A couple years after my wedding day, I headed out of town for a work event. As I walked into the meeting room, I stopped so quickly the person behind me just about ran into me. There sitting on a chair was James, my college ex-boyfriend. Talk about unexpected! It was the first time we’d seen each other since college. I felt like rubbing my eyes a few times to be sure I wasn’t seeing things. James was as pleasant as could be, and (after the shock wore off) it was kind of fun to hear where he’d ended up.
Later as I pondered the chance encounter, I realized all over again that I don’t miss him. Oh, we had a good relationship way back when. James is a great guy who made me laugh. And we had a lot in common—not the least of which was a shared love of God and of music.
But when I look at how my life story has turned out, I realize God had a far better plan for me to marry my husband, Dave. So much better, in fact, that I want to wipe my forehead and say “Phew, thanks for saving me from the other choice!”
Dave and I have been married for fourteen years and three months. In our marriage lifetime we’ve inhabited five houses, driven ten different cars, worked fourteen jobs between us, and lived in three states ranging across 2,100 miles. And the best part? We love each other better now than the day we stood on the church platform in a tuxedo and fancy white gown.
So when the statistics warn that 50% of even Christian marriages end in divorce, how is it possible to find—and keep—the right one?
Finding the right one to begin with certainly helps! Here are five signs that you have found the one.
1. Spiritual growth
The first sign that you have found the one is that the two of you are still growing with God. Neither of you is resting on past godliness or expecting the other to be the sole spiritual one in the relationship. You’re both committed to God and know that your individual relationships with Him are your own responsibility. Personal spiritual growth lays the solid foundation for growth as a couple and for ultimate success in marriage too.
2. Love that endures
Marriage has its ups and downs, and every marriage will pass through different seasons – seasons of joy, plenty, sorrow, tight budgets, and perhaps even in-law drama. Another sign that you have found the one is that you love each other through every season—the good days, the bad days, and the “meh” days in between. Your love for each other is the kind of love that endures. A love that is based on who the other person is, not on peripheral things like how he acts or what she does for you or even how happy you feel together. Enduring love is based on the truth of who the other person is. It’s the deepest, truest kind of love because it’s patterned after the love God has for us.
3. Common enjoyment and inspiration
A couple who is right for each other truly likes being together. That may sound silly at first, but glance around and you’ll find a whole lot of couples who don’t appear to like each other all that much.
If you and your spouse enjoy some things in common, like being in each other’s company, and continue to inspire each other, that’s a beautiful sign you are dating the right one! Whether it’s hiking, trying the new restaurant downtown, or just laughing at the same silly sitcom, you enjoy being together. And if through that connection you inspire laughter and enjoyment of life, that’s definitely a good sign.
4. Values that align
This is one of the biggies that often gets overlooked. A crucial sign that you are dating the right person is that you two are a values match. This means the two of you think the same intangibles are important. For my husband and me that’s things like faith, authenticity, creativity, inspiration, never speaking badly about your spouse to another person, being lifelong learners, going big for God.
When you and your spouse align in values, you will pursue life in a way that’s compatible because you consider similar things important. A similar life view makes for strong connection which helps to create a lasting bond—the kind of bond lifelong marriages are made of.
5. Better together than apart
And the biggest sign that you have found the one is that the two of you are better together than apart. In this wild, crazy ride we call life, you’ve discovered that you handle life best side by side. You know deep down that God created you with the other in mind, and you are convinced to the depths of your soul that you can affect the world for God best as a team. You are stronger, smarter, braver, kinder, better versions of yourselves together. And you can happily say, “O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together” (Psalm 34:3).