Some time ago a young woman I am close to asked me that haunting question,
“How do I know he’s the one?”
She’d thought the decision to get married should have been easier or at least clearer. Here she was, after months and months of dating a really great guy, still unsure, still not knowing if he was the one.
Why didn’t she know?
Did that not knowing constitute an answer in itself?
Shouldn’t she know by now?
On and on the confusion spilled out in a frustrating and peace eluding expression of angst.
My young friend wanted to know and the not knowing had left her paralyzed, uptight, and anxious.
It strikes me that those of us who live and move in the midst of our ultra-romantic, destiny driven church culture have some really crazy ideas about marriage.
We’ve got Prince Charming standing in for this elusively named The One and we expect him to come charging into our lives on his white steed.
Crazy as it sounds, rather than feeling kidnapped, we’re supposed to miraculously know he’s HIM!
No wonder the world thinks we’re nuts- maybe we are!
A century or so ago, a wise Amish woman came up with a simple saying to help people who want to know.
Choose your love
Love your choice.
And that, my dear friends, is reality. We get to choose. As in, make a decision.
And as with every well-made decision, we need to ask ourselves questions—lots and lots of questions. The kinds of questions that make us think and utilize that often-neglected left side of the brain God gave us.
A little less romanticizing and a lot more reasoning.
And so I went about writing down some questions for my friend. Questions meant to probe her heart and her mind.
Questions to help choose her love so that she could spend the rest of her life loving her choice.
If you’re contemplating that How do I know? Question right now, why don’t you peruse these questions? There is no such thing as two perfectly suited people, but there is such thing as two really mismatched people. These questions are designed to make you think, to force you into honesty, and to help you choose well.
From my heart,
These questions to ask yourself- not some sort of interview form. They are meant to probe your heart and gauge the potential for oneness in every area of your lives. And because I believe that oneness is God’s goal for marriage, these questions are intended to help you discern how easy or how difficult that might be for you and ****.
Oneness is never easy. And conflict is inevitable, no matter how hard we work to avoid it.
If the conflict is not harmful to your soul, and if both of you are softened by it, then the conflict can actually be good.
If the areas of conflict require too great of changes in your personalities and goals and in the vision you each have for your lives, then it ruins that trust-filled haven your lives together must be in order for you each to flourish.
And yet two people can be vastly different in their personalities and approaches and yet “just click” in such a way that it is as if two broken pieces come together to make a whole.
That is what a great marriage looks like— two distinctly different people fitting together to become one.
But because marriage is about more than logic, first I think you need to ask your heart a few questions…
- Are you flat out head-over-heals, can’t live without him in love with him? As in… the rest of your life no-matter-what?
- Are you at home with him? At rest? Able to show your whole self without shame? Confident? Real?
- Do you trust him? To cover for you, to be faithful to you, to be transparently honest with you, to hide nothing from you?
- Are you “more yourself” with him in his presence or do you shut down certain parts of you?
- Do you flourish with him?
If you’re still on board, here are some real life areas where people rub up against each other on a daily basis. Use this as more of an over all check list than a test to gauge that impossible ideal of perfection.
- Does he have some sort of vision for his life? If not, is he on the way to discovering that vision by actively seeking God and asking people and looking at his strengths and passions?
- Can you embrace that vision? Pouring all of who you are into it?
- Can you see yourself as a help to him? Can he?
- How much involvement will he want of you in his career/calling?
- Are you okay with that? Excited?
- Would you be willing to lay aside your own ambitions to help him succeed?
- Would he respect and value your part in God’s plan for his future?
- Do you track with his insights?
- Does he understand yours?
- Do you love to pray with him?
- Does he bring out the best in you spiritually?
- Encourage you?
- Remind you of the Truth and right thinking?
- Does he know more about doctrine (Truth) and theology (who God is and how He works) than you do?
- If not, is he learning so ferociously that he will soon by-pass you in knowledge?
- Does he take from his storehouse of Scriptural truth and apply it to problems, concerns, and purposes?
- Are his goals Scripturally based?
- Are you excited at the prospect of throwing yourself behind his goals and helping him with all your intelligence and creativity and gifts?
- Does he respect your viewpoint? Welcome your input? Listen to you?
- Will you have a common goal? What is it?
- What are his financial aims? Is he taking steps now to achieve those aims?
- Do you trust him to lead in the financial/budget area?
- Do you trust him to put you and your children’s financial well-being above his own personal needs? To lay down his life for you?
- Do you trust him to do whatever it takes to provide for you so that you can pour every effort into caring for your family while your children need you at home?
- Or will he view you as necessary to produce income for your family? Are you okay with that?
- Does he see his paycheck as both of yours? Making all financial decisions together no matter what?
- Would he abstain from making a financial decision without your support?
- Does he see himself as a steward of all that God provides?
- Can the two of you blend your ideas of an ideal standard of living?
- What does he do when he gets upset? When he’s under intense pressure? When he’s tired?
- How does he handle defeat? Discouragement? Obstacles? Disappointments?
- Can you live with those responses without being hurt/rejected/defensive or brought low by them?
- Can you live with his flaws without trying to change him?
- Can you allow him to be fully himself?
- Can he live with who you really are? Or does he pressure you to be more______ or less ______?
- Does your way of expressing yourself delight him or does he try to shut you down?
- Does he humble himself and apologize?
- Does he freely forgive you when you apologize?
- Is he transparent with you?
- Does he admit need?
- Does he allow you to carefully and respectfully correct him?
- Does he correct you with gentleness?
- Are you proud of him?
- In social settings do you feel the need to prompt him, lead him, explain him?
- Do you relax in similar ways?
- Can you allow each other to be different?
- Do you enjoy the way he celebrates the highs? Can you enter into his joy?
- Can he enter into your joys?
- Can you solve problems together in a satisfying way?
- Can you make decisions together in a satisfying way?
- Are you attracted to him? Do you find him appealing?
- Are you drawn to the way he is made-the way he smells, the way he looks, the way he expresses affection?
- Could you give your body freely to him?
- Could you delight in him? Could he delight in you?
- Is there anything about him that repels you?
- Is he affectionate enough for you? (I’m not talking about passion here, but that day-to-day affection most women crave)
- Do you feel free and confident in his view of your beauty?
- Could you grow old with this man and still find him compellingly attractive?
- Could you grow old with this man and still feel absolutely lovely?
- Does he share or at least encourage your kind of learning?
- Will he continue to educate himself? To learn and grow?
- Does he look forward to having children?
- Do you share common goals for what you want to see happen in your children’s lives?
- Does he have a burning conviction to raise his sons and daughters to love God with passion?
- Do you have similar ideas about discipline?