Ah, pregnancy: the ups and downs, the bursts of energy followed by swells of fatigue, the occasional crying spells that make absolutely no sense ... My first pregnancy was a breeze, but I’m finding the second time around to be more challenging--and who gets to experience the rages of these hormone storms with me?
My poor husband!
About a week ago, we’d both had enough. After days of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted for no apparent reason, I let Josh take me in his arms and he prayed over me. And you know what?
The fatigue went away.
The crying stopped.
The world twinkled brighter.
While I know it was God’s mercy that granted me relief, it was my husband who had my back, who made the choice long ago to love me in moodiness and in health. It was my husband who knew what I needed most--no, not a batch of fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies or an online shopping spree (though those both might have helped!)--but the strength of his loving prayers.
August 4th will be our 13th anniversary, and let me just say: I am so thankful. I am so blessed. I love this man so much. I’ve found “the one;” I’ve “found him whom my soul loves” (Song of Solomon 3:4)!
With my anniversary coming up, and with friends of mine searching for their own specials “ones,” I’ve given this topic a lot of thought lately:
How, when it comes to perhaps the single-most-important decision of your life outside of living for God, do you know if the guy you’re dating is “the one”?
- First, only you and God can truly determine if a guy's "the one."
God has given you a pastor, parents, mentors, and godly friends to advise you in your relationships. LISTEN to godly counsel and advice. But in the end, this is your decision to make. The choice you make should keep the integrity of your relationship with God fully intact.
Any unease about a relationship means he's a no-go. If the thought of marrying this person leaves you feeling unsettled, if it doesn’t give you peace, if it feels like a barrier has been erected between you and God ... then he is NOT the one. RUN.
- Second, choose someone based on the wellness of his spirit, NOT on his looks, career, prestige, or image.
This should be obvious, but many marriages are rushed into with little more reason than “He’s SO handsome,” or “His family has money,” or "I'm tired of being single," or “If I could marry this guy, I’d be in a much better situation than I am at home right now.”
Don’t settle for a guy as a way to get out of a bad homelife or because you’re afraid you’ll never find someone else. Marriages made for these reasons almost always turn out less than ideal.
Remember that situations, looks, careers, and image ALL change over the years.
A man’s great career means nothing when your heart is tearing to shreds after a miscarriage.
A handsome face is meaningless when loneliness is gnawing at your insides.
Image and prestige are pointless when you’re facing a cancer diagnosis.
Money, image, looks, and charisma will never equate to having a good husband or great marriage. What does matter is that a man knows God and is sensitive to His Spirit.
You need someone who listens to your heart carefully rather than criticizing you for your feelings or invalidating your thoughts. A Spirit-led man will know when a situation calls for prayer--and when it calls for holding you in his arms.
- Seek out what the Word says about godly husbands.
In her book What Are You Waiting For? Dannah Gresh brings out some beautiful points about the Bible's standard of a godly husband.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a]28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. -- Ephesians 5:25-30
Marriage is a picture of Christ’s relationship with the church, that’s why it’s an institution so deeply cherished in the eyes of God.
That’s also why God instructs husbands to treat their wives with the same deep, unrelenting love that Christ loves the church:
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her."
Is that sweet guy sending you the heart-eyed emojis “the one”? Then he’ll give himself up for you.
So what does that look like in real-time?
It means he’s the one letting girls go first in the coffee line at get-togethers.
He’s the guy that sees you struggling with your bags and offers to help.
This guy is in tune with your needs; he’s not absorbed with himself. He’s practicing giving himself up in small ways now, setting a great precedent for after you get married.
If you’re not quite ready to date, and you’ve told this guy that, he’ll back off. He may pursue friendship; he may enjoy your company, but he does NOT pressure you into a relationship. He’s okay that you just want to hang out in groups.
And if he’s really smart, while he waits for you, he’ll be praying about the relationship, treating it with patience and respect.
BTW: If you try to slow things down and a guy calls or texts or leaves dozens of voicemails–-if he can’t take no for an answer--he’s not giving himself up for you.
He hasn’t developed the maturity to put your best interests first, and he definitely hasn’t learned how to give this relationship to God. Let him go.
“It is the rare relationship that is entrusted to God and born out of self-restraint, the giving up of emotions, drives, and passions. But those are the ones where the passion seems to run most deeply when the time is ripe.”
-- from What Are You Waiting For? by Dannah Gresh
"Having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word . . ."
Is this guy “the one?” He’ll wash your life with Scripture!
That means your relationship won’t be all about the physical; it’ll be more than just romantic words, candlelit dinners, and “I can’t stop thinking about yous.”
If he’s the one, he’ll be able to discuss Scripture with you. He’ll initiate conversations about how he wants to grow in God.
This doesn’t mean he’ll be a deep theologian or that he’s reached the pinnacle of spiritual maturity; it just means he’ll have a prayer life and read the Bible-–and that will show through in his actions and his conversations with you. (And these conversations about God will be organic and authentic; they won’t be staged or contrived.)
Though he’ll understand that as a man he should lead his family spiritually, he’ll also realize that the God-given authority he’ll have to care for his future family is NOT about being in control: he’ll know that a healthy marriage is not a dictatorship, but a partnership.
"So that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish."
Again, marriage is indispensable to the plan of God.
