My boyfriend and I had been pursuing an intentional relationship for quite some time. He was ready to move forward into engagement. I wasn’t so sure. Despite my uncertainty, I needed to make a decision.
I’d been in the relationship long enough to have all of the facts. I knew the ins and outs of his personality. I knew his strengths. I knew his weaknesses. I knew his likes and dislikes. I knew his convictions. There was only one thing left to figure out: I needed to decide if I wanted to commit to spending the rest of my life with him.
These questions started to bounce around in my mind:
Should we get married?
Are we really better together?
Do we make a great team?
Do we push each other forward?
Does my family think we’re better together?
Do we draw each other closer to Christ?
After much prayer and counsel over the relationship, I decided that he was not the one I wanted to marry. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with him. I truly believed that we were better off separate than together.
Breaking off that relationship was hard—really hard. It was hard saying goodbye to the man I’d just spend months investing in. It was hard to move on knowing I could be single forever. It was hard thinking about starting over. It was hard losing his companionship. Despite the pain and sorrow of the breakup, I am convinced it was the right decision.
Since I’ve received emails directly from some of you asking, “How can I know if he’s the one?” I want to share the questions and thoughts that ultimately helped me make that decision. My prayer is that these questions and thoughts I considered before my breakup will help you answer that question for yourself.
1. Do we encourage each other spiritually?
When I took the time to seriously evaluate this question in my relationship, I realized that we really didn’t encourage each other spiritually. Unfortunately, his spiritual leadership seemed to lag as the relationship continued on. He would talk about wanting to make Christ the focus, but couldn’t seem to follow through on making Him a regular part of our lives. This became a red flag for me. While my relationship with Christ is ultimately my responsibility, I wanted to marry a man who inspired me to grow closer to Christ.
2. Is Christ the focus of our relationship?
When the relationship first started, Christ was our shared central focus. As the relationship continued on, we became the central focus. Everything was about us—our feelings, our interests, our love for each other. Us, us, us. I soon realized that our relationship was actually built upon a foundation of infatuation and self, not on Christ. This wasn’t all my boyfriend’s fault. I got caught up in focusing on us, too. Watch out for relationships that focus on you rather than on Christ.
3. Does my family support our relationship?
The relationship seemed to start off well, and my family was very supportive. As things continued, my family began to notice inconsistencies. They began to wonder if he was truly a great match for me, and they told me so. Toward the end of the relationship, my entire family (every sibling and parent) was on the same page that this relationship was not best for me. After praying and observing, they all (at individual and different times) shared their concerns and advised me to end it.
Wow! Talk about a clear red flag. While it wasn’t easy, I took their wisdom and input seriously and came to see that their concerns were very much true. If the people who know and love you most express concerns over your relationship, listen.
4. Does he respect my purity?
When we first started a relationship, he was very honorable and respectful. As the relationship progressed, his guard came down and I began to see deeper into his character and heart. His respect for my purity began to fade, and I soon realized that his words were just that—words. They weren’t so much a core conviction but more of the right words to say to get me to like him. If your boyfriend pushes you to compromise physically or seems to stick to certain standards just to please you rather than to please Christ, pay attention.
5. Do we share a similar vision and passion for life?
Toward the end of our relationship, I started to realize that we didn’t share a similar vision and passion for life. Yes, we were both Christians. Yes, we both went to church, but that was about it. He didn’t share my drive and passion for ministry and discipleship. I wanted to marry a man who was passionate about building God’s kingdom.
Let’s Be Honest
While the process wasn’t easy, answering those questions helped me to figure out that this was not the right relationship for me to commit to for a lifetime. I look back and am so grateful that I was willing to be honest with myself and call it off.
If you are currently in a relationship, I hope you will take the time to answer those questions for yourself. Maybe you’ve heard the saying “fools rush in.” It is unwise to leap before you really look at the situation through the eyes of wisdom. Ask for the Lord’s help. Consult older, wiser voices, and take the time to figure out if this is the man you truly want to commit your life to.
We can start that dialogue right now:
What qualities are you looking for in a future husband?
What questions have you asked yourself in trying to discern if he’s “the one”?