(Note: If you are a regular reading of my content, you can probably skip down to point 2 because the intro and point 1 of this article are a review of points I’ve made before.)
When I use the phrase, “the one,” I’m not talking about a soul mate. I’m not saying that there is only one perfect divinely ordained person for everyone and you can thus marry someone who is not the one for you. What I am referring to is simply the person God planned for you to marry.
Because God allows us to sin, God allows us to marry people he is telling us not to marry. Once you marry someone, that person then becomes the one for you. In God’s sovereignty he allows for us to make bad choices while still being able to accomplish his will for us.
But before you are married, God has something to say about who you marry. There is one specific person out there that he wants you to marry and there are other people out there God does not want you to marry. I believe this because according to Scripture, God has a sovereign plan for everything. Therefore, to be theologically consistent we have to believe that even our marriage partners are included in God’s one sovereign plan that he has preordained to occur.
For example, Ephesians 1:11 states, “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.” It doesn’t say God works “all things except relationships according to the counsel of his will.” It says God “works all things according to the counsel of his will.”
So how will you know when you have met this person that God has sovereignly planned for you to marry? Here are 4 things that will always happen when you meet this specific person.
1. If God Truly Is Revealing “The One” to You, This Relationship Must Be Biblical Because God Never Contradicts Himself
There are two types of “God’s will” in the Scriptures. The first type of God’s will is his “sovereign will.” This is what God predestined to occur and will always happen because God is going to make it happen. The second type of God’s will is God’s “prescribed will.” This is what God has commanded us to do in his word. It is God’s will that we obey God’s word. We can break this type of “God’s will.”
When it comes to what God wants for you, we have to look at the second type of God’s will – his will of command. Why? Because God’s sovereign will works in the sinful choices of people but still produces the outcomes God wants.
No one can fully articulate how God’s will and man’s free will work together, but in Scripture it’s clear that man can break God’s prescribed will while God can still accomplish his sovereign will. This means that God lets us make bad choices and reap negative consequences and still sovereignly produces the exact outcomes he wants. But again, within God’s sovereign plan there will be sinful things that we do and that occur to us, and when we look through the lens of God’s “prescribed will” we know this means things happen that God does not approve of (meaning sin).
All that to say, throughout the course of your life, God will be leading you to accomplish his will by leading you to obey his word – his will of command. Therefore, when we apply this truth to the process of meeting the person he wants you to marry, we can say that when God is leading you to the one he wants for you, he will never tell you to marry someone that he already told you not to marry in his word. For example:
- God would never tell you to marry an unbeliever because in 2 Corinthians 6:14 and 1 Corinthians 7:39 he already commanded us not to do this.
- God would never tell you to marry someone living in sexual sin and who is encouraging you to commit sexual sin because God says it’s his will that we be sanctified from sexual sin in 1 Thessalonians 4:3.
- God would never tell you to marry someone who is abusing you because God commands us to guard our hearts in Proverbs 4:23.
Again, you could choose to marry someone like this but that would not mean God led you to marry this person. It would be a sin to marry someone who God tells you not to marry in his word. When God is leading you to marry the person he wants for you, this relationship will always be biblical because God never contradicts himself, for “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). 2 Timothy 3:16-17 also states:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
2. If God Truly Is Revealing “The One” to You, Your Relationship with This Person Will Be in Obedience to God’s Leading in All Three Ways that You Can Obey God’s Leading
There are essentially three forms of obedience that we need if we want to obey God’s will for our lives – meaning his prescribed will for our lives. The first form of obedience is what we talked about in point 1. This is direct obedience to clear commands in Scripture.
However, there are many big important decisions we will need to make that are not expressly talked about in Scripture. For example, there will be many people you could marry biblically but which God does not want you to marry actually.
So the second type of obedience we need to obey God’s prescribed will for our lives is the obedience to the Holy Spirit’s personal leading in our lives. The Holy Spirit can just tell you to do something or not do something, but more often than not the Spirit will use principles in the word of God to help you make wise choices. So this type of obedience comes down to rightly applying the word to the unique choices you will be faced with as an individual.
The third type of obedience we need to follow God’s prescribe will is what I refer to as the “right pattern of living.” I get this phrase from Romans 12:2 (NIV) which says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world . . .” There is a pattern of living God wants us to avoid and a pattern of living God wants us to follow. In other words, most of the decisions we make in life are completely unconscious.
When we need to apply God’s word to our lives, I’m talking about those decisions which require us to think, pray, and study the Bible to then make the right decision. That’s the second form of obedience I mentions before. Now I’m talking about those instant decisions we make thousands of times a day. God cares about these types of decisions too but he does not expect us to literally bust out the Bible and pray about how to greet someone in the morning, how to respond when our child punches our other child and the situations needs immediate intervention, or when someone cuts you off on the highway. God wants us to make unconscious, holy decisions in moments like these that follow the pattern of a godly life.
The reason I bring this up is because when you meet the one, you will not only be obeying God’s direct commands like we talked about in point 1. You will also be following God’s personal leading. You will be led to choose this relationship because when you think and pray and study the Scriptures as you try to apply God’s word to the decision of whether or not to marry this person, you will feel this is a biblically wise choice and a Holy Spirit led decision.
Not only that, but you will also have a subconscious willingness to want to be with this person. You and this person will have the type of godly interactions with each other that are in alignment with God’s pattern of godliness he wants for you. Your unconscious moment-to-moment interactions in this relationship will be godly. By being with this person you will be avoiding “the pattern of this world” and you will be having the type of healthy interactions together that are a reflection of God’s good and holy nature.
To break it down as simply as I can, when you meet the one God wants for you, you will be obeying God’s leading in your life with all three forms of obedience I just mentioned. (1) It will be blatantly biblical. (2) It will be a biblically wise relationship that the Holy Spirit is giving you peace about. (3) And your natural, subconscious-led interactions with this person will be good and pleasing to God.
(For more on this topic, you can watch John Piper’s sermon called What Is the Will of God and How Do We Know It?)
3. If God Is Truly Revealing “The One” to You, Eventually There Must Be a Mutual Agreement That This Is Happening Between You Both
This is one of the easiest points to understand but from my personal experience of interacting with countless Christian singles, I can say that this is probably the most overlooked sign for when it comes to spotting the person God wants you to marry.
Basically, when you truly meet the one God has for you, everything that we said thus far in this article will also be felt by the other person who you think is the one. If Person A thinks Person B is the one but Person B does not think Person A is the one, then Person B is not the one for person A and Person A is not the one for Person B.
When you truly meet the one, it’s impossible for this belief to not be mutual. It’s possible for someone to doubt it at first. But eventually both people need to want to marry each other, otherwise this is not the one. So if you are wondering if someone is the one but they have already decided that you are not the one, this means this person is not the one for you.
According to 1 Corinthians 7:36-37, God wants marriage to be a personal choice that is made willingly by all involved.
4. If God Is Truly Revealing “The One” to You, You Will Get Married to This Person, Otherwise They Are Not The One
Thus far we’ve primarily talked about the second type of God’s will – God’s prescribed will. But now let’s look at this question through the lens of God’s sovereign will. God’s prescribed will doesn’t always happen. God’s sovereign will always happens because it depends on God’s power and not ours. As Isaiah 14:24 and 27 states, “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand . . . For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?”
Therefore, when you meet the one God has for you, you will marry this person. It’s not possible for you to miss God’s sovereign will. If you do not marry this person, this person was not the one because by the definition I’m using for “the one,” this is the person God has planned for you to marry. And again, when we are talking about God’s sovereign will, God always accomplishes his plan 100% of the time.