But she knew for sure because of how he acted at a volunteer event they went to while dating. She explains, “I work for a nonprofit serving underprivileged families. We have a number of events every year and although Matt had not missed volunteering at a single event even before we started dating, this particular one changed everything for me. At one point I glanced up and saw Matt completely surrounded by the kids. They were hanging on his every word and following him around like he was a celebrity. A large number of kids we serve don’t have a positive male figure to look up to. At that moment he not only completely won the kids over, I realized this was the man I wanted to call my husband and serve alongside the rest of my life.”

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