As a little girl, I was always obsessed with love stories. My heart fluttered at every wedding I attended… each time I watched a favorite animated character find her Prince Charming. I just thrived on it.
At least once a day I would dream about my future husband and who in the world he might be. I would imagine our future children and what we would name them all.
They say boy-crazy girl’s have daddy issues, but that wasn’t my problem. My problem was that I just wanted that future SO BAD and I was looking for it everywhere that I could.
I tried a few boys out, and of course each boy I started falling in love with I would instantly imagine my future with them. Where would we live? How many kids would we have? What would our life be like together?
But just like in all the movies, the thing that I was looking for was “love at first sight”. I was waiting for that “boy meets girl” moment where you lock eyes and JUST KNOW.
Of course, that happened quite a few times. I would see a guy, we would look at each other and we just both knew we were feeling the same thing. And every single time, no matter how many times I had been through the agony of a break up with a less than great guy, I would fall for my own stupid feelings EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
After years of being consumed with boys… constantly worried about how I looked and came across to the men around me and ALWAYS assessing whether every guy in the room could be “the one”, I finally broke.
Something wasn’t working. It wasn’t adding up. I had done everything that I’d seen in those Disney movies.
1. Girl looks perfect and bats her eyes
2. Perfect guy shows up and sweeps her off her feet.
3. They get married the next day.
What step did I go wrong in? Why wasn’t this formula working out for me? Why did I keep finding the wrong guys?
So after breaking up with the best boyfriend I’d had so far (but still not the elusive “one”), I was devastated. I felt so heartbroken… Not because I had been in love necessarily, but because I had hopes and dreams that I felt were being shattered in not being able to find that person I was wanting to spend the rest of my life with.
I went through a season of depression. But I truly felt God convicting me and speaking to me and saying that I needed to stop trying to control the situation. I was looking for love in all the wrong places… I was banking on my purpose to be a man and a family. I knew those things weren’t wrong, but they had always been my #1 goal in life… they were the only thing I was hoping for in life.
It hit me so suddenly that I couldn’t make my top priority a man. That’s what it had always been, and that’s what was leading me astray. So right then and there, with that realization, I committed my future relationships to God. I told him I wouldn’t date another man unless he OBVIOUSLY dropped him right in front of me with no doubt in my mind. I told him that I was okay with being single for the rest of my life and he was my new #1 priority.
So, about six months went by. In those six months I had three men pursue me. It was very weird, as that honestly wasn’t something that happened to me. I knew that I was being distracted by the enemy. He knew that my nature was to say yes to pretty much any guy that asked. But I stood firm in my resolution to not date until I knew without a shadow of a doubt.
Also during this time, there was this guy that my family was trying to set me up with. It was a boy that I had grown up with and now worked for my father. I kept telling my family “No! I’m not interested. I know him and he’s not my person.”
Exactly seven months after my promise to God to stay “man-less”, this guy working for my dad started chatting with me. It was just simple conversations. He would ask how I was doing at my mission’s school, ask what I needed prayer for, and he sent me some money for my missions trips that I was going on. Every few days or so he would send a “How are you doing?” and we would talk about serious things.
During one of my chats with this guy, another childhood friend started chatting with me that same evening. As I was talking to both friends I realized something was very different…. One of those conversations was serious: discussing faith, family, and important decisions. The other of those conversations was very shallow and not what I wanted to spend my time doing.
And that night, the serious conversation didn’t end. In fact, it kept going until two in the morning. Nothing frivolous or shallow. No flirting. 100% conversation focused on God and how we could both be living for him and making decisions to honor him in our lives. When we finally said goodnight (and it was really really hard) I sat up suddenly in my bed.
This was the man.
It had snuck up on me.
Because I was at a missions school, living in a tiny building with tons of great Christian people, I had lots of great, godly man friends. We had great conversations about God and had good friendships. Because of that, I wasn’t quick to notice what was happening with this one.
But in that moment in my top bunk in that little dorm room I KNEW…. this quiet, godly kid I had ignored through the whole of my teen years in favor of prideful, sex-obsessed guys…. he was it.
Our conversations continued throughout the summer. Not much flirtation. No conversation about our interest, in fact I’m not sure either of us had truly internalized what was happening. I didn’t tell anyone except my sister and brother (who had been pushing the relationship from the beginning).
His prayers got me through a missions trip to Africa.
And then I came home. I was so terrified to see him. We hadn’t ever talked on the phone or in person since everything started. Would I even be attracted to him physically? Would I like his personality? How awkward was this going to be?
So I prayed hard on that four hour drive home from the airport. ‘God, if this is the man you want me to marry, make me so insanely attracted to him.’
That seemed like a weird prayer, but the honest truth was that in all our years of knowing each other (fifteen years to be exact) I had never been personally attracted to him.
We get home. My dad announces we are going to a concert and dinner that night as a family, so I get unpacked, shower and get ready to go. My turd of a father forgot to let me know that he had invited my secret man friend to go with us.
I walked out the front door and there he was. Smiling at me in a blue plaid shirt, the sleeves rolled up. He walked up to me… didn’t say anything…. and hugged me….
And my entire body shivered and fluttered and I felt a little nauseous and a little bit like I was going to faint.
“Hi.” He said.
