Marriage requires that you choose your partner daily, so I am grateful that ours began with us both choosing each other.
When my now husband and I began dating, the question continued to swirl in my mind: “Is he the one?” After dating for a couple of months, I did not know the answer to that question, so I felt the need to break things off. During our time apart, I noticed something: I missed his presence. I felt as if I had lost something precious. I began to pray that God would cause our paths to cross. During my quiet time one day I felt the Lord bring to mind a picture of a lost and found. He said, “Monica, when you lose something valuable, you have to go back and retrieve it.” After prayer and wise counsel, I reached out to Chad to reconnect. We met for coffee, and I shared my heart with him to begin dating again. I told him to take time to think it over. We parted ways and five minutes later, he called and asked me on a date. After that, our connection began to build so naturally. Marriage requires that you choose your partner daily, so I am grateful that ours began with us both choosing each other.
Through this process, I came to realize that we hold the keys to our own hearts. We are not passive participants in the dating process. We get to decide who we let in and the degree to which we connect with them. Here are four keys I needed to discover within my husband before we walked through the doors of engagement and marriage:
Enjoyment & Attraction
In the Christian culture we can see godly attributes and feel the need to force a connection. The first key to unlocking your heart comes when you can honestly answer the question “Do we have fun together?” A lifetime commitment is so much sweeter when you share it with your very best friend.
God did not design us to give our hearts to someone who has potential for goodness. He designed us to let the fruit of their lives speak for itself. Do they have connected relationships? Do they keep commitments? What is their response to stressful situations? As you grow in connection with your partner, let the answers to these questions emerge naturally and hand the key to your heart accordingly.
We cannot partner with someone who is going in a different direction than us. When our values are aligned, it sets the foundation for how our home will function. I recommend finding a book or resource that gives space for you and your partner to explore topics like spirituality, sexuality, finances, and parenting together. (We highly recommend The Right One by Jimmy Evans and Frank Martin)
The ability to partner and create together is paramount. Can you solve conflict respectfully? Does this person know how to consider someone else in their decision making? Can you both fully show up, speak your mind, and create a solution together?
The world attempts to write beautiful love stories, but I know a better author. I look back at the first chapter of ours and see myself clutching those keys tightly. Little did I know God had provided a trustworthy caretaker in my husband. I am grateful for the process. I am grateful for the unlocking. I am grateful that even though I love words, I can find none when I revel on what we have built together.