Finding the One

Recently Lisa and I celebrated our four year wedding anniversary and six years of being together.  I love pouring into relationships, especially as somebody who has gone through a divorce and seen how important strong marriages are to the church.  Thankfully for me, one of our favorite things to do as a couple is walk alongside other dating or married couples as we grow in our relationships, and it’s fun to share stories of how we got together.  Every marriage is different, and what makes it click is different.  

One of the first things I share when people ask how we knew each other was "the one", is that we came in with good expectations for our relationship.  I’m always reminded of two things Lisa told me early on: that she was looking for somebody to grow and change with and that at the end of the day, she trusts God to take care of her more than she trusts me.  While this might be offensive to some, I think these two statements have defined a lot of our marriage so far.  

One of the biggest truths in life is that we are always growing and changing, especially in relationship with others, regardless of marital status.  The person you are now is different from the person you were 5 years ago or will be 5 years from now.  When we started dating, I was an AV technician and Lisa was a missionary.  I was focused on career goals, and Lisa was trying to figure out going back to Japan.  We had such different goals and life approaches, and between then and now, we’ve switched places with me going into full time ministry and Lisa working in the secular world.   We’ve grown in our individual struggles too:  I’ve grown in my financial and emotional compassion for others and ability to plan and think ahead, and Lisa has learned to relax and balance work and personal life better.  At the end of the day, despite not being perfect people or even the same people we married, we still affirm how glad we are that each of us are the shortcomings we have chosen to spend the rest of our lives with.  

The other major truth I advocate for in relationships is we trust in God more than each other.  I think this is what putting God at the center of our relationship has meant for us.  When Lisa was in the process of moving to Seattle, we had a big debate (a long fight really) over whether or not we should be engaged before she arrived.  We spent time praying together and with others and ultimately had peace about Lisa moving without being engaged, although we hoped to get engaged within six months, assuming things kept moving forward.  This was one of our first big decisions and really set the precedent that we would bring God into our lives as we make big and small choices together.  Whether it’s about where we should live, how much we may give to various charities and missionaries, or who we should hang out with, we ask God to make it clear to us what His will for us is in each situation.

The Bible constantly refers to our relationship with God like a marriage (Isaiah 62:5, Rev 19:7-9 and many more). Advice on relationships (friendships and romantic) permeates the Bible, Old and New Testaments, like Proverbs 19:14, Ephesians 5, Hebrews 13:4 and many more.  So why are relationships so important to God?  I think that doing life in a God-centered way is how we are intended to be, as we demonstrate to the world and to our Christian brothers and sisters what life is like when we walk with God.  It’s not that we are perfect people who don’t make mistakes or have fights.  Instead, it’s because we make mistakes and have fights that our relationships, especially our marriages, should exemplify the love, grace and faithfulness we have received from God, as opposed to the bitterness and belittling we often see in the world.  

If you’re a single person reading this, I hope it encourages you to know that finding the perfect person isn’t impossible, because even once you find them, they will grow and change over time.  There will always be a core of who they are, but many of their thoughts, attitudes, sometimes even values will grow and change; so will yours!  So maybe my best advice is to find someone who is eager to grow and be changed by God.

If you’re dating or married, continue to focus on putting God at the center of your relationship.  I’d challenge you to grow deeper in your relationship by talking about what that means to each of you and how you can incorporate more of Him in your lives.  Hopefully, you’ll realize in getting closer to your one, you’ve drawn closer to The One too.

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