“Hi.” I squeaked.
I couldn’t stop staring at him. The whole night. I kept praying and praying. At dinner, he sat next to my big brother. My brother was smiling at me, who just has a way of his eyes twinkling when he looks at me. There’s so much love in that smile and it makes me feel so safe. I smiled back. Then I glanced at that boy… and the exact same twinkle was in his eyes.
My heart sunk in the best way possible… maybe it didn’t sink. Maybe it was really full.. maybe it was in my throat. I don’t even know how you’re supposed to describe that.
But his eyes looked just like my brothers always do when he looks at me. And that’s when it hit me: This guy LOVED me. Not because he was a horny teenager. Not because he wanted to get some. Not because he was desperate for a girl.
He LOVED me. Like a brother.
Maybe that doesn’t sound sexy to you, but after being used by disgusting and immature men, having a good and godly man look at me like all he wanted to do was love and protect me…. my whole heart turned to mush.
A few weeks went by with us just talking through text like normal. In person was pretty awkward still, as he was really quiet and I was bad at making small talk. But every time we saw each other there was a sweet stillness going on between us that made me quiver.
Finally one day, after waiting and waiting for him to make the first move, he asked me to come ride in the tractor with him during harvest. I was ecstatic!
At first, it was a little awkward. But after an hour or so of forcing the conversation, it just started to flow. We talked and talked and talked. It was like we had been waiting years for this. Before we knew it, seven hours had flown by.
I was just about ready to head home and he was unloading some grain at the bins. He got out of the semi and I could see him in the review mirror. All of the sudden my heart welled up and I literally felt like I was going to burst. The tears just started flowing. I felt everything all at once.
I felt so safe and loved, like I was with a brother.
I felt comfortable and happy, like I was with a best friend.
I felt excited and fluttery, like I was on a date with the sexiest man alive.
I felt so crazy in love, so much so that my heart was literally in pain…and I cried knowing with every cell in my body that this was the person God had sent me. And the craziest part of it all was I did NOTHING at all to get him.
It. Just. Happened.
God did it all.
Our dates continued. We went on a double date with our siblings that set us up. They were so happy and proud.
Later that week, he asked me on our first real date. Though the food was sub-par and everything we tried to do failed a little bit, we had the best time together. When our project of the evening became buying flowers and chocolate for our mothers and dropping them off in the middle of the night, I knew that I’d literally found the sweetest man that existed.
Our love blossomed very quickly, and three months later he proposed to me. Though I was shocked and terrified, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that this was the person.
Four months later we were married, and it’s been a whirlwind ever since. One of our favorite songs when we were dating, and still today, is “Then” by Brad Paisley. The words of the chorus go like this:
‘Now you’re my whole life, now you’re my whole world… I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl. We’ll look back someday at this moment that we’re in and I’ll look at you and say… “And I thought I loved you then.”‘
When we were dating, I truly believed that I could never feel deeper love. No boyfriend or crush had ever felt this way. The love was so deep, so real and so intimate that I couldn’t imagine a deeper love.
To this day, no one seems to believe us that our initial interest had nothing to do with physical attraction. It’s just unheard of. But it’s the truth. It had everything to do with our mutual love for Jesus.
But every season we go through together… every huge change, every loss, every frustration, every sickness…. it changes us and makes us even more in love. And every time I had no idea that it was even possible to love someone so much.
My Best Love Advice
Oh, how I wish I would have known when I was a teenager:
Love is not lust.
Love is not butterflies in your gut.
Love is not enjoying someone’s company.
Love is not thinking someone’s personality is fabulous.
Love is not thinking someone is the most gorgeous person you’ve ever seen.
True love is spiritual, it is intimate, it is safe.
True love is comfortable and happy, but it also grows you and challenges you.
True love is home, the place that you can trust even in your worst of times.
True love is that person that you will always love madly, regardless of age or weight or sickness.
True love is not something found often in this culture because we are so distracted by things of the physical and material nature.
And the cliche that everyone rolls their eyes at, but is more true than I ever knew…
If you wait your entire life, it’s worth it. Better no love than superficial love.
If you wait longer than you wanted to, it’s worth it. Better real love than second best.
To everyone who is waiting for that person to show up… to the person who is yearning for someone to be connected with, to love deeply and passionately… my advice is this: WAIT. Just wait.
Don’t search it out. Don’t become obsessed with it. Don’t look at every man (or woman) who walks past you wondering if they’re your future spouse.
Trust in God. He knows. He will lead you and guide you.
Do I believe in “the one”? No, I do not.
But I do believe that God knows where you are at spiritually, emotionally, physically. He knows where you are at in the journey that he has put you on. He knows your purpose and the amazing plans he has for your future, and to be frank you have NO idea what those plans are.
So, stop trying to take control. Put it in God’s hands and let him lead you. That’s where true love is found: whether it’s only God and you for the rest of your life, or whether he chooses to give you a spouse that will help you love him. True love isn’t found in pining or lust. True love is found in patience and contentment.
No human will ever match up to what you are looking for. Only God can meet that deep desire in your heart. Once you’ve allowed God to fill that gap and become your true love, then you can truly love another human being and grow in your faith together.
It’s a beautiful story that only God can write for you and I wish you the best in your love story.