When You Know, You Know

How do you know when you've found "the one"? Finding confidence in choosing a life partner.

falling in love

“They always say that ‘you just know’ when you find the one, but what does that mean? How do you really know when you’ve found ‘the one’?”

I received the above question in an email from a sweet college girl who is a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic. She can’t wait to fall in love but is slightly confused by the constant barrage of messages our culture portrays about love.

Finding “The One”

I’ll never forget standing in the kitchen, chatting with my mom when she told me she didn’t believe in soulmates.  I was horrified.  I was in high school and had never considered such a thing.

“You don’t believe in soulmates?!” I repeated.

“No,” she laughed, “there is very little Biblical evidence that soulmates are a thing.” She went on to explain that she believed if you put 100 Christian men in a room, she could probably have a happy, successful marriage with about 10 of them.

I was fairly devastated.  I thought my parents were soul mates!  I thought they were created for each other!  I thought they couldn’t live without each other!  My bubble had been burst.

When we look in the Bible, there are only two examples that could support a soulmate theory: Adam and Eve and Isaac and Rebekah. Clearly, God fashioned one woman (Eve) for the only man on earth (Adam). Now, Isaac and Rebekah’s story is fascinating, and one you should read when you have a few minutes (Genesis 24), but God answers a prayer by supernaturally revealing the woman (Rebekah) who should become Isaac’s wife.  While both of those stories are extremely compelling, they are also very rare situations.

To think that God only created one person in the whole world who is your destined soul mate gets very sticky, very quickly. What if you fail to wait for your God-designed soulmate and you marry the wrong guy? Not only have you screwed up God’s will for your life, but you have for the guy you married, your actual soulmate, and the woman who is the soulmate of the guy you married!

Instead, I believe finding a life partner who is a good match for you takes wisdom and discernment– which God will gladly give to you if you ask for it! (James 1:5)  One of the best books I have ever read on finding “the right person” is The Sacred Search by Gary  Thomas.  Thomas breaks down the myth of finding your soulmate and, instead, offers advice on how to make wise dating decisions that will lead to a great, healthy marriage.

So, maybe you let go of the soulmate theory, find a good guy, you date for a year, but then you’re still wondering, “Is this it?”

When you know, you know.

After our first date, my husband told his friend, “I’m going to marry her.”  On my parents’  first date, but dad told my mom he was going to marry her.  One of my close friends met her husband at work– he was newly assigned to her office location.  The first time he saw her, he said hello, then walked straight into a friend’s office and said, “I’m going to marry that woman.”

I bet you’ve heard stories like that as well.  While I don’t want to debunk their stories– after all one of them is my husband’s–I do want to point out that there are also a lot of other stories where people thought they knew and it didn’t work out.  In fact, I personally have three stories of “knowing” and being wrong.

My major issue with this idea that you “just know” is that it is based on a feeling– probably feelings of hormones, sexual chemistry, and lovey-dovey emotions.  While none of those things are wrong, they are also not the best factors on basing who to spend the rest of your life with.  Don’t get me wrong, I sure hope you are attracted to your future-husband, have great chemistry with him, and feel love towards him, but those cannot be the end all be all to choosing your life partner.

While I know a handful of those “we just knew and got married in an extremely short amount of time” stories, I think the best way to know is by dating that person for as long as you need, getting to know their friends and family very well, seeking godly counsel who can point out any red flags that might be present, and striving to use wisdom in finding a compatible life partner.

At the end of the day, I don’t believe falling in love is as illusive or mysterious as our culture portrays it to be.  I think if you are striving to become “the right person”, you will have an easier time finding a great guy, and can have total confidence when walking down the aisle that you are marrying a man who God will use for your good and His glory.