I was recently asked by a dear friend to write down my thoughts on love while telling my own story of falling into it. The prompt really got me thinking, and I would like to share some of my mind’s wanderings with all my single ladies (and anyone else who cares).
A girl will spend years of her life creating a dream of a man who will complete her. This man is composed of fairy-tale qualities picked from every once upon a time story and movie she ever knew, from Cinderella to the newest romantic comedy at the theater. He also probably has a few qualities she took from her Dad, other men she admires, and the best parts of a few of the boyfriends she had. The problem is, she will always be disappointed. She isnʼt perfect, but she expects her prince and her life to be. But life isnʼt perfect like a storybook or a movie, but that doesnʼt mean it canʼt end with happily ever after.
Happiness begins and ends here: in His Presence is fullness of joy; at His right hand are pleasures forevermore. Thatʼs not just an optimistic verse to throw around when needed–itʼs truth. Happiness begins with Jesus, and it ends with Jesus. He is the very perfection that we seek in a husband. He loves me perfectly. He knows me perfectly. He pursues me perfectly. He comforts me perfectly. He encourages me perfectly. He provides for me perfectly. When you receive the revelation that this is true, your heart can rest in the most satisfying love you will ever know. Itʼs only then that you can live happily ever after with one who will never satisfy the deepest longings of your heart, because you wonʼt expect him to.
When I met Dan, he was far from the perfect guy that I dreamed of. He was strikingly handsome, but he also had a lot of faults. Some of these faults even caused me to dismiss him altogether at first. I had a long list that detailed my perfect guy, the one who I knew I would marry, and he didnʼt fit. The problem was, no one would.
Eventually, my heart gave in and my attraction to Dan grew despite my hesitations. Dan had all that I really needed in a husband; he loved Jesus and he actively desired to be transformed to look more and more like Him. Thatʼs all the list I needed. In my original list, my perfect guy would be my running partner and we would play on a co-ed adult soccer league together. After 3 ACL surgeries, Dan will never be my running partner and he definitely canʼt play soccer. But Iʼm not disappointed. Too often, girls donʼt even give guys a chance before they dismiss them because they donʼt meet some predetermined criteria. There are definitely non-negotiables, but I can only think of two: 1) loves Jesus and 2) is always changing to look more like Jesus.
Iʼm not saying you can marry any guy who does these 2 things. What I am saying is this: your heart can be open and your attraction can grow for a man who meets these 2 things. But let your heart decide, not a list. Iʼll explain. I had boyfriends who loved Jesus and desired to be transformed to look more like him. So I opened my heart just enough, giving it a chance to grow in attraction and affection, but it never grew to love them the way I love Dan. When I opened my heart to Dan it was different. I loved him so much that I trusted him with my life. I could see him, with all his faults, and still say, “I promise to love you with a love that is not self seeking, not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs. I will clothe myself with compassion, patience, kindness, humility, and gentleness. My love will always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere. I promise to forgive and forbear. This I promise, that our marriage may be a picture of the love of Jesus. I pledge you my faithfulness.” What I realize now is, I should have never been trying to measure a guy by my list. Maybe I should have written my vows, deciding what I wanted to promise my husband till death do us part, and trusted that one day God would bring someone into my life that I could faithfully promise them to.
Dan is not the man I married, and we have only been married 3 years! So if I chose a man that meets the criteria on a list, I would surely be disappointed when he changed. His appearance will change, his hobbies will change, his passions will change, and even his personality may change. So rather than be disappointed, I enjoy the man that Dan is becoming each new day, believing that two things will remain: he loves Jesus and he desires to change to look more like him.
I fell in love with Dan not because he was everything I had dreamed of, but because I saw in his heart the desire to be like Jesus, who is everything I had dreamed of. At the end of the day, I trust God with the rest.