My husband is not my soul mate.

It might seem odd that on this, our one-year anniversary, I am beginning a post with the declaration that my husband is not my soul mate. But he isn’t.WegmannWedding161

I wouldn’t want to imagine life without James. I enjoy being with him more than anyone else in this world. I love him more than I ever thought you could love someone, and I miss him whenever I am not with him. I wouldn’t want to married to anyone else other than James, which is good, because I plan on being married to him forever, and he has to let me die first.

But I reject the entire premise of soul mates.

WegmannWedding294Do you remember those awesome Evangelical 90’s/ early 2000’s where Jesus was kind of like our boyfriend and we all kissed dating good-bye because we just knew that God was going to bring us THE ONE and then life would be awesome? And THE ONE would most likely be a worship minister, or at the very least a youth pastor, and we would have to be in college when we would meet at some sort of rally to save children from disease or something. We would know that he was THE ONE because of his plethora of WWJD bracelets and because (duh) he had also kissed dating goodbye and was waiting for me, strumming Chris Tomlin songs on his guitar as he stared into whatever campfire was nearby. We would get married and it would be awesome FOREVER. If you were like me, in devote preparation for this moment, you wrote letters to your future spouse, preferably in a leather bound journal dotted with your overwhelmed tears. Yes, I actually did that. Suffice to say that I found this journal over Christmas break and it was so embarrassingly awful and emotional that I couldn’t even read it out-loud to James because I was crying from laughing so hard.

But then my theologian biblical scholar father shattered my dreams by informing me that God doesn’t have a husband for me, doesn’t have a plan for who I marry. NOT TRUE I scolded him, attacking him with the full force of Jeremiah 29:11 that God “knows the plans he has for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a hope and a future,” and obviously that means a hott Christian husband because God “delights in giving me the desires of my heart.”  He slammed through my horrible (yet popular) biblical abuse by reminding me that the first verse applied to the people of Israel in regards to a specific time and just didn’t even dignify my horrible abuse of the second verse with a rebuttal. Nope, he said, a husband is not only not a biblical promise, it is also not a specific element of God’s “plan for my life.” God’s plan is for us to be made more holy, more like Christ… not marry a certain person. (This advice was also used when I asked what college God wanted me to go to, accompanied I think by, “God doesn’t want you to be an idiot, so go somewhere you will learn.” )WegmannWedding295

And then he gave me some of the best relationship advice I ever got: There is no biblical basis to indicate that God has one soul mate for you to find and marry. You could have a great marriage with any number of compatible people. There is no ONE PERSON for you. But once you marry someone, that person becomes your one person. As for compatibility, my mom would always pipe up when my girlfriends and I were making our lists of what we wanted in a spouse (dear well meaning Christian adults who thought this would help us not date scumbags: that was a bad idea and wholly unfair to men everywhere) that all that really mattered was that he loved the lord, made you laugh, and was someone you to whom you were attracted. The rest is frosting.

This is profoundly unromantic advice. We love to hear of people who “just can’t help who they love,” or people who “fall in love,” or “find the one person meant for them.”  Even within the Christian circle, we love to talk about how God “had someone” for someone else for all of time. But what happens to these people when the unstoppable and uncontrollable force that prompted them to start loving, lets them stop loving, or love someone else?  WegmannWedding317

What happens is a world where most marriages end in divorce, and even those that don’t are often unhappy.

My marriage is not based on a set of choices over which I had no control. It is based on a daily choice to love this man, this husband that I chose out of many people that I could have chosen to love (in theory, don’t imagine that many others were lined up and knocking at the door). He is not some elusive soul mate, not some divine fullfulment, not some perfect step on the rigorously laid out but of so secret “Plan for My Life.”WegmannWedding323

But he is the person that I giggly chose to go out on a date with in college. He is the person who chose to not dump me when I announced that I was moving to France for a year, then Kentucky for another year. He is the person who asked me to move to DC and I chose to do so. He is the person who decided to ask me to marry him and I agreed. At any step here, we could have made other choices and you know what? We might have married other people, or stayed single, and had happy and full lives.

But now I delight in choosing to love him everyday.

