Continuing with our "Future Husband" chat, I'm curious what you guys think about this. How do you know if the guy you are dating is "The One"?
Again, this is an area with a lot of different opinions. I've heard things like, "I prayed and prayed and prayed and he was the first guy to ask me out, so I know he's the one." Or, "He just seems like such a nice guy." Or my favorite (and the one that drove me nuts when I was asking people this question when Jon and I were dating), "I just knew. When you know, you know."
Like I said earlier, I was planning on there being some man on the corner who would stop me and say, "Erynn. The guy you're dating is the one for you. Have a good day."
Sadly, that didn't happen. Not so sadly, I have decided that one of the most fun parts of dating is that slightly off-balanced feeling: Where is this going? What do you think the future holds? Do I really think I could still love you if you continuously left all your dirty dishes in the sink?
Jon's and my relationship had very distinct levels, I think. First, we were Just Friends (yeah. right). That lasted for about two months or so. Then we were Hanging Out, But Not Dating (again. yeah, right). That one lasted two weeks. After that, we were Officially Dating (it was on Facebook, it was official). That lasted about four or five months. Then, one night he told me he loved me (awwww!) and we moved into the Seriously Dating phase. This one was my favorite just because I was completely freaked out, excited, nervous and scared because I was falling head over heels in love and who knew what the future held?
At this point, I was glad I was the girl. I didn't have to work up the nerve to propose. But, at the same time, I did have to do some really serious thinking and praying. If Jon and I got married, it would completely change the rest of my life. There would be no more me making decisions about money, vacations, time, jobs... it would be us.
I remember asking my pastor how I was supposed to know if this was right or not and I'll never forget what he said. He said that Jon would fit into everything else in my life - not be forced in, but just fit.
I saw this with my family - I think even if we hadn't gotten married, Mom and Dad would have adopted Jon. They love him! He meshes so well with my family and I mesh with his - there aren't awkward moments on either side. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't marry someone because he doesn't get along with your family (or vice versa), but it does mean that you should SERIOUSLY consider that one. Do you want there to be tension at every holiday? Can you deal with the emotional baggage that comes with that?
Are you in the Seriously Dating phase? Here's a few questions to discuss:
* Does this man have a deep commitment to Christ? - If this answer is no, walk away now. You'll save yourself a world of hurt. Don't buy into the "I can change him" belief. If he's going to change, make sure that change is permanent and life-changing before you marry him or spend one more day seriously dating him. Too many girls are blind-sided by the ugly part of marriage after missionary dating. Don't do it.
* Does this man have a deep commitment to you? - If you're always worried about him flirting with other girls, you need to pause the relationship and consider if this is your insecurities or a real issue with the guy. Talk to your parents or pastor.
* Does he respect your opinion? - If he's always brushing aside your thoughts, opinions or wants, address the issue. A guy who doesn't treat you well while you're dating will NOT treat you better after you get married. Actually, it might change for the worse. Marriage is a team sport - if he's walking over you when he's supposed to be charming you, just imagine what's going to happen after the initial newlywed glow fades.
* How does he treat his family and yours? - This is one of the ways I realized I wanted to marry Jon. He was so sweet to my mom and sister and would joke and watch sports with my dad and brothers. If the guy you are dating can't stand to be around your family, you need to very, very carefully think through the ramifications of continuing that relationship. Imagine Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, Easter, Birthdays, etc. without your family. Imagine the tension after you have kids and your parents want to visit. Talk through this with your boyfriend, parents and pastor.
* Does he support your dreams for the future? - If you want to go to school and be a professor of art history, does your boyfriend support that dream? Or, if you want to be a stay-at-home mom, does he realize that you won't be bringing in income and support that as well? Talk through the future. What does he want to do? Does he have specific goals leading to that?
* Does he have a plan for the future? What is his work ethic? - This goes along with that last question. This is me being girly, but I wanted a man who would take care of me, not the other way around. I wanted someone who recognized that biblically, he was supposed to be the provider. That didn't mean that I couldn't help out, but he was supposed to be the primary worker. If you're dating a guy who doesn't have a job, doesn't have the desire to have a job and just wants to play video games all day, prepare for a frustrating life. It's not going to get better.
These are just a few of the basic questions Jon and I discussed. This whole time of your life is SO crazy! I hope these give you a few guidelines! I also hope you're seeing a trend here - keep open communication with the guy you are dating, your parents and your pastor. Having opinions is a good thing in this case! :)
What do you guys think? How do you know if he's The One?