“God told me we’re supposed to be married.”
If God allegedly tells one person a marriage is in store, but never confirms with the other person, 10 times out of 10 it is actually a human-orchestration. God can and will speak directly to each of us. In relationships, we can’t take someone else’s word as the final answer. It may not be the other person’s intent to manipulate. They just want to be in a relationship so desperately and pray and pray and pray. Maybe they didn’t hear an answer and assumed since it wasn’t a “no” it might work. Or, they could really dream up a sweet little convincing tale like one of my friends did for me.
“I have to tell you something,” the opening line from my guy friend’s mouth. We spent a lot of time hanging out in a big group of friends. One night before basketball, he was teaching me to drive manual. He took the opportunity to mention his dream from the night prior. As it turns out, we were telling people in this dream that we were going to be married. Yes, it was weird to hear this, especially since I was trying to figure out which gear I was in and how to let off the clutch, and where was reverse-for both the truck AND the conversation?! It was too warm and tight in that truck. I couldn’t escape. My hands were slipping on the wheel, my throat was closing. This was panic! I wish I could say it ended there and my panic was for nothing. Unfortunately, true stories never end that gracefully. His next line, “So I actually started praying about us getting married. I figured that dream meant something.” Before we had met up he had been at the church… praying about us… getting married. Now, remember, I’m stuck in the driver’s seat maneuvering this foreign feeling vehicle. If I was in the passenger’s seat, I think I would have been clambering out the window at this point. He did not read my discomfort and belted on, trying to get his main point across as quickly as his nerves would allow. “I was sitting there, in the dark. Everyone had gone home. I prayed God would give me a sign if we were supposed to get married. Just then, the cross lit up like a Christmas tree! I checked! No one else was there. So, I knew it was God.” He didn’t know when, but he was positive we were going to be married. The only thing I could muster through my shocked mouth was something about my age, being too young to even consider the “M” word. My tendency in past years was to say the right thing to make people feel good. Even in a case where I may have been mortified, I would say something like, “That is interesting. I’ll pray about it.” Instead of the words from my heart: “ARE YOU SERIOUS!? WHAT POSSESSED YOU TO SAY THAT OUT LOUD? FRIENDSHIP …DISINTEGRATING…FAST!” We were going in different directions in life, at an entirely different pace. I was 15 years old, far too young, with far too many dreams and goals to start a committed relationship. He was a little older and looking for something serious. There were many things that couldn’t line up in that relationship. So on we moved, in different directions with a few good memories to reminisce.
Just because someone shares their interest in us or even asks for a serious consideration of marriage, it does not mean we have to settle for the first offer that surfaces. There is always a choice. Even if we get older or lonely for a companion, a wrong relationship will never be as enlivening as pure singlehood. We look for God’s ultimate plan, whether it is two years of single living, ten years; or for some, a blissful eternity. Relationships are wonderful, when God is at the center of them. If we do get married, or even go out with someone, we should be crazy about the guy’s personality, hobbies, goals, and looks. We should be supporters of his dreams, while not compromising our own. We should be at the same pace with him so that one is not carrying or hindering the other. And by that I mean spiritually pursuing a similar direction in life. If he is a local doctor called to a small community in Florida and she is a world traveler called to the mission field in Africa, chances are they’re not going in the same direction. The pace is also determined by spiritual depth. If one is a generous, compassionate pastor, serving the Lord with everything he has and the other has an interest in material wealth and frequent cruise ship endeavors, I might wonder if God is coordinating their relationship. A healthy and holy relationship is so rooted in Christ that every expression draws a couple closer to the Savior. It is not unrealistic to wait for someone who fits this description. God has the ultimate destination and the ultimate spouse out there for each of us. After all, He is the Creator of Love. His stories are not fictitious, unrealistic, or pretentious. His ending is always just right for everyone. But we get anxious for stand-ins and counterfeits, take detours and snuggle up to settlement.
We should never settle. When we follow God’s leading in a relationship, all the fights, all the romance, and all the challenges are worth it. If we know we are making the right choice before we jump in with both feet, five years later when the bumps appear or the climb gets steep, we won’t look back at the beginning and wonder, “Was it God or my emotions directing this?” The right relationship is always worth the wait.