I like it better this way, with the pressure on me and not on fate, cosmos, or divinity. I will not fall out of love, cannot fall out of love, because I willingly dived in and I’m choosing daily to stay in. This is my joyous task, my daily decision. This is my marriage.WegmannWedding330

Someday I hope to have daughters and sons. I am going to pray for their futures everyday, and I will pray for who they might marry, but also what job they will have, who their friends will be, and most of all, that they delight in becoming more like Christ. But when my daughters come home starry-eyed from camp announcing that they can’t wait till the day they meet the man God has for them, I will probably pop their bubble and remind them that God doesn’t have a husband stored away somewhere for them.

He has a whole life, one of rich and abundant choices. And it is awesome. WegmannWedding344

Oh, and for the record — I like James so much more than my imaginary, obnoxiously religious, youth pastor future husband. When I asked him if he had written Future Me letters as a child, he told me he was too busy memorizing Pink Floyd lyrics. But then he ran in the next room and wrote down what 14-year old James would have said in a letter to 14-year old Hannah: “I hope you’re hott.”  That’s why boys didn’t get swept up in that movement… they knew the truth all along.

(Also for the record, I actually think a lot of the high Evangelical movement was awesome, especially in so far as it made young people do a ridiculous amount of churchy activities so that we weren’t out doing drugs or at home watching re-runs because we didn’t even have Netflix yet. I was at youth group every time those doors were open and I LOVED it.  )

*All photos are by the wonder that is Whitney Neal Photography.

Update: This was a post to share a little bit of my heart with the [normally very small group of] people who read here. However, as it has been read more widely, please know that it was not to start a lengthy debate on the Internet. If your comment is rude, vulgar, excessively unkind, or fosters bickering, it will be removed. I appreciate reading all your comments, but I will also no longer be responding on this post. 

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1,568 Responses to My husband is not my soul mate.

  1. Ashley B. says:

    My most favorite yet! If only we could go back to 14-year-old Ashley and Hannah and tell them to shut up and get over that shaggy-haired mission trip leader playing the guitar covered in north face stickers. That was probably just 14-year-old me. I’m sure you had MUCH better taste in hypothetical husbands.

    • Hannah says:

      That is basically EXACTLY who I hoped God had for me!!!! I am SO GLAD he didn’t give me the desires of my heart. Because my heart also thought that the Backstreet Boys were profound and that glitter was appropriate makeup for all occasions. Ok, so my heart still believes that last one.

      • Ashley B. says:

        And your heart would be right.

      • Hannah says:

        Perhaps, but even though James isn’t my soul mate, I do want to keep him around and he won’t come near my face if it is sparkly. He firmly believes that glitter is the “Herpes of craft supplies,” and wants to avoid catching it.

      • Mona says:

        The heart is treacherous… so it’s a good thing you didn’t get what your heart wanted at age 14. ;)

      • Hannah says:

        For soooooo many reasons, you are right. : )

      • indibttrfly says:

        Lol. Agreed. I could relate to practically all of this – at times, embarrassingly so.

      • your husband memorized Pink Floyd lyrics and hates glitter? we could be friends.
        thanks for sharing!

      • Matt says:

        The Backstreet Boys are profound…

      • Kate says:

        Hi Hannah,

        Your recent post is a huge hit on Facebook and I really, really enjoyed reading it. I was so encouraged. Thank you!

        I was wondering if I could email you? I have some personal questions about relationships and would love to get your perspective.

        I hope to hear from you! Have a blessed day!

      • Arlene-Ann Bullard says:

        I think glitter is for all occasions and I am 43 years old! Lol!

      • Audrey says:

        Backstreet Boys………..!me too that’s what i tho too.
        But very enlightening,thank you!

      • Ha! …glitter.

        great post. xoxo.

      • evolet0680 says:

        Oh my, Hannah, this just made my day. I now have to physically close my mouth when I see glittery makeup that makes your whole face just sparkle like a metallic ticker tape parade and try not to snort with laughter when I hear..New Kids on the Block…the hubs and I keep it on the ipod for a “retro” laugh.

