I am not an expert on marriage and dating. So, before you scroll down to find these two magical questions please read a couple disclaimers.
First, you should take what I write on this subject with a grain of salt, since, as a single person I obviously don’t know for sure what is the best way to know when you have found ‘the one’ and I could even completely disagree with what I write by the time I get married. That being said, I have talked about this with a number of people both married and single and they agree this is a pretty good set of questions, so I must not be totally out to left field.
Second, I think the idea of ‘the one’ is much more damaging than helpful. I purposely avoided using the phrase in the title and if you’re interested in my thoughts on that check out Why the idea of ‘The One’ screws up your dating life and can screw up your married life.
Finally, I should mention that in general when it comes to dating I hate formulas. I’ve heard about every formula under the sun when it comes to knowing you’ve found the ‘the one’: “Marry your best friend”, “run the race God has for you and then see who is running with you and that person could be your spouse”, “you’re going to fight with the person you marry the rest of your life, so marry the person you want to fight with the rest of your life” or “When you find ‘the one’ you’ll just know”. Yet, despite having a rather limited experience of dating I can say I’ve dated someone who fits any of those formulas and probably any other I haven’t listed. So yeah, I usually hate formulas for finding ‘the one’ as much as the next guy. Yet, here I am throwing out my own, and as a single guy no-less.
So… if those qualifications haven’t made you think what I am about to say is completely worthless. . . Here are the questions:
Are they a wise choice?
Do I want to make it work with them?
The reason I think these questions are extremely helpful is that they are flexible. What is wise for you in finding a spouse may not be wise for me, and what I am willing to work with in a relationship may not be the things you are willing to work with in a relationship.
With that in mind, there are some details that I think these questions should make you think about.
Are they a wise choice?
Sometimes as Christians we think that what is wise as simply making sure someone is a Christian and we stop there. But being equally yoked goes beyond just belief but also where you are in your relationship with the Lord. Is one of you going to be constantly pulling the other along spiritually? Do you both want to have kids? Do you both want biological kids or do you want to adopt? Do you want to live abroad? Do you both have the same expectations financially? Who will stay home with the kids? Do you want pets? You get the idea.
These are all questions that have a significant impact on how your life will look, and therefore to make a wise decision you must talk these things over with anyone you considering marrying.
Do you want to make it work with them?
This question is entirely dependant on you. So much of who you are, what you want, and what you’re willing to work with guides this question.
The fact of it is, marriage is difficult, it is work, but do you want to work through those things with this person to make the marriage last? You’re not going to find someone who is exactly like you, and so in the things you are different in are you wanting to work through them to make the relationship work?
You may find you click on about everything you can imagine but you but heads with their family every hour on the hour. Is your desire to make it work stronger than the difficulty that will bring? Perhaps you’re an extrovert and their an introvert, are you both able figure out compromises to make sure you bother are emotionally healthy? Is there something there, even if you can’t put your finger on it, that tells you, ‘I just don’t really care if this works?’ If you don’t care it’s probably a sign you are wanting to make it work.
I don’t know if these two questions are a silver bullet to finding your spouse, but as someone who generally analyzes the crap out of things and can have difficulty discerning what to do in a relationship, I can tell you this has simplified my dating life tremendously.
I am usually the type that can sit there and analyze every aspect of a relationship and every memory with that person trying to discern if I should keep trying or if I made a mistake in giving up. I’ll even analyze if me analyzing the relationship is the reason it didn’t work! As I’ve used these questions to guide me I’ve found myself very easily walking away from relationships knowing my answer to one of these questions is no. I’ve also found myself feeling very clear-minded if I want to pursue something with a girl based on being able to answer, at least from what I know of the girl at the time, yes to both of these questions.
It’s been a huge help to me personally and hopefully, this can help you along the way too. If not, I sure would like to know why you found it doesn’t work so I can save myself the trouble too. Until then, happy hunting.