Seriously, how DO you know if he's the one? How DO you know when it's the right time to get married–or if you even should?
Society seems to shout, “Don't get married until you're older! Don't throw your life away at a young age! Get your career started! Focus on you!”
And sometimes Christian circles make girls feel like they have to find a “perfect” man with statements like, “Do not settle!”
While those statements are well-meaning, they can twist our thinking because the fact is: all humans are imperfect so outside of God, we are settling for less than perfection. Both messages scream, “put yourself first” and “don't settle for less than you deserve,” but Jesus told us to put ourselves last.
It's almost as if Christians and non-Christians alike have this unrealistic expectation of perfect marriage and ideal people instead of a focus on God and His narrative of unity and sacrifice. Maybe it's not so much about not settling so much as it is about intentional choices, commitment, and godliness, and sacrifice.
That's what I hope to help you intersect today so that you can discern where you are in life right now–and where your heart is.
We need to look at what GOD says and the love story HE has written for your life. Because there is no perfect love story other than the love story He's written for Christ and you–His bride, His body, His church.There is no perfect love story other than the love story God has written for you Click To Tweet
God has a beautiful design for marriage and we have an opportunity to steward it well! But we need to be wise and intentional in the dating, discernment, and decision making process so that the relationship can flourish–regardless of how old we are.
So, I am SO excited have my friend, Mary Kate Robertson, on the blog today.
MaryKate married Duck Dynasty star, John Luke, at age 19 and has so sweetly shared a piece of her story to help breakthrough society's negative stigma of young marriage as well as help answer questions like, “How do I know he's the one?”
So, here's what she has to say:
1. How's a girl to know if he's “the one?”
I really don't know what that means. I mean, I do, but I don't remember thinking a lot around that term.
If you've kept up with me for a while, or really at all, you've probably heard me use the term “God's best” more than “the one.”
For me it just means looking, listening, and waiting on God for what He has for me. I knew from the Bible that God wanted me to be equally yoked, which means He wanted me to be with someone who was on the same page as me spiritually.
The man is the spiritual leader in a marriage, so I knew I couldn't be the one pulling him along spiritually, even in just a dating relationship.
So, I waited on a guy that was head-over-heels in love with the Lord first. When I say “waiting,” I wasn't just sitting around doing nothing expecting for the right guy to come in and sweep me off my feet. I was pursuing the Lord.
To this day, that period of time with the Lord when I was single was one of the sweetest seasons. God came in when I was wanting to be loved by a boy, and showed me how much He loved me and cared for me.God came in when I was wanting to be loved by a boy, and showed me how much He loved me and cared for me. Click To Tweet
I learned a lot about trusting God then and became very content in Him as a young girl.
Looking back, it seems like when I truly became content in Him was when John Luke came into the picture.
When John Luke showed up his love for God was undeniable. It wasn't just something he talked about, it was something he lived out. Some boys know what Christian girls want them to say but you just have to see if their actions are lining up–not just with how they treat you but with how they treat others, especially in hard situations.
I saw John Luke baptize people, love his friends, and pick strangers up on the side of the road to give them a ride. And he always had a genuine smile on his face.
I think it's easy to get caught up in the term “the one,” but maybe think of it like this instead:
Our sole purpose on earth is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever (Psalm 86:9).Our sole purpose on earth is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever (Psalm 86:9). Click To Tweet
That's our goal in all aspects of life, including marriage, right?
Then, you can ask yourself:
“With this person am I able to glorify God more?”
“Will our relationship be honoring to God?”
“Can I serve God better with this person or are they going to hinder my service to God?”
And then be real with yourself and real with God a guy in your life.
But after you say “I do” that person IS “the one”!
2. What did you say when people said, “You think you're grown up enough to get married, but you're only 19!”?
Who said we think we're grown up? Haha!
We didn't claim at 19 to be grown up and we also didn't claim to know all the answers.
We just knew that we loved each other and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.
We knew we had some growing up to do, and it has been SO fun getting to grow up together.
We love it. It's awesome getting to learn together and experience the world together.
3. How did you deal with negative comments like, “Why would you want to throw your life away so young?”
This one just makes me laugh! But also is really sad at the same time.
I hate it that marriage has that stigma attached to it.
When we were engaged people would give these snide comments about my life being over and I was just like, “are you kidding me?!”