        For the record, I never did the journal or the list, pretty much out of laziness. I was supposed to, but I never got around to it. I am so glad you wrote this post, though. I still see some youth leaders preaching this and I think– the choices are ours, but God makes them beautiful if we offer them to him. I’ve been married almost 11 years, and my vision of “sexy” and “perfect” and “man I dreamed of marrying” have drastically changed, I think for the better.

        You’re amazing. Thanks for sharing.

      • Abby :) says:

        ^^^^^”The Herpes of craft supplies.” That made me laugh so hard.
        This is the first post of yours I’ve ever seen, and I must say, it is awesome! My mom showed it to me and my older sister and it caused a whole discussion at dinner because it is so much different that what we had ever been told before. I guess I’ve never thought about it as I have a choice, and it makes it a little more exciting to look forward to the day when I may, (or may not) meet that someone. It’s nice to be reminded that God does give us a free will.

      • Cyndyrella says:

        Lol, my heart also believes that last one. And God knows better, sometimes it just takes a long time to realize it.

      • Samantha says:

        thanks…for that last comment LOL!

    • Alicia says:

      James, Joshuastar, and my husband could all be friends – memorizing Pink Floyd and hating glitter. I do glitter tattoos on my kids at home, and Ken spends the next entire week grumbling and muttering about finding glitter in unorthodox places. Then he retreats to his electric guitar-filled man cave to take out his frustrations with Pink Floyd.

      • Joe K. says:

        YESSSS a man cave with guitarS… My kind of place!!! Oh wait… Im in one now.. MINE!! LOL

      • Micah says:

        Can someone start a glitter-hating support group for husbands? I will be the first to join!

      • GrammyJo says:

        I didn’t realize that glitter was such a hated commodity among men until I read this. I now understand why my son almost hyperventilated when his daughter (our precious granddaughter) came out from her bedroom in her glittery princess dress (we were SKYPEing) and he kept saying, “Don’t you dare sit anywhere with that dress on.” I asked him what the problem was, and he couldn’t believe that I was making fun of him worrying about sitting on glitter and getting it on his bottom. If you begin a men-hate-glitter club I think I could get him to run for the president’s office! Love your post!

    • Bethanie Robin says:

      Well said. If we are living life for the express purpose of ‘finding’ THE spouse (or ANY spouse at all) we’re missing the mark aren’t we? Live a life reflecting Christ and you have a shot at being a woman worth marrying! I would like to share your thoughts with the girls I lead in small group. We’re gearing up for a study on Relationships (the biblical kind) this fall. I also think this post would go well with “Decision Making and the Will of God”… I highly recommend, if you can find the sermon online somewhere. :)

      • Todd Vierheller says:

        Garry Freisen, a professor at Multnomah Seminary, wrote a book titled, “Decision Making and the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View,” that is quite good.

      • My pastor, J. Robin Maxson, co-authored “Decision Making and the Will of God” and he just published a new book that fits incredibly well with this whole conversation titled, “Singleness, Marriage, and the Will of God”. I would highly recommend it as a resource for your girls’ group study. Here’s a link. http://www.amazon.com/Singleness-Marriage-Will-God-Comprehensive/dp/0736945490 Good job teaching girls how to live in pursuit of God and good luck!

    • Josh P says:

      speaking as a shaggy haired mission trip leader (im working with YouthWorks this summer) who incidentally plays guitar, im not really a fan of this comment.

      personal situation aside, i think stereotyping people is probably a bad way to interact with them, let alone look for someone to spend your life with. for instance, this stereotype misses pretty much everything that makes me the person i am.

      • bac says:

        Josh P, agreed. Stereotyping is not good, but you can break the mold. I think the blogger is just commenting on what happened in her life. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with shaggy haired mission trip leaders, and definitely not ones who play the guitar ;-) Own it! Also, I am so glad someone finally cleared up the verse Jeremiah 29:11. So often misinterpreted and put on cards without context. It applies to a specific nation at a specific time. But, does God also know the plans He has for us?…(blogger care to comment on whether marriage or singleness is a plan of God or just a detail? seems like a pretty big detail not to have “nailed down”…thoughts?)

