How do I know he’s the one? How do I know I’m ready to get married? How can I possibly be sure when he’s the only man I’ve ever loved?
You’d think those questions would have plagued me as a twenty-one year old bride. I never thought I’d get married young. I never wanted to.
Wasn’t I too young? Too hopeful? Too naive to marry the first man I had ever loved… let alone dated?
As a little girl, I would pull petals off the daisies growing in the field behind our house, reciting the capricious childhood rhyme he loves me… he loves me not… he loves me… he loves me not. Those same petal-pulling wrists that firmly gripped my bridal bouquet no longer felt the need to question it. I looked at my reflection in the mirror, dressed in white with fresh daisies in my hair, and I’d never been more certain of anything in my life.
He was the one I wanted to become one with.
But was I ready?
My husband Joseph and I fell in love in during our college-days. It was a long-distance relationship via spotty Skype calls and pay-by-the-character text messages. We would spend hours talking on the phone every single night and did not miss out on the prime opportunity afforded by long distance romance: handwritten love letters. We wrote pages and pages of romantic correspondence that are saved in a little box to this day.
He popped the question during Christmas break, and we tied the knot the summer after graduation. It was a blissful blur of celebrations, happy feelings, and young love.
But at only 21 years old, was I ready to be a wife? The new title still sounded terrifying. And, no matter how many times I’d practiced writing my soon-to-be name in the margins of my favorite notebook, Mrs. Giovannucci reminded me more of my future mother-in-law than another name for myself.
According to the 2020 US Census, the average American woman gets married at the age 28. And that has certainly been true of my friend group. Barely out of my teen years, I was the odd one out. And statistics weren’t in my favor, either. The data shows that those who wait until they are 25 years or older are 24 percent less likely to get divorced. Young marriages often begin with immature passion and end with it too.
So how did I know I was ready? In a way I wasn’t. But we were.
Marriage takes two people, and we were ready to do it together.
Commitment brings confidence
People think they need to be confident in order to be committed. But it’s often the other way around. When we decided to get married, we weren’t sure where we’d live, where he’d get accepted to school, what I’d do for a job, or how many kids we wanted to have. But we knew one thing: we would do it together. Life is full of so many unknowns which is why marriage is meant to come before cohabitation and family. Our willingness to commit to each other brought the confidence we needed to face life together.
And seven years later, I don’t have a doubt in my mind that he was the one. How do I know? Because getting married isn’t so much about finding the one. It’s about becoming one. The two become one. And together, that commitment builds confidence.
On Bec0ming One
Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.“
Every time my husband dresses our little girl in her church clothes while I rush around the house trying to get out the door, I know. Every time he helps set the table before company comes so our home can be full of love and laughter, I know. Every time he shares his new favorite song so I can sing along, every time he waits for me to come to bed before he turns out the lights, every time he makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world, I know. Every time he pulls over to help someone at the scene of an accident or tells me how he visited our dying neighbor in Hospice, I know we are one.
It isn’t one thing.
It’s all the things.
It’s moving through life together with intimacy and intentionality. It’s looking at each other, not with rose colored glasses, but with the faded warmth of vintage photographs.
This is the marriage, this is the life we are building together – the life we will one day look back on with a photo album’s worth of memories.
The unity of marriage is not simply for our own sake. It’s for our children. For our neighbors. For our church. For our world. We do not merely gaze romantically into each other’s eyes like sweethearts at a 50’s diner. We passionately gaze together in the same direction. When you do marriage God’s way – you do not simply ask what can they do for me? Or what can I do for them? But what can we do together… for the glory of God?
On our wedding day we sang the old hymn “Take My Life and Let it Be”. You’re probably well acquainted with the familiar tune. The very last verse was our prayer, praying that our love would always be Ever, Only, All for Thee.
"Take my life, and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee; Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in ceaseless praise, Let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my hands, and let them move At the impulse of Thy love; Take my feet and let them be Swift and beautiful for Thee, Swift and beautiful for Thee. Take my voice, and let me sing Always, only, for my King; Take my lips, and let them be Filled with messages from Thee, Filled with messages from Thee. Take my silver and my gold; Not a mite would I withhold; Take my intellect, and use Every power as Thou shalt choose, Every power as Thou shalt choose. Take my will, and make it Thine; It shall be no longer mine. Take my heart; it is Thine own; It shall be Thy royal throne, It shall be Thy royal throne. Take my love; my Lord, I pour At Thy feet its treasure-store. Take myself, and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee, Ever, only, all for Thee."