Somebody posed an interesting question recently: “We’ve talked so much already; he’s so funny and sweet and he loves Jesus and he’s handsome and — and we haven’t gone out just yet, but I just don’t know how to pray about this other than to ask God to show me if he’s my husband. What do I do?”
The Bible paints such a beautiful picture of marriage that it’s only natural we should desire it. The companionship, the intimacy, the partner to run our races with . . . a co-builder with whom to build upon our foundation, Jesus.
But wondering if he’s your husband before the first date (or before the first three to six months of dating) is like trying to move from A to M without hitting B through L on the way. I know, because I myself have asked that question too soon. So this sweet young woman’s question made me smile, and I answered her in the best way I knew how.
“Ask the Lord for discernment about this man’s character. Ask the Lord for wisdom in decision-making, purity in your heart, and safety. Seek first the kingdom of God. (That doesn’t mean don’t date! It just means prioritizing righteousness in a season that’s full of temptation.) As you walk from A to B to C and so forth, ask the Lord to give you ongoing wisdom about whether to continue pursuing the relationship. Watch for red flags; pay attention to how you feel as things progress.”
Then I told her a story about a man I met who seemed (and is!) really great. My interest was piqued, but I kept my emotions in check. I asked the Lord to bring us together if we would serve Him better together than apart, and to drive us apart if we wouldn’t serve Him well together. Very shortly thereafter, I found out that his vision for life was both God-honoring and completely different from my own. (I’m not sure if that’s a fool-proof prayer, but for me, it relieved the pressure of wondering whether this person was “the one” and simply allowed me to seek direction on whether or not this person and I should hit the letter B together.)
And while I could, and sometimes do, cry over the fact that so many of my amazing* single girl friends aren’t being pursued by the men in their social circles, I’ve been given some truly incredible gifts during this season that have eased some of the disappointment. I want to share these gifts with anyone who needs them, because they’re applicable to most — if not all — seasons of life.
One of those gifts is that this seasons allows for availability to others that I just won’t have in marriage. I have extra time to pour into people . . . people who aren’t projects, but who are incredibly worth investing into.
Another gift I have, for now at least, is touch of extra credibility with my single friends. Being in the same season of life as the people you want to minister to can be helpful.
A third gift — the best gift — a gift I hope to reopen over and over and over — is that I’m coming to an understanding of what Jesus meant when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He’s not just the way to good, earthly things (like marriage). He doesn’t just tell us the truth about who we should be as people (or what we should look for in spouses). Jesus is the way to the Father, the ultimate standard of truth for everything . . . and the life. He is, above all, the abundant and everlasting life I crave.
I’m not where I want to be yet. I haven’t completed the education I’m working towards or found my dream job or learned to manage my time and money perfectly. I have not by any means perfected my character. But this season of my life has been full of gifts . . . favor, friendships, shared memories, cat hair, character development, promotions, opportunities, and so much more. And beyond that, I have been given everything in the person of Jesus. And no matter what He calls me to, He is enough.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. — 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)
*Disclaimer: When I call these women amazing, I only mean that they’re intelligent, funny, talented, godly, kind, compassionate, generous, beautiful women of vision. That’s all. #nbd