      • Ashley B. says:

        I’m so sorry, my comment was not meant to offend. Some of my most treasured memories were from (Youthworks) mission trips and I am friends with several of the leaders I met there to this day. I mean to comment more on my own standards and the things I looked for as a young girl (Shaggy hair, check. Mad guitar playing skills, check. Chacos, check.) I was immature and much less concerned about the heart and character of a man than I was his “Christian persona”. If I were to meet a guitar playing, chaco wearing, shaggy haired dreamboat tomorrow… and he possessed the values and personality I have come (as an adult) to learn I want/need in a partner, I would probably just drop dead from excitement. Not that the leaders didn’t have these traits at the time, I just wasn’t looking…

      • Brett says:

        Hahaha….Waaaaa. C’mon Josh P buddy, don’t be so sensitive (You’re a little at risk of proving the stereotype right :S ). Understand what the author is actually saying. It’s much more of a caricature about a stereotype of a “person” than actually about a person, and honestly…she is spot on!

    • Naomi says:

      Hallelujah and Amen! Its about time people stop incorporating Hollywood into Christianity or blaming the devil for using what God gave us…Freewill.

      • David hollis says:

        Naomi. So often Freewill is mistaken. We have the Freewill to fly but have not got the ability. We have Freewill to become Christians but not the ability. Without the conviction of the Holy Spirit in our life we have not the ability to come to Christ. Many people giving testimony say they gave their life to Christ, scripture says different, you where chosen before the foundations of the world. It was all from God and nothing to do with us.

      • Naomi & Hollis,
        I look at the freewill topic this way:
        Without a regenerated heart our freewill is carnal selfish motivation…the desires of the “old man”.
        With a regenerated heart our freewill is Christian-servant motivation…loving God and loving others… the desires of the “new man”.

        Some people are just not “lovable”… and some are not “forgive-able” and no amount of soul-effort can make us love or forgive, but God can change the heart to care and and see anew such that we use our freewill to choose to love the unlovable…and even to forgive the unforgivable.

        Why do we choose that way…because that is our new way…it becomes the only action that makes sense… so it really isn’t a freewill choice any more than breathing is a free will choice. There is no choosing in the matter, only honor…it becomes the only way possible to go because we no long have a heart for any other way.

        So what happened… we lay dawn our free will at the Cross of Christ for His will. This I think is a mistake people often make about freewill. It’s the matter of working out our salvation….

        When it comes to a life walking with the Helper and the overflowing of the unfathomable love of God and His incomprehensible amazing Grace, who needs freewill… it is really foolish to hang onto it…I take the Will of God over my freewill any day!

      • Becky Drenth says:

        the replies to this comment include a discussion of free will.
        Here’s my experience: Before I gave my life to the One who called me to be His own, I wasn’t free; I was a slave to sin and death. All of me was not free.
        Once I gave Him all of me, my will and the rest of me became free.

    • Joel Pukalo says:

      Brilliant writing and thank you so much for bursting our North American Christian bubble of “falling in love”. Marriage is a very special union created by God but movies and American society glamorize this perfect euphoric fantasy experience that lasts forever. True love lasts forever but is nothing like what it is portrayed to be.

      Jesus must be our first and only love. God in His wisdom created Adam before Eve, so Adam would learn to find his value and fulfillment in God first and not his partner. While human beings are created to be in horizontal relationship our horizontal relationships are only fulfilling when our vertical relationship with the Father is the foundation of life. In our American culture I would guess that most marriages are actually idolatry and very disappointing to God because we place our spouse above our relationship with God.

      I love everything about this article because it frees people from the obsession and paralyzing fear of missing God’s will and finding the right person. However, if our Father knows every hair on our heads (Matthew 6) and pre-planned every single day of our lives before we even lived one (Psalms 139:16) wouldn’t this plan by very application include the person we would marry? It is important not to get lost in the fundamentalism of pre-destination where we are hopelessly stuck and destined to follow God like robots. For human beings to be purely pre-destined in nature God could not have created mankind with a freewill. We are freewill beings with the freedom to make freewill choices.

