By Erica Giesow, Crosswalk.com
Choosing “The One” is an outrageously important decision. “The one” (or your future spouse) is not only your romantic partner in life…but also the mom or dad to your children, your life-long companion, and your partner in all things pertaining to life. The ripple effect of your decision for a spouse is much more far reaching than most people initially suppose.
The only family member we get to choose in life is our spouse.
When we choose the right spouse, our life is multiplied in the most positive way possible. And on the contrary, people who commit to spouses who are ill-matched for them have unions that seem to create compounded negativity in every area of their life. Needless to say, deciding if your current love interest really is “the one” is not something to do half-heartedly.
So, what are some things to watch out for? How do you know if they are “The One”?
Here are 9 things to consider when determining if they are “The One”…
1. Do you have fun together and are you attracted to each other?
This one should be a no-brainer. When choosing a spouse, you are choosing a friend for life, so you better really enjoy that person’s company! Do you laugh together? Have fun together? You should be energized by their presence. Also, it should be obvious, but a key part of any healthy marriage is physical intimacy, so being physically attracted to one another is not a shallow thing. There should be a healthy desire for one another.
2. Are your beliefs and fervor for God equal?
Our belief system is foundational to how we make decisions about every area of life. The Bible talks about being “equally yoked”. At the core of marriage is the concept of two becoming one, so in every good marriage there has to be union and “oneness” in what you believe about God. Also, it is not enough to say, “Yes, we both believe in God, and have received Jesus as our Savior. So, we are good”… because it is more than that. There has to be “oneness” in how you both live out your faith and to what degree you want your faith to impact your daily decisions. To be “equally yoked” in this area does not necessarily mean you have equal Biblical knowledge or equal spiritual experiences, but it does mean that you have the same core beliefs and the same fervency about those beliefs and how they affect your living.
3. Is your vision similar?
When you both talk about the future, are your dreams and goals similar? Do your career plans complement each other? Do your family plans sync? Are your attitudes about finances and lifestyle similar? (Amos 3:3)
says, “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” God will set your life in a certain direction and as you walk it out, Mr./Mrs. Right will come along going the same direction as you and at the same pace as you. (Note: it is important have to focus on becoming a “me” before a “we”. If you do not know “who you are” or “where you are going”, then it is going to be difficult to know if someone is compatible with you.)
4. Is there peace?
Deep in your heart is there peace when you consider the potential of marrying this person? And, when I say “peace”, I am not talking about some happy emotion being around this person brings you… I am talking about in your spirit (or your conscious) does it “seem good”? When you search your heart, do you have a “gut feeling” that it is not right? Or are there unanswered questions about his/her integrity or honesty that make you uneasy? … If you answered yes to one of the last two questions, then that should be a red flag that you do not overlook. (Note: it is normal to have a certain degree of hesitation or fear when thinking about the commitment of marriage. However, the lack of peace I am referring to in this point is the “bad gut feeling”, a “check in your spirit”, or a “red flag in your heart” … these are all things you do not want to ignore.
5. Are family and friends cheering on the relationship?
Loving family members and true friends want what is best for us, so it is important to take into consideration their perspective and thoughts on your relationships. If multiple family members and friends have a “bad feeling” about your relationship, then that should cause you to take a step back and consider their perspective.
6. Is the timing right?
There is a saying that says, “the ‘right guy’, at the wrong time, is the wrong guy”. There really is a lot of truth to that saying too. If the timing of a relationship is not right, then you should not push it. God is all about “in the fullness of time” moments. There will be that right one, at the right time, and it will be worth the wait!
7. Is he/she a good person?
Is your significant other a hard-worker? Selfless? Humble? Generous? Honest? Full of integrity? Eager to grow and learn? It is all of these not-so-sexy characteristics in dating that all the sudden become extremely “sexy” within the context of a marriage. It is these characteristics that become the foundation that communication and trust is built on. Don’t compromise on these critical characteristics!
8. Is he/she your biggest fan?
Early on in our marriage, I had the realization that I should be Eric’s #1 cheerleader. It was on a drive home from the mall one day in Tulsa that I sensed God speak to my heart, “If you are not praying for Eric, then who is?” I had that “Ah-ha! moment” where I realized the significant role I play in his life to not only pray for him, but also cheer him on, encourage him, and build him up verbally. If your significant other is constantly tearing you down or making sarcastic comments about your abilities – that should be a red flag. (Note: Ladies, it is important to have a boyfriend, and especially spouse, who pulls-out and encourages the gifts within you! Don’t settle for someone who will put a lid on what God has planned for your life.)
9. Have you dated long enough?
We all know stories of couples who dated for two weeks, got married, and lived happily-ever-after. In some rare cases, the short dating experience works out, but in most cases it is wise to get to know someone for at least a year before considering marriage. Within the first year of dating someone you are able to see them in lots of different contexts – you can see them with their family, with their friends, in stressful situations, in joyful situations, etc.. Usually around the one year mark the “honeymoon” stage of dating fades because you have had the opportunity to see flaws. It is best to see as many of those “flaws” before marriage as possible.
There are plenty of others things to consider when determining if they are “the one”, but these 9 thoughts are a good place to start! Hopefully these 9 thoughts give you some practical areas you can reflect on in your dating relationships. Bottom line, be encouraged, if you desire to be married, then “that one” IS out there! You keep doing your thing. Keep following God. Keep living a life full of love and passion, and when “the one” comes around you will be happy you did not settle for less!
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. Ecclesiastes 4:9 NLT
Erica Giesow empowers millennials to live well for Christ at ericanderica.org. She is also co-director of EPIC Commission College-age Discipleship Program and a pastor on staff at Valley Family Church in Kalamazoo, Mich. She is wife to Eric and mom to Ella and Eli. You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.
Publication date: January 28, 2015
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Strelciuc Dumitru