Sometimes I wonder if I am writing about dating for the blog JUST to air out all of my (many) pet peeves on this particular subject.
Pet peeve of the day: When you ask this question (How do you know?), and happily married people tell you, “Oh, you just KNOW!” As a single woman, this always made me laugh – I don’t just know about anything. It’s like when people make decisions based on “having a peace” about it. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – it’s just that decision making, for me, is an entirely UNpeaceful process. I hardly ever experience peace until the decision is made, and there’s no backing out. It takes me forever to decide what I want to eat at a restaurant, imagine how hard it is to make major life decisions. Add to that the fact that in college I had multiple friends “just know” they were supposed to marry someone they weren’t even dating (none of them ended up marrying the person they “just knew” about either.) So I was very skeptical of the “you just know” camp…But guess what? I just knew.
Didn’t see that one coming did you? Of course, I don’t mean that I never experienced doubt, that I wasn’t praying through our entire dating relationship, asking the Lord to confirm, to open or shut this door. And I don’t mean that I knew from the moment I met Matt that he was THE ONE – we “met” in an email, for crying out loud. But as our relationship progressed, my doubts grew less and less, and I grew in confidence that Matt was God’s best for me, that the Lord was bringing us together.
Maybe what’s bothersome to me about the “I just knew” comment is that it implies there’s one moment when it’s crystal clear that this is God’s will – I still don’t know that I agree with that. I think you KNOW that this is God’s person for you when you stand up in your church (or the location of your choice), with your dearest friends gathered around you, and your pastor says, “Do you take this man…” When you say “I DO”, then you KNOW – for better or worse, this is now God’s will for you, until death do you part.
Until then, you don’t know for sure – but you should experience growing confidence that the Lord is leading you in that direction. By the time Matt initiated a conversation moving us from email to real life relationship – I knew it was right. And when Matt initiated moving from friendship, “getting to know each other,” to dating – I knew it was right. And when he proposed, I was confident that the Lord was leading me to say YES (and cry.) And when we said “I DO”, then I knew for sure I had been right all along – this was God’s will. Looking back over our relationship, I knew it all along. Funny how that works.
BUT realizing how very unhelpful the advice “you’ll just know” is…Here are some thoughts.
- Allow your relationship to grow gradually as you seek the Lord and get to know each other better. Consciously grow a friendship with the person you’re dating.
- Think about these things: Do you enjoy the same things? Is he honest with you? Do his actions match up with his words, in your relationship, and in his relationship with God? How do you work through conflict? Are you generally both wanting the same things?
- Everyone has baggage & issues that they need to work through in life. Get to know each other’s baggage – once you get married, his baggage is your baggage (and, scarily enough, your baggage is his. Yikes.) Can you live with his faults and struggles? Are you going to be willing to forgive & extend grace and encouragement in his struggles? Are you going to be able to trust Jesus to meet all of your needs?
- In the reverse, are you willing to let this man into your faults and struggles? Do you trust him?
Like I said before, for me this was a gradual realization that this was who I was waiting for – I didn’t even think there could be anyone out there like Matt Meyer. I began to see more and more how we fit together. Every time I was with him, every conversation, I grew in attraction to him, I liked him more. There were a series of confirmations that Matt was who I thought him to be – I wanted to be careful not to be blinded by romantic delusions.
But ultimately, getting married is a step of faith. I remember thinking after I got married (to someone I’d known for 7 months, the first month of which was over email :)) and moved to Nebraska, “Wow, this could have been a total disaster.” But Matt continues to be exactly who I thought he was when we were dating, and more importantly – the Lord is EXACTLY who He says He is. Throughout dating, engagement, marriage and moving, that is where I tried to place my confidence. Bottom line: I did “know” that Matt was the one for me, but Jesus is the only SURE THING.