Have you ever been told that you need to wait for ‘the one’ or that your soulmate is out there, but you just need to find them?
Well, I hate to break it to you friends, but the elusive ‘the one’ does. not. exist. Now, before you tune out and click out of this post, let me explain to you why ‘the one’ doesn’t exist, why that’s actually a good thing and what 3 things you really should be looking for in a marriage partner.
First off, the issue I ran into because of the ambiguity and vagueness, and maybe it’s an issue you’re having as well, is how do you know when you’ve found ‘the one’? You know, the person you’re supposed to supposed marry and spend the rest of your life with. Is there some sort of checklist to follow or book to read to make sure you’re ready and aware for when you meet them.
Well, I did have a Future Husband Checklist, and guess what? Even with it, I still didn’t know if I was supposed to marry Zach.
Growing up, I had a Future Husband Checklist which was basically a mental checklist of every attribute and quality I wanted in a future husband. It was incredibly detailed ranging from ‘he has to love Jesus’ all the way to ‘he has to like to workout’ and ‘will hopefully have a beard’. And no, I’m not kidding.
It was well thought out and what I desired in a husband never wavered. All through middle school, high school, and most of college I referred back to this mental checklist every time I would meet a new guy with the possibility of dating. And as wonderful as many of these men were, they did not quite tick all the boxes on my list so I would shrug my shoulders and move on. This lead to me not ever having a relationship and learning to love my singleness. I knew what I wanted in a husband, so if I wasn’t going to find those qualities, I was happy to remain single.
So, I’m sure you can imagine my shock and surprise (as well as my parents) when I met Zach and we started dating. This was big news for me — a man had clearly and finally met all of my future husband characteristics!
Fast forward a few months into Zach and I dating, the topic of marriage was brought up and Zach told me that he had intentions to marry me one day. Now, I knew I was dating Zach because he had met all of my future husband requirements but when he brought up marriage, reality hit me and I got scared. Marriage?! As in this life-long, binding commitment to one person forever?! Since I had a Future Husband Checklist and Zach had checked all the boxes, one would think that I knew he was the one I was supposed to marry and that clearly God had called us together. But no.
When Zach told me he wanted to marry me one day, all confidence and peace in our relationship leapt out the window and I was suddenly left feeling insecure and unsure in our relationship and my future. Now, it wasn’t Zach or anything he had done, but rather my sudden fear that Zach and I weren’t meant to spend our lives together because how did I know if I should marry him? How can a person know who they’re supposed to marry? And if they’re ‘the one’?
And maybe that’s something you’re asking yourself. Well, spoiler alert my friends, there is no such thing as ‘the one’.
I don’t know about you, but I was taught to wait on the right man that God would place into my life and that I should never settle. And that’s an amazing outlook, but for me it resulted in me becoming paralyzed and unreceptive to the possibility that God had now given me a man to marry. I was so set on waiting for the ‘right guy’ and afraid of marrying the ‘wrong guy’, that I never dated anyone and was now worried that Zach was ‘the wrong guy’. I was so intent on waiting for ‘the one’, that I wasn’t sure how I would know when I had found him and if Zach were him.
In my fears and uncertainties, I reached out to Zach and let him know what I was thinking and how I was feeling. I startled rattling off to him (aka. word vomiting) every worry and question I had about marriage and the concept of marriage. Question after question, he patiently listened and answered with either Biblical truth or from his heart.
I genuinely wish I could remember all of his answers, because they gave me such confidence and peace — after all, we are married now. But the one question and concern I kept returning to over and over that weighed on me the most was: how do I know that you’re ‘the one’? You know, the ‘one’. The ‘one’ we’re taught to pray for and ‘the one’ we’re told wait for and ‘the one’ to never settle for anything but. And that’s when he responded with a surprising and shocking statement:
“Nicole, there is no ‘the one’, they don’t exist. And I don’t believe you’re the only one out there for me.”
Woah — and if he hadn’t said it such gently and lovingly, I would have been hurt. But he said it in such a way that I was yes, taken aback, but even more so I was curious about what he meant by that.
Zach went on to explain that he doesn’t believe in soulmates or that there is only one person for every person in the world. There are billions of humans, so to believe that only one person out of those billions is the person you are to marry is far fetched. When Zach put it that way, it made sense. He was right.
