When I was at university, I met a young married couple who were obviously in love. As I was talking with the guy, I asked him how he knew when he had met ‘the right one’. I was expecting him to say something romantic, like how the first time he saw her he felt butterflies in his stomach, but his response surprised me.
He told me that he and his wife didn’t believe in the concept of meeting ‘the right one’ – they instead believed that there were probably a number of people in the world that they could have met and had happy marriages with, but God had brought them together and that was what made their relationship special.
This made me reconsider my views on relationships and marriage. I’d grown up hoping that, somewhere in the world, God had created a soul mate for me, who was a perfect fit with my personality – like two halves of a whole – and that one day we would find each other and fall in love and live happily ever after. Romance novels and fairy tales reinforced this idea, that my prince charming was out there searching for me. I wondered what he would be like – tall, dark and handsome, like in my dreams? As I got older, I worried that maybe there wasn’t a prince charming out there after all, and that God wanted me to be single (at the time it seemed like the worst thing in the world – I was pretty immature).
Thankfully, God did bring my husband into my life and I did have those romantic feelings, but more importantly, our relationship was built on a strong friendship and faith in God. We got to know each other over two and a half years before we committed to each other in marriage. And as for the happily ever after? Well, a good marriage takes time, self-sacrifice and humility – putting someone else’s needs before my own didn’t come naturally (and still doesn’t), and many times I am selfish and have to ask for forgiveness. But regardless of this, I feel blessed that I have someone to share my life with, who knows me better than anyone and yet still loves me.
The Bible says that God has a plan for each of our lives – he knows how many hairs are on our heads, he has planned all our days before us (Psalm 139). It only follows that he has planned who we will marry (if indeed he has chosen that path for us). If God has it all under control, this means that spending our days searching for ‘the right one’ isn’t a great use of time. Instead, our focus should be on becoming who God wants us to be.
By putting our trust in Jesus, and asking God’s Holy Spirit to work in our hearts to change us to be more like Him, we will find our joy and contentment in God, regardless of whether we marry or remain single. ‘Happily ever afters’ are much sought after in our world, often resulting in disappointment, but for those who trust in Jesus, we have the future certainty of eternity with God, where He will wipe away our tears and there will be no more sin, grief or pain (Revelation 21 and 22).
Do you believe in happily ever afters?