These two years have been the best of my life! We have gotten to travel all over the world and also have gotten to have our own little adventures.
We don't just keep to ourselves, either. I think that's an easy thing to do. It's important to have time together but we also love to hang out with friends with and without each other. I've had friends tell me we've changed how they look at marriage.
My own sister said this morning, “Y'all just make marriage look so fun!” John Luke said his mom said one time, “the best thing you can do for a parent is to love their child.” I've never forgotten this and I think of it a lot of the time in relation to God.
I think God loves to see His children loving each other well and enjoying each other! That's one way we can honor Him!
Marriage should be fun. It's like a sleepover every night with your best friend!
4. How do you grow spiritually together?
I picture a triangle. 3 points. God at the top. John Luke at one of the bottom points and me at the other.
If we are both seeking God and walking in step with His Spirit, we can't help but get closer to one another.If you are both seeking God and walking in step with His Spirit, you can't help but get closer to one another. Click To Tweet
We love to talk about spiritual things and ideas and things we've read from the Bible and heard from sermons and pray together, but I have my relationship with God and John Luke has his relationship with God. The best thing that we can do for each other is grow closer to God.
We each have the Holy Spirit in us and when we are in communion with Him things like “affection for others, exuberance about life, compassion, loyal commitments, etc. (Gal. 5:25 the MSG.)” will appear in our lives and our marriage will benefit from it.
5. Do you have any marriage advice you have to share?
Forgive each other and learn to laugh. Our goal is to never go to sleep angry.
Take the time to talk things out and don't let anything start to drive a wedge between you. Any little thing over time can turn into a big thing. Take care of the little things and I think the big things will take care of themselves.
Also, LAUGH at yourselves. Don't take yourself to seriously. You are going to mess up.
I remember one week we had thing after thing going wrong. From flooding a rental kitchen with dishwasher bubbles to me having a car accident. I'm not saying a car accident is something to laugh about but we just couldn't allow ourselves to dwell on the negative. When you've got something going wrong, look at all the things you've got going right! Just laugh at yourself and together as often as you can.
Lastly, seek counsel and ask advice from older people.
Just because we got married didn't mean we all of a sudden knew what we were doing. Praise God we had so many awesome marriages around us to look at. We did marriage counseling with my preacher and another incredible older couple we look up to and learned SO much.
Their wisdom has kept us from learning things the hard way. Even after we got married we would talk with John Luke's aunt and uncle when we needed help with something we were dealing with. I've learned the importance of remembering and hanging onto the little nuggets of wisdom my mom and John Luke's mom have said or even just something I've watched them live out.
We're never too old to stop learning and stop growing.We're never too old to stop learning and stop growing. Click To Tweet
Okay, isn't MK the bomb? I hope you now love her as much as I do! I am so happy to share a bit of her story and insight because I feel like I relate to her so much! I got married relatively young as well (the year after I graduated college), so I can relate to a lot of what she faced and has experienced, too.
Anyway, if you take nothing else away from this, I hope you learned the following:
1. There is no “perfect” way or “perfect” time. Don't wedge yourself in to a category or box like that.It's about finding God's best, not the Perfect Man. Click To Tweet
2. Don't rush into marriage but don't be afraid of it. If it happens to you earlier in life, great! If it happens to you later in life, great! God's timing is perfect and if you obsess so much over the timing verses the purpose, you'll end up regretting your choices.
3. Check your motives. Do you want to get married to avoid loneliness or love the Lord more?
4. Your life doesn't end after marriage nor does it begin. It's simply a new chapter.
5. Don't suck the life out of each other regardless of when you get married. While it's important to build in quality time, nurture relationship, and get plugged into community together, it's equally important to have your own interests, friends, etc.
6. Don't obsess so much over finding THE ONE and focus more on GLORIFYING GOD. If you happen to find ONE person that can do that with you, double win!
7. If you find a quality man that honors you, pursues God, connects with you, and loves people well, you have found a good fit. It's about finding God's best, not the Perfect Man.
8. Regardless of how old you are, seek counsel from those who have gone before you! If you're not sure about the person you're dating, ask those in your life that you trust what they think (preferably trusted mentors!). It's not about figuring it all out on your own or having all the answers. It is WISE to ask those who have gone before you for help, wisdom, and counsel.
I pray this insight blessed you, your relationship, and your heart!
What did you think? Leave a comment below!