Yes, we met in South Carolina, but if I had been living in Australia, isn’t it very possible I could have met a really wonderful man there that I could marry? It is possible that another man in this world exists that would check all the boxes on my Future Husband Checklist, but it just so happens that is not who God introduced me to. He decided to introduce me to Zach.
God never promises you’ll find your soulmate or other half, in fact He never promises marriage at all. I could have stayed single and not dated Zach, but that doesn’t mean I would have missed my opportunity for marriage altogether. Ya’ll, we aren’t so powerful that we can change God’s plans. If God desires for you to be married, you will be. If He doesn’t desire that for you, that’s wonderful, too! So many single God-fearing men and women have left a lasting impact on this world.
In addition, if I were to one day meet another guy who checked off all the boxes on my Future Husband Checklist, that wouldn’t suddenly mean that I married the ‘wrong guy’ and that Zach was suddenly the ‘wrong choice’. It just means that there happens to be another guy in this world who I could have married, but that is not how God orchestrated it. God introduced me to Zach first.
Zach continued to explain to me that we’ll never truly know if the other person is exactly the perfect person, but that they don’t have to be.
And that’s the wonderful truth in knowing that ‘the one’ doesn’t exist. Every person is flawed and sinful and carrying all sorts of baggage. They are going to let you down and hurt you. They will one day say something or do something you don’t like. And that is why we need Jesus. He is the only one who will fill us to the point of overflowing and meet every need and expectation we have.
Instead of looking to an earthly relationship to fill all of your desires and longings, you are forced to look to God as your all and all. Your relationship will completely crumble if you expect your spouse to fulfill all of your desires and longings and expectations that only Jesus can. That is a load your spouse can not bear and isn’t meant to bear.
So, when you realize that your spouse doesn’t ‘complete’ you or isn’t you other half, it leaves your relationship more open-handed for God’s purposes and your own sense of peace and security. Suddenly, the pressure to find the perfect spouse is diminished.
By this point, you might be asking yourself, so if there is no such thing as ‘the one’, how am I supposed to know who I am to marry? Well, I asked Zach the exact same thing and he responded with three basic concepts he looks for in a wife. THREE. That’s it. However, they are so simple and yet so profound.
There are three basic concepts in looking for a spouse:
1.Are they a follower of Jesus?
2. Are your lives going in the same general direction?
3. Do you enjoy being with them?
That was the sum total of Zach’s Future Wife Checklist. But the funny thing was, they cover every aspect of a relationship that you would need to know before committing to someone.
Firstly, are they follower of Jesus?
If God desires for you to be married, He calls for you to be equally yoked with another believer (aka. same spiritual maturity). And if a person is a follower of Jesus, they are being sanctified, transformed, and renewed day by day, so they are likely a kind, gentle, patient, and compassionate individual. Yes, everyone sins and no one is perfect, but you can be assured that if they love Jesus with their whole heart, mind, soul, and strength than they will love you well, too.
Secondly, are your lives going in the same general direction?
Zach dated a girl before me who ended up moving to China to be a missionary. Zach had no desire to be a missionary or live in China, so despite the fact that she loved God and they enjoyed their time together, the relationship was ended because their lives weren’t going in the same direction. This second point is quite literal and simple. If you and the person you are dating have two very different life goals and dreams, than it’s likely that pursuing marriage isn’t a wise idea.
Lastly, do you enjoy being with that person?
Do they encourage you and build you up? Do you feel loved and respected by them? Do you laugh together? Do you like some of the same things? Basically, could you envision yourself spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (even though not literally) with this person or does the thought of that make you cringe?
These three questions are the only three concepts that Zach used to gauge his decision in wanting to marry me. It seems so basic, but in light of knowing that Zach is not my savior and isn’t meant to fulfill all of my desires and longings, moving forward into marriage suddenly became simpler.
Yes, marriage is a life-long commitment and covenant, but it doesn’t have to be so complicated to the point of paralysis. On the flip side, don’t move forward into marriage without knowing what you want in a spouse and whether or not your lives are moving in the same direction.
Marriage is a beautiful picture of Christ and the church, of leadership and submission, of sacrifice and service. It is a decision that should be taken seriously, but don’t let your mental checklists overpower God’s convictions and voice, because I promise you, His plan is far better than anything you can imagine.