I’m somewhat of an anomaly among my friends and family. That’s not to say that I’m special, but my life's journey looks a little different than most of theirs, particularly because I married my wife Jessica at the age of 21.
I met Jess in Germany while at Bible School, or, as some people call it, Bridal School. I never thought I would be one of those people, and I certainly didn’t go there to meet someone. I went for the experience, not knowing what, or whom, I would encounter. After spending two years together in Germany (studying in the school and then working for the school and completing an internship at local church), we returned to Canada engaged. The rest, I suppose, is history.
Some of you may be surprised, but for others this may be normal. When it comes down to it, it’s really just a matter of context. Either way, one of the most frequently asked questions I get is how I knew, especially at the budding age of 21, that Jess was the “one.” She receives this question probably as much as I do.
I’ve always found this to be interesting. Sometimes people ask it because they are curious about our story; other times it's because they want to know for themselves how they can be sure if they have found the right “one.” So Jess and I thought we would do our part to answer this question. Here are our answers, which were written without the other person's knowledge.
I have always believed that God has His hand in the significant relationships of my life. There are many moments when I experience His love through my interactions with others, including my relationship with Moses. Before I married Moses I did believe that we were right for each other. How did I know that? Well, to name a few reasons, we are both followers of Jesus, have a lot in common, share a deep friendship built on trust and humility, and put up with each other's quirks! Our relationship blossomed and continued to grow, even through trying times. We endured some very low points together and came out even stronger. We did ministry together intensively during the first year and a half of our dating relationship, which allowed us to be vulnerable and see God do some incredible work. I knew that we complemented each other beautifully in both godly character and human imperfection.
Does all of this mean that we were "meant for each other" from the very beginning? I don't think so exactly. I believe that God knew in His grand plan that we would come together, but that doesn't mean we had no say in the matter. I believe that God gave us the free will to choose and commit to one another in marriage. We could have chosen a number of different paths, but we chose each other. Now that we have taken that step, we are joined for life. There is no longer the question of whether Moses is the "one" for me. He is my husband and I have made a lifelong commitment to stick with him through it all.
Almost a decade ago, we began a friendship built on our faith in Jesus. Now it's been nearly 7 years since our 21-year-old selves said our vows. Our relationship continues to grow because we say "yes" to each other every single day. As I told Moses on our wedding day, "If we cling to Jesus and put Him first through everything that comes our way, we will forever be fulfilled and have the love we need to keep going."
I don’t think Jess was the “one.” Let me explain. I don’t think Jess and I were “meant” to be together. Oh my.
It sounds horrible, but for me, what’s in question is not the depth of our love for each other or the fact that we want to be together. The reason I don’t believe Jess is the “one” is because I don’t believe any “one” exists. That doesn’t mean that certain couples don't fit well together or complement each other, but this question oozes predestination.
To say that Jess and I were meant to be together assumes there is a larger plan (perhaps God’s plan) that determined that we are supposed to be married. All things considered, this is a great sentiment and I see how it might make sense. Jess and I both went to the same school, ended up on the same sing team, and were chosen for the same internship. It seems like everything worked out for us to be together. How could she not be the “one?”
This idea is wonderful when things go well in a relationship, but so often it can be used as an excuse to break commitments and leave families. If someone is the “one” for you, then, by default, it also means that others are not. So what happens when you marry the wrong “one?” What happens when you reach that conclusion 20 years into your marriage after meeting a younger, more attractive person?
The other problem I have with Jess and I seeing ourselves as “meant to be together,” is that it eliminates our choice. Is Jess only with me because she was predestined to be? Does she really love me or is she just stuck with the “one?” Does this mean I can do anything I want because she can never leave me since it was God’s plan for us to be together?
I don’t believe that we ever have the “one” out there waiting for us. I believe that when we marry someone, they become the “one.” The commitments we make to each other signify our exclusivity to one another. This is not something that simply happens, but something we need to choose and continuously work at. Our relationship is something we will only grow deeper in if we submit to one another and intentionally try to make it work.
I love the fact that Jess chose me because she loves me and wants to be with me. I love the fact that she is committed to being together and working through the hard times. I want her to know that I also chose her, that I value her greatly, and that I want us to spend the rest of our lives together.