Have you dated for a while? Do you meet lots of ‘nice guys’, maybe even date a lot of ‘nice guys’, only to be disappointed in yet another failed relationship ? Do you ask your friends, your mom, your mom’s friends, anyone who is married, how they met their husband and how they knew he was “The One”? Have you heard the response ‘you just know’ and left the conversation frustrated? Before meeting my husband, I dated some really nice guys, but the relationships didn’t seem to work out in the end. There was always something not quite right, and the relationship advice I was receiving didn’t help.
In my last article, I wrote about the struggle I had in relationships. While the majority of the guys I dated were very nice and sweet (save one), there was always something troubling: maybe he had trouble holding down a consistent job, maybe he had trouble with commitment, maybe he would rather spend his time with his guy friends than his girlfriend. Since we had already engaged in premarital sex, leaving the relationship each time was difficult. I wanted them to work out so bad, so I waited to see if he would settle down and find a steady job or finally be ready to make a commitment or outgrow his bromances, but those things simply didn’t happen. After spending a couple of years in each relationship, we would finally break up and move on only to “hook up” again later. I was desperate to get married and I saw people around me finding love and didn’t understand why it wasn’t happening to me.
Then, after one really bad relationship, I finally stopped and listened to God. In his Word, I read, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. The question for me was ‘Do I really believe that God works all things to the good for me?’ I was out there trying to make something happen that clearly wasn’t of God and wasn’t in His time. So, I stopped. And I rested in this verse. I rested knowing that if God said ‘No’ to marriage for me, I would rather take His ‘No’ than try to make it work out on my own, because nothing good could come of a marriage apart from Him. It was at this same time that I was struggling to find enjoyment in my job. I was burnt out and ready for something new.
And that was when my whole life changed. Because I was single, the sky was the limit. By God’s grace, I was able to pay off all my debts when I sold my house. So at thirty-two, I quit my job, sold my house and sold my car. And I think that’s how I should have been viewing single life the whole time: an opportunity to do anything. I had lived so long in the box of the world: graduate high school, go to college, graduate college, start your career, buy a car, buy a house, get married. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with any or all of those choices if you are making them with God. But those decisions had all been mine. I wasn’t thinking about what God wanted. I found that truth “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Eph 3:17b-19 (my emphasis added). Here is my testimony to you: I have tested Him and He has done exceedingly more than all I could ask or imagine. God’s words in Song of Songs 2:7 “…Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” are there for your good. Waiting to have sex is not impossible and you make better decisions when you are not involved on that level in the relationship until you have made a marital commitment. Being single is an awesome opportunity and not a time of desperation no matter how old we are. Yes, I still longed to be married, but only if it was to the right person.
So, who is the “right person”? You know who the “right person” is when you become the “right person”. What does that mean? It means you follow hard after God in obedience, seek His will for your life and love others more than yourself. When your quest to be married becomes more about being the best Christian you can be, so you can be the best husband or wife you can be to your future spouse, then you are on the right path. When you are willing to put off the pleasure of sex before marriage for the patient waiting required because you want to be able to tell your spouse on your wedding day ‘I waited for you’. What a gift! Who wouldn’t want to hear that on their wedding day? When you don’t look at a prospective partner and think about all the things they need to change before you get married or what you will ‘help’ them change once you are married, you’re moving in the right direction. When you look at marriage as a forever commitment, you are on the right path.
After selling off everything I owned, I found a job in Japan. Finding that job had God’s hand all over it. The interview went smooth, the relocation went smooth, and the job was perfect for me at that time in my life. God opened the door wide and I walked through it. I was in Japan for nine months and continued to feel the desire to be married, and decided to try online dating where I ended up meeting my husband. It was truly the best scenario for me. We could converse online, but he was in the U.S. and I was in Japan and not planning to return until Christmas, which allowed us to really get to know each other through emails and protected us from crossing the line physically. The dating site we used matched us based on specific criteria, including: going to church, denomination, etc. In previous relationships, these questions weren’t always addressed right away. When you meet face to face, you don’t want to start asking heavy questions in the beginning, but delaying those important questions can cause issues later. It was good to know the answers to those important questions at the outset of the relationship. Without the cloud of confusion that comes from being swept up in the physical attraction, it was easier to focus on important issues. It helped that I had been praying for nine months for God to open the door only if it was His will and to make the choice obvious. He answered that prayer. It was the first time in a dating relationship I felt like I was dating a mature man, who knew his direction in life and was pursuing it. It was then that I understood what people meant when they said, “You just know.” And I realized I had never felt that much at peace in a relationship in the past, because I was leaving the whole thing up to God and was at peace if it didn’t work out for us to move forward. It wasn’t as if we were perfect people. We were far from it and we still had things to work on once we were married, but we were perfect for each other. I love him more today than I did when we married and that is because he and I both choose to love God the most. So when days get tough, the commitment is to the promise we made before God even if we are frustrated with each other.
The first time we met I was so incredibly nervous. What if I wasn’t physically attracted to him? What if he wasn’t physically attracted to me? But after spending all that time getting to know each other through emails and, later, through phone calls, it was like meeting a good friend. My husband is funny and loves to talk and my nerves melted away quickly, and I knew I wanted to get to know him more. The feeling was mutual. It was difficult waiting to have sex until we were married, but it definitely moved the process along. We were both interested in marriage, but we took the time to get to know each other and ask important questions. We knew marriage was on the table, but we were both okay if it did not work out for us. It was ‘the peace that surpasses all understanding’ that was in the knowing. You ‘just know’ when you have His complete peace about the decision.