Marriage is a HUGE deal. God created it as a permanent, forever-binding covenant that’s supposed to mirror His relationship with the church. Jesus is the Groom, and we as the church are His Bride, looking forward to soon celebrating the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in an eternal union of love and joy.
Marriage is a big deal because it is spiritual.
When marriage is abused, broken, perverted, or minimalized, that picture it’s supposed to portray of Christ’s covenant with the church is vandalized and distorted.
The Bible indicates it’s your future husband’s beautiful responsibility to mirror Christ’s love for the church by being able to present you to God as pure and spot-free--just as Christ presents us, the church.
What does this mean? The guy who is “the one” will not ask you or tempt you to compromise your purity. If he’s “the one,” he’ll crucify his flesh to protect your purity.
He will not put you in situations that make temptation hard to resist. He will not seek out opportunities for compromising scenarios. He WILL do his best to make sure your purity, reputation, and walk with God stay intact.
If he’s the one, he’ll PROTECT your purity: he won’t want to take it away from you.
"He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church."
If he’s the one, he’ll nourish and cherish you; he’ll “feed and care for” you.
This means he’ll take jobs, school, and finances seriously. He may not always love his jobs; he may not always do great in school. But he’ll understand it’s important that he take responsibility in these areas, especially in light of what they mean in nurturing his future family.
He’ll be motivated to be able to provide for you. He’ll dream of taking care of you. He'll be a man you'll never have a hard time respecting.
This doesn’t mean that when you get married you shouldn’t work or that you can’t have dreams and hopes regarding your career; nor does it mean you can’t end up being the primary breadwinner in your home.
It just means that your future husband should be prepared and willing to take the lead in ensuring provision for the home.
This is one of his God-given responsibilities. The Bible says that he who doesn’t provide for his family is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8)!
- If he’s “the one,” he’ll share your faith and be able to lead spiritually.
I once had a Bible college professor advise us girls: “If you’re spiritually stronger than your boyfriend is, dump him right now!”
As your spiritual head, this man should be able to guide you and your future family in spiritual wholeness, wellness, and maturity. He should take this responsibility seriously and understand he is to nurture and protect you, not lord over or try to control you (1 Corinthians 11:3).
Wow! This article is twice as long as most we post, but I wanted to cover the topic well because it’s so important. My heart aches for all those sisters I see settling for less than God’s best, and as a result, living a mediocre life stuck in a bland marriage.
But now you may be thinking: If I wait for a guy that’s all of these things, will I be waiting till I’m 105!? What if I miss out for being too picky?
There are some things not worth being picky over: eye color, body type, ethnicity, social status, wallet size . . . But let me reassure you: God HONORS decisions made based on His Word and on godly wisdom. He will not let you miss out on His best because you tried to honor Him in your husband-choosing.
Also, realize that if a guy doesn’t meet the criteria above, that doesn’t mean that he’ll NEVER be husband material.
Maybe he won’t . . . But maybe someday he will.
It’s possible that God’s still working on him, that God’s still maturing him, so that someday he CAN be a godly husband. Pray for him. Pray like crazy for your future husband.
And in the meantime, don’t distract him from God’s maturing process in his life by overriding what the Spirit is guiding YOU to do. Don’t be the one to get in the way of a man's spiritual growth. In the end, you’ll both be better off seeking first the heart of God.
And one last note:
Many people get married and at some point start having problems. Maybe selfishness kicks in. Maybe one spouse begins to regret that the other isn’t very spiritual. Maybe the couple put more work into the wedding day than the marriage, and now their love is flickering out. Maybe they got married for the wrong reasons.
Sometimes when these things happen, the enemy tells couples it wasn’t God’s will for them to get married (which may or may not be true), and they start looking for excuses to get out of their marriage covenant.
Satan may tell them, “Your dating relationship wasn’t pure, so this marriage should never have happened.” Or, “Your spouse isn’t as spiritual as So-and-so’s spouse is; you could be with someone better.”
Here’s the truth: If you’re married, it IS God’s will for you to be married to that person. The Bible says that God Himself has joined you together (Mark 10:2-9). DON’T let the devil convince you to pile mistake on top of mistake by trying to get out of your marriage.
As a quick disclaimer, I realize that in our world there are seriously legitimate issues that cause marriages to dissolve, such as horrible abuse and infidelity, but as a whole, please remember: God is in the business of redemption. He loves nothing more than turning the ashes of our mistakes into beauty when we admit our faults and turn to Him in repentance.
Broken marriages aren’t the key to happiness; submission to and relationship with God is. And when someone truly draws closer to God, He draws them closer to their spouse.
Marriage is a covenant, and covenants, by definition, cannot be broken.
If you’re already married, invest everything you can into your marriage. But for those who aren’t, save yourself loads of pain and heartache by prayerfully considering what really makes a guy “the one.”
P.S. You’ve heard this before, but it’s worth remembering: You cannot expect more from a guy--more consecration, more integrity, more character--than what you expect from yourself.
Don’t just wait around for God to bring that special guy into your life; work on being the woman of God He created YOU to be.
Work on establishing a rock-solid, committed relationship with Jesus above all else.
Work on becoming the type of woman a good man will want to marry, the kind of woman you hope your own future son will one day marry.
Commit your ways to God; learn to trust in Him, and then be amazed by what He does to give you a future and a hope.