I suppose a romance writer should believe in finding ‘the one’, believe that only one person in the whole world is ‘right’ for another, believe that happily ever after only happens if the right prince charming comes along. But the truth is I don’t believe in all of that. I do think that there is ‘the one’, but it doesn’t look the way Hollywood portrays.
That idea of there being one person in all the world for each individual has been an excuse for many failed marriages. ‘He wasn’t the one’ or ‘I need to find the one‘. But it’s all a lie. There’s not some mystical person that exists out there who will make our lives a wonderful, magical place where there is no arguing or strife, where money is never tight, and calories in chocolate don’t count. No matter who it is that we are with we will have heartache and happiness, little and much, arguing and peace. That’s why our wedding vows are filled with the extremes – sickness/health, richer/poorer, good/bad – it covers them all.
After saying all of that though, I do believe that Joel is ‘my one’. Sounds like an oxymoron, right? I was only 19 years old when I said my wedding vows to Joel, but I meant every word – ‘forsaking all others’, ’til death parts us’. He is my one now because he is the one I said those vows to. There is no other, there is no plan b. It’s him and me until death separates us – and I pray that is a long time from now.
Since he is my one I can’t treat our marriage as if it’s a secondary concern. The kids are important, but one day they will leave and it will be just the two of us again. So how does one make marriage a priority?
Pray for each other. I’ve found that praying for Joel reminds me that he is a faulty human being. It seems like that should be obvious, after all I’ve lived with this man for nearly 19 years, but at times I find that I hold him to a higher standard, certainly higher than I hold myself to. He’s supposed to read my mind, think about me constantly, put me first in all things, and be amazing. (Is my self-absorption showing?) Praying for Joel reminds me that Joel is human and so am I. He has weaknesses and faults, and God is still working on him – just like He is still working on me. Have you ever tried to stay mad at someone you are praying for? It’s really hard to do.
Have deep conversations. Discuss politics and religion. Confess shortcomings and worries. Debate each other (respectfully, of course). These are ways to know each other deeply, grow to respect one another in new ways, and find ways to pray for each other. When I’ve talked to Joel and I know he’s concerned about something getting done at work, I’m able to pray for him. When I tell him that I don’t know what to do with a particular student who is acting out, he knows how to pray for me.
Date each other. I know it’s not easy, especially when your up to your knees in diapers and toys, but try to find time. Even if your date night is watching one episode of a TV show after the kids go to sleep or sneaking a bowl of ice cream during nap time, find some way to work it in. Those alone times are wonderful for growing relationships. And it does get easier. When the kids are older it gets easier to leave them with friends or family – and eventually they can even take care of themselves. You might be able sneak away for a weekend on occasion as well (anniversary trip?).
Pour into each other. I already confessed that I can be a bit self-absorbed. Our relationship is a lot better when I pour into him, and when I do, I find that he pours into me, too. Learn each other’s love language (if you don’t know what it is, find an online test). One of Joel’s love languages is quality time. When he starts getting short with me, it is almost always because we haven’t had time together in a while. After I make time for him, things get better.
The last thing I want to point out about ‘the one’ is that there is one person out there who will satisfy you in ways you’ve never imagined. His name is Jesus, and He loves you more than any human being will ever love you. If you don’t know Him, I pray that you will find someone who will tell you about Him, because He is worth finding.