My grandmother used to say, “Be patient, Kelly. You’re married a long time.” Her emphasis was on the word “long.” I grimaced each time she said those words. After all, I was still single with a heart’s desire to be married. Grandma’s warnings were colored by her own struggles in marriage, I reasoned. But me? I wanted to be married, and not to anyone, either. I wanted to be married to “The One.” The man who God would pick for especially for me.
Growing up in a broken home and surrounded by broken marriages for most of my life, my childhood was anything but stable. My mother spent years trying to get marriage right, never finding the right fit. My father did find a woman that he loved very much, but my sister and I struggled to find our place in his new life. I remember many nights lying in my bed in tears, longing for the kind of family that my friends had. In hindsight, I realize now that no family is perfect. But even so, my one prayer that I carried throughout life was that when I married, I would marry God’s pick for me and that the marriage would not end.
I had experienced enough pain from divorce to last a lifetime. And I didn’t want to cry those tears again.
Tomorrow my husband and I will celebrate our 15th anniversary, and I’ve never regretted a single day of our marriage. I know that Matt is “The One.” But how? How am I so sure?
For my anniversary, let me give you the 5 Reasons Why I Knew He Was The One. If you are asking yourself today, as I did fifteen years ago, “How can I be sure he’s the one?”, maybe these reasons will encourage you in some way:
1. I Asked God to Show Me His Will
This simple step is often forgotten in the wonder and excitement of being in love and contemplating marriage. I wanted to be sure that Matt was the right man for me. Oh, he seemed right. But could I trust myself? I had made poor choices in relationships many times. So I asked God to show me clearly that Matt was right for me. And God answered. Not once, but three times. The last time, as Matt greeted me with a hug, I prayed a silent prayer, God, I know you have shown me before, but I have to ask you just one more time…Is Matt Your choice for me? At that moment, Matt said to me entirely out of the blue, “Kelly, do you know what my name means?” I shook my head. Then Matt whispered words into my ear that I will never forget: “It means ‘God’s Gift.’” Tears welled in my eyes and I finally knew. God was sending His blessing.
2. He Wanted to Know More about God
God had spent the last three years healing the emotional wounds of my soul. As A result, I was flowing with gratitude for His restoring love and passionate about my faith. The strength of that passion must have been strange to Matt, coming from a more reserved spiritual background. Yet rather than pulling back, Matt was intrigued by my faith and wanted to know more about this God Who had healed my brokenness. Today, Matt and I share a passionate faith together, praying our way though all of life’s difficulties.
3. He Never Played Games with Me
You know what I mean. The “I’ll call you tonight” and then not doing it. The safe distance. Matt did not play those games. He was simply Matt. Always there, and always doing what he said he would do. This behavior was entirely new to me. I had unconsciously chosen distant men for most of my relationships. Matt was never distant. It took a while to feel comfortable with that kind of honesty. After all, I was scared of getting hurt again. But God walked me through that fear and I’m so glad He did.
4. I Had Dealt with My Emotional Baggage
Marriage is hard. If I had met Matt before allowing God to poke at the raw spots in my heart, I would have never been ready to meet the real deal. I would have run for the hills in a panic from a man who was confident enough to pursue me. For most of my life, I didn’t feel worthy of being loved. But as I surrendered my pain–ugly scars and all–to God, He loved me unconditionally. Finally, I had a taste of the kind of love that God intended me to have in marriage. Unconditional love.
5. He was in It for the “Long Haul”
It was some time after Matt and I were married that I finally got it through my thick head that he wasn’t going to leave me. Again and again, Matt told me that he was in it for good. “For the long haul,” as he said. It took a long time to accept that, but finally, God helped me to release the pain of past and trust not only God, but Matt, too. Trusting a man to stay, after the instability I experienced as a child, was hard. If our marriage was to work, I had to learn to trust again.
In our fifteen years, Matt has truly stayed for the long haul. We’ve wept through prayers for our autistic son. We’ve held each other up through severe financial stress. We’ve laughed a little every day, and we’ve managed to stay best friends. I know that no marriage is perfect, and neither is ours. It takes work.
This much I know for sure: I asked God to show me if Matt was the man for me, and God did just that. God blessed me with a wonderful man, and I honor God by loving that gift with everything that I am. My vows to Matt, uttered fifteen years ago, weren’t vows to Matt alone, but to God as well.
The same God that encouraged me to let go of the pain and trust Him.
You can trust Him, too.