Here are 5 awkward things that often need to happen when God is revealing the one to you.
1. When God Leads You to the One, There Is Often an Awkward Season of Expressing Interest and Gauging Interest
Everyone’s story is different. Some people just click instantly and there is no awkwardness at all. But for the vast majority of couples, this is not the case.
As Christians, we know that God has a plan for our lives, including when it comes to our future marriages. But we have a tendency to romanticize what this process will look like which causes the reality of the situation when it actually occurs to be very confusing sometimes.
For example, you may think that God will reveal the one by allowing you two to have instant chemistry that is clear and straightforward. But more often than not, God will allow you two to go through a very awkward “feeling out” process at the beginning of your connection.
When you really take a step back and look at the reality of marriage, it makes sense that God starts most relationships off with confusion and awkwardness because throughout their future marriage there will always be a need to communicate and express inner feelings because your spouse won’t magically know what you are thinking just because you are married. So it should be no surprise that right from the beginning of your relationship, God will force you two to communicate and express your inner feelings verbally and with actions rather than just waiting for the other person to read your mind.
Notice the link between learning to speak the truth in love and maturing as a Christian found in Ephesians 4:15, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ . . . .”
Your future spouse won’t be able to read your mind in marriage, they won’t be able to read your mind in dating, and they won’t be able to read your mind before dating. So you two will have to go through that awkward stage of expressing interest and gauging interest before you become an official couple.
2. Before the Relationship Can Get “Serious,” There Needs to Be a DTR, Which Can Often Be Awkward
A DTR stands for a “define the relationship” talk. There are different levels to these types of conversations. My rule of thumb is that anytime you want the relationship to go to a different level, there usually needs to be a DTR.
So when you go from non-dating to dating, you have to have a DTR. Or when you go from dating to engaged, you have to have a DTR. But one phase that often gets overlooked which then causes a long period of unnecessary confusion is the need for a DTR so a couple can go from “just dating” to being in a “serious” relationship.
When I use the phrase “serious relationship,” I’m referring to that type of relationship that is still before engagement but the couple is clearly very connected with each other and starting to think about marriage. They are not totally sure the other person is “the one,” but they are hoping they are and they are starting to believe they are.
But this is a very vulnerable time in the relationship because during dating you are in this balancing act of opening up to someone while still guarding your heart because you know you are not married yet. So eventually there needs to be a conversation that can be awkward about where this thing is going. Someone needs to break the ice and say, “So, it seems like we are getting really serious and possibly headed towards marriage one day. I’m not saying we should get engaged right now, but I just want to see if we are on the same page and feel like we are both headed in the same direction on this journey together.”
Again, that’s just an example. You two will have to use your own words. But before you can go from dating to engaged, there is usually an awkward middle phase that redefines the relationship as more than being just a casual boyfriend a girlfriend into a couple who are seriously considering marriage in the somewhat near future. You are not ready to commit to marriage yet, but you are also clearly headed in the direction.
As Song of Solomon 2:7 (NIV) states, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” This verse implies that there is a process to fully awakening love. There’s a time that is not right and then there is a time that is right. And along the journey, there will need to be some conversations that can feel awkward.
3. When You Meet The One, Relevant Past Relationship Information Needs to Be Shared Along With Relevant Future Goals
One question that pops into my email box now and then goes something like this, “I’m starting to get serious with this person I really like, but I don’t know how much I need to share about my past relationship sins. What should I say or not say?”
This is one of those types of questions I don’t think there is a clear right or wrong answer to. Usually people are referring to past sexual sins. What often happened was that someone sinned sexually in their past, perhaps with many people, but then they later came back to the Lord and repented. Now they are walking with the Lord and prepared to be in a godly relationship. They meet a godly person, but they wonder how much of their former life they need to share with this person.
Again, I don’t want to say you have to share this detail from your past or you have to share that detail from your past. I don’t think there is a clear rule here that makes this a right or wrong issue. But here’s a few principles I think you should follow:
- Never lie (Ephesians 4:25). If someone asks you if you are a virgin and you are not, then don’t lie. That doesn’t mean you need to share specific details about your sinful past, but you also both need to know enough to know whether or not you want to be together or not.
- Remember the gospel promise of new life. If someone wants to judge you based on your past life of sin, this is a sign you should probably not be with them because they don’t understand the power of the gospel to truly change our hearts (1 John 1:9, 2 Corinthians 5:17, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
- Treat others how you want to be treated (Luke 6:31). If there is something in your past that you would want to know if this person had that in their past, this is a good sign you should talk about it.
The other part to this type of conversation is the future. The past is what it is. But the future is moldable. This means there is room to compromise with each other. But if you know there is a clear direction you will be walking towards in the future, then it’s best to make this clear before you two get so connected that this person feels blindsided one day. If you know you are going to med school, going to the mission field, or going to move to a different state, these are the types of things you need to share.
It can be awkward to talk about the past and the future with someone you are not yet fully committed to, but when God reveals the one, eventually you two will have to have these types of difficult conversations.
For more on this topic, you may want to read my article called, When, Why, and How to Talk About Your Past Sexual Sins with Your New Christian Partner.
4. When You Meet The One, Eventually You Need to Discuss Your Philosophy of Marriage
When someone goes through seminary, eventually they are required to write a paper that is usually titled with something like, “Philosophy of Ministry.” As Bible-believing Christians, there are certain truths and practices that unite us that we can all agree on. But if you’ve gone to more than one church in your life, you will quickly realize there are many things each ministry does differently. There will be some key similarities and some key differences. For example, some churches are fine doing topical preaching sermons while other churches believe in only preaching through books of the Bible. This would be a part of their “philosophy of ministry.”
Likewise, when it comes to marriage, there are many things all Bible-believing Christians need to agree on. For example, being faithful to your husband or wife is non-negotiable (Exodus 20:14). But, when it comes to the roles of a husband and wife, there will be some differences between the different Christian couples out there. Long story short, there are countless issues that can be very important to some people. When you meet the one, you two will need to talk about your philosophy of marriage. How do you both view a “healthy marriage,” what do you want to accomplish together as a couple, how do you want to raise children, and so on?
Sometimes these conversations make it clear that the person you thought was the one is not really the one. It can be awkward, but before you can fully commit to someone in marriage, it is very wise to first talk about your beliefs about marriage and how it should look.
5. When You Meet The One, You Two Will Need to Make Sure You Are Actually Spiritually Compatible
“Compatibility” is truly an overrated term in my view when it comes to the ingredients of a healthy relationship. What I mean is that there are healthy couples who are very similar to each other and there are healthy couples who are very different than one another. The personal traits that make us all unique are important. But the keys to a healthy relationship are not dependent on personal preferences; they are dependent on character and spiritual maturity in Christ.
With that said, “spiritual compatibility” is different (2 Corinthians 6:14, Philippians 2:2-5). This isn’t about what type of worship music you enjoy or what type Bible studies you like most. Rather, this is about your core beliefs as a Christian. Are you two compatible enough in your spirituality and Christian beliefs to be a healthy married couple that enjoys life together? That is not always an easy question to answer, and thus there needs to be some difficult and sometimes awkward conversations about core beliefs.
There are basically three main tiers when it comes to spiritual differences. If you don’t know about these three tiers, I encourage you to read this article right here: Theological Differences in Dating and Marriage and How to Handle Both. This article will help you learn what type of differences are grounds to go your separate ways or to simply compromise on.