Here are 4 painful things God often uses to prepare you to meet the person he does want you to marry.
I also wanted to quickly let you know that enrollment for AGW University just opened today. In addition to the 4 relationship training courses I’ve offered in the past, I’m also offering my brand-new course as a free bonus for anyone who enrolls. This course is called 30 Days of Sanctifying Your Sexuality. This course is for anyone who has committed premarital sex in the past or is actively struggling with sexual sins like pornography or masturbation. If you’re interested in these relationship courses designed for Christian singles and the private email coaching with me, make sure you read to the end of this article which is where I will share more information about this unique opportunity.
1. To Prepare You to Meet The One, God First Often Needs to Dismantle Our False Ideas About What “The One” Actually Means
Nothing will block God’s blessing quite like an idol. One danger when talking about “the one” is that people often see this person as an elevated being that will be better than all other people. But when you have this idealized version of your future spouse, it will be very difficult for you to connect with the real human being that God does want you to marry one day.
I don’t believe it is biblical to say that “the one” is a “soul mate.” I get what people mean when they use the term “soul mate” so I don’t make a big deal about it, but I personally try to avoid that term because it implies that each soul has just one perfect mate and until you meet that mate your soul is incomplete. I don’t believe that is biblical.
So when I use the term “the one,” I am simply referring to the person God wants you to marry. Perhaps the best biblical example of my definition of “the one” can be found in Genesis 24:14 when Abraham’s servant goes to find Isaac a wife. He prays to God and states:
Let the young woman to whom I shall say, ‘Please let down your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac.”
Here we have the term “the one” followed by a reference to God’s sovereign appointment of Isaac’s future spouse. So to me, this term “the one” points more to God’s sovereignty rather than to some special quality in your future spouse.
When you believe “the one” is going to be “your perfect one” (so to speak), you will actually be delaying meeting the one because you will be waiting for this perfect person that doesn’t exist. Oftentimes God has to painfully tear down these idols we’ve created about “the one” so he can actually then introduce us to “the real one” he has for us.
2. To Prepare You to Meet The One, God Often Needs to Put You Through a Painful Season of Discipline First
I find it interesting that the words “discipline” and “disciple” are spelled so similar. The connotation of a word is that underlying feeling or emotional associations that a culture attaches to a word. The denotation of a word, however, is simply its literal meaning regardless of what emotions that word often invokes.
The connotation of “disciple” is very appealing to us. It invokes images of following Jesus, spending time with him, and following God alongside other disciples. But the connotation of the word “discipline” is usually not as positive to us. It invokes feelings of being punished, scolded, or publicly rebuked harshly.
But when you study these two words in the Bible, their biblical denotations are actually pretty similar. For example, Hebrews 12:5-6 quotes, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” When you study the actual relationship between Jesus and his 12 disciples, it was pretty common for Jesus to spend time disciplining them (Luke 9:53-55, Matthew 16:22-23, Matthew 8:26).
Therefore, we must learn to associate God’s love with God’s discipline. Like a loving father who waits until his child is mature enough to handle the inheritance, so too does God often need to discipline us before blessing us with things like a godly marriage.
3. To Prepare You to Meet The One, God Will Often Help You Identify This Person By Giving You Valuable But Painful Relationship Experiences with People Who Are Not The One
In the movie called Shadowlands, which is about the life of C.S. Lewis played by Anthony Hopkins, after his wife dies Lewis says to his brother, “Experience, that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” Even though this was just a movie quote, it strikes true to me. In his book called The Problem of Pain, the real C.S. Lewis said, “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
If you have prayed that God would lead you to the one, sometimes he speeds this process up by teaching you the hardest lessons in the fastest possible way, which is often through painful relationship experiences. While we should avoid unhealthy relationship experiences whenever we can, we cannot avoid painful relationship experiences if we hope to mature enough to the point of actually being equipped to love another person in the covenant bond of marriage.
Love always brings pain at some point because when you care deeply about someone it hurts when they hurt you or when you have to see them suffering in their life. It’s hard to love, it’s hard to be loved, and thus God puts us through hard experiences that train us to do the hard work involved in true love.
Oftentimes God will put you in relationships that will not result in marriage so that the pain you experience will mature you to the point of being ready to actually meet the one he does want you to marry. Years later, you will then be able to look back at those painful trials and agree with the psalmist who said, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes” (Psalm 119:71).
4. To Prepare You to Meet The One, God Will Painfully Mature You Through the Sins of Others So You Are Equipped to Display His Gospel Grace
Marriage is a blessing for many reasons. It allows us to experience deep companionship, sexual pleasure, and committed love. But at the heart of a Christian marriage is the gospel grace of Jesus Christ. In regards to the mystery of marriage, Ephesians 5:22-23 explains:
This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
Jesus’ relationship with the church is messy. It’s completely based upon grace and forgiveness. Therefore, it should be no surprise that Christian marriages are messy too. Your future marriage must also be based on grace and forgiveness if you hope to accurately display the love relationship between Christ and his church.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I designed AGW University for Christian singles who want deep biblical training that will help them meet, date, and marry the one God has for them.
The first course is called Heart Check, which is where we talk about the internal healing and preparation needed to honor the Lord in relationships. The next course is called Marriage Material, which will give you the biblical ingredients needed for identifying a godly spouse and it will help you know what to develop in yourself so you can have a successful relationship one day. The third course is called 10 Steps to Meet The One, which is where I get super practical with you and give you a simple blueprint to follow so you can give yourself the best chance of meeting someone. Last year I also created a course called The Effective Online Christian Dating Plan, which is a really helpful bonus class I offer for free to anyone who feels led to try online dating.
After working with over 900 students in the last 2 years, it became clear to me that I needed to create a course about sanctifying your sexuality. I created this new course called 30 Days of Sanctifying Your Sexuality for any Christian single person who has committed premarital sex in their past or is currently struggling with any kind of sexual sin right now like lusting after pornography or masturbation. This course also will give you biblical teachings about what to expect sexually in marriage one day and how to prepare yourself in singleness for your future marriage specifically when it comes to your sexuality. The course is meant to be taken over 30 consecutive days of your choosing. Each day has a video that will walk you through a biblical lesson about sanctifying your sexuality. Each day also gives you a short prayer to follow and 3 reflection questions. All the content is in writing as well.
If you enroll before the deadline of Sunday, March 7th at 11:59pm (EST), you get lifetimes access to all three of my main relationship training courses, lifetime access to the two extra bonus courses, 3 months of private email coaching with me, and access to the private Facebook group which is where you can connect with all the other AGW University students. Currently there are over 620 other students in this group.
To check out all the course content before enrolling, feel free to click here to visit AGW University.