HOW WILL I KNOW?
The night that I sat on my bed journaling, I got this rushing sense of ‘knowing.” It was like Truth had been direct deposited into me; a sudden download of perspective on the matter of my life and how it would intertwine with someone else’s and make sense. I felt quite calm sitting there, my journal sprawled open on the bed and the pen in my hand. I remember suddenly smiling in amazement.
I went back to my college at the end of Christmas break and broke up with my boyfriend Rob.
Then, just 3 weeks later, Bill asked me to marry him.
When it comes to knowing if you’ve found The One, most people think you should first answer the question, “But do I love him? Or Do I love her enough to marry her?”
We think Love will lead the way to us knowing whether we should spend the rest of our life with someone. And obviously we want Love to be the primary motivator of our lasting relationship.
But there’s something just as important as Love, when it comes to KNOWING if you have the right person.
And that’s Peace. And I don’t mean the soft, ethereal froth some equate with passivity.
Philippians 4:6-8 tells us that in every anxious and perplexing situation, we should talk to God about the situation we’re in and we’ll get perspective and peace. Then it goes on to describe how we’ll experience peace and the results of peace. It gives a list of things we should bask in, mediate on, and walk in. And the list starts with “Whatever is true, whatever is….”
Truth is part of peace. Truth gets you to peace. And obviously, that’s a good word, right? People love talking about Peace. We love the idea of feeling peaceful. It’s all about white doves and hugs and non-violence, we think.
Here’s the problem, though: to have Peace, you’ve got to keep the truth, and walk in the truth. And Truth is nothing like the supposedly gentle, cottony soft cousin of Peace.
LET’S GET REAL
Truth can be disturbing and heartbreaking, at times. Like when you have to confess something that you know will change everything. Try telling your husband the truth of your childhood traumas that affect you still in your intimate times together. Or go ahead and finally tell your wife about your struggle with Porn or your addiction to gambling. These are not easy things to share. They’re certainly not the things we share when we’re first dating and want to impress each other.
Truth can also be uncomfortable and awkward. My husband asked me to marry him after only three weeks of dating. Talk about a whirlwind romance. Emphasis on the whirlwind part mainly. I knew this was the man for me. I knew I could trust him. But my emotions said it was all too fast. My fears leapt up in revolt. I was all over the place, emotionally, during our engagement. It was awkward and uncomfortable, at times. And he never wavered. He seemed quite comfortable almost with my awkward anxiety and constant questions.
But we’ve got plenty of opportunities for being awkward and uncomfortable the rest of our lives. Try tell your spouse about your secret credit card debt. Or try telling your husband how you lost your retirement savings on a bad financial investment. If you really want to get honest, try admitting how jealous you feel over all the attention your wife gives the baby now– attention that you used to get from her. Who wants to show their true petty feelings or their battles with insecurity?
A Relationship built on the foundation of truth will have to deal with truth continually, and that means dealing with the disturbing, the uncomfortable, the heartbreaking, and the awkward.
But Truth is also powerful and liberating. Try telling your husband that you forgive him for the money he lost in the stock market. Take a deep breath and tell your wife that you’re glad she’s told you about the potential office romance and that the two of you will work through this together. Practise giving your spouse grace when they tell you something they’re ashamed of and you’ll see how truth has set you free.
Truth is also settling and convicting. It can motivate you to dig in deep to live out your marriage vows. You’ll look your spouse in the eyes and tell them you are going to be there no matter what. And telling her that while you both are at your lowest point is like telling her she won the lottery. And in a way, she has.
Truth is also inspiring. You’ll wind up sharing your story with other couples and encouraging them to not lose heart so quickly when feelings of the heart start to wane. You’ll tell them that Love is about more than Feelings. And when you walk in the truth, you’ll let God do a work of love and forgiveness in you so that you can love others more freely.
SO, REALLY, HOW WILL I KNOW?
So let’s get back to the guy you’re dating and how you’re trying to figure out if you found the One.
And let’s talk about the One you have already married and why you should renew your conviction that you are with the right One.
More than loving this person, can you be yourself with this person? Being yourself is more than just having bad hair days, or times of squabbling. This is about the raw, real you.
My husband knows about my past with Anorexia, my propensity for over analyzing till I’m paralyzed, my bouts with Anxiety that made me sick to my stomach and sick at heart. But he didn’t learn these things after marriage. For some reason, these were the things I first started telling him when I’d go to the library to see if he was there, to see if maybe we would wind up talking. And we talked, alright. I got free counseling, we joke. He got a wife, eventually. He got me, and let’s just say he didn’t have to read any fine print. He knew what he was getting.
But being yourself with someone isn’t just about unburdening yourself. That sounds so lovely and freeing. It’s also about failing the other person at times. I’ve failed my husband and he has failed me too. Small disappointments, expectations that were dashed. Smoldering anger. Human error. It’s all part of you being you. With someone else right there to experience you in all your…failures.
Failing each other is part of the human condition. But can you talk about the times where you failed each other or hurt each other? Can you get up again and move on, past the pain, hand in hand, with grace?
Cause that’s Love, people. That’s how you know you’re with the right One. Because you are as real as you can get…with that person. You are yourself, and you are your best self, with them. But sometimes you are also the worst version of yourself, with them.
They’ve seen it all, and they are not calculating how much more they can stand. They’re not coldly analyzing if you’re exceeding your frailty limit.
The truth of the matter is, they get you. They know you.
That’s what I felt with my husband early on, in the talks we had at the library, during the drive home in his car. He listened to me. He listened so well that I opened up so much. It almost felt like too much. He looked at me and saw the real me. It took some time for me to get used to this aspect of love, this amount of truth. It takes time for trust to be developed. But there was a solid foundation already there.
There was this incredible peace in my heart, right from the start. The crazy thing is, along with peace, I did experience times of fear and anxiety. Remember, truth can be unsettling. Uncomfortable, even. I felt awkward, at times, letting him see me for who I really am.
But then Trust was developed over time. Love grew, surrounded by powerful peace. And the day I said “I do” to my husband at the altar, was the day I spoke truthfully, with clear eyes. I saw him for who he was. He looked at me and slipped the ring on my finger with a smile.
Now sometimes the most romantic thing we tell each other isn’t the proverbial “I love you.”
Sometimes we hold hands and look at each other in the eyes.
His eyes will tell me, “I know you.”
And I don’t even look away.