      I see God’s plan for our lives like a map. The Father has a perfect plan for our lives and a perfect eternal destination. As we adventure through this journey GPS (God’s perfect-guiding system – The Holy Spirit) gently speaks (like the voice on GPS when you are driving) go left or go right each day of this great journey called life. The Bible conveys a detailed specific Father who cares about every detail of His child’s life. He does not expect us to find our own way home or plan out every detail of our lives because He knows as finite human beings we are helplessly lost without Him.

      This is why He sends the Holy Spirit our GPS (God’s perfect guiding system) to guide us on the most direct, eternally meaningful and earthly productive life possible. For those who are starting to get scared about predestination, don’t worry, God loves us so much that he allows us to choose our own path and chart our own course in life. We can make a million mistakes and like the prodigal son completely walk away from God’s plan for our lives.

      But what is so amazing about God’s plan for our lives is that no matter where we go or what we do, we can never void or destroy His plan. In Psalm 139 David realizes there is no where one can go to escape God. Even if I make my bed in the heights of heaven or in the depths of hell you are still there. There is no where I can go to escape your spirit!

      One time when I was driving in my car, I took a million wrong turns and ended up driving a hundred miles in the opposite direction of my destination. Yet, no matter how far away I drove, my GPS kept recalibrating and recalculating the most direct and efficient route to my original destination.

      This simple example reveals the profound, unfathomable and amazing power of God’s grace for us. All of us made mistakes. Some of us have lived in rebellion and purposely chosen a path in the complete opposite direction of God’s plan. Yet, just like my driving catastrophe, no matter how many wrong turns you have made, no matter how far away from God’s perfect plan you are, your loving Father has already engineered and re-calibrated a perfect script to live the most eternally meaningful life possible.

      God’s grace contains unlimited power. God can do more with an 80 year old drug dealer who completely surrenders his life to Jesus than a nominal Christian who has lived a very religious life. This is a most important truth because it means no matter who you are or what you have done there is GREAT hope for you today. Many think that I have made too many mistakes or taken too many wrong turns to follow God’s plan. This is scary and inaccurate thinking many of us embrace. But the truth is following God’s plan has nothing to do with your past and is only dependent on the decision you will make today.

      Marriage is one area that makes understanding God’s plan infinitely complex. Maybe if you faithfully followed God through teenage years you would meet a really devoted Christian spouse and together significantly further God’s kingdom in the earth for many years. But instead you decide to live in rebellion from God during teenage years and completely walk away from God for 30 years. At the age of fifty you return to God and live a intensely devoted life serving God and never marrying like the Apostle Paul.

      Like the GPS in my car, it seems that the Holy Spirit takes our current position and continually re-calibrates the best plan for marriage (or not marriage) and all details of life. What an amazing and freeing thought! You no longer have to worry about missing God’s plan or soul mate for your life. But at the same time, we can rest in knowing that God’s perfect-guiding system is taking our current position and leading us in the best path to our eternal home with Him.

      What freedom! What joy! Release from the chains of searching for my “soul-mate” but still anchored secure in the truth that through God’s perfect-guiding system my Father still has a perfect plan to best glorify Him in the remaining days of this earthly adventure and most effectively chart my course to my eternal home.

      • Judy McDonald says:

        Not sure if you’ll see this, but I love the analogy of the GPS. The original post, and your reply should be the stuff of a brand new book on living the Christian life in a cafeteria of choices. How many people live strait-jacketed lives now because they believed every move they made might be the wrong one…so they just didn’t make any decisions…and let life “happen” to them. I wish I’d read this post 50 years ago!

      • Chris says:

        Joel, amen and amen!! I was linked to this blog post by a blogger that I respect–and this post made me uneasy. You summed up my feelings and wanted-response to this post. Ben, I also wholehearted agree with your responses further down in this comment thread. Point of reference here, I just celebrated our 25th anniversary and my son is getting married in two weeks–and I prayed for his godly bride since the day we brought him home, and seeing how they were brought together in life–I KNOW was not happenstance or random.

      • Dannielle says:

        What a great way to think about this. Thank you for the insight…

      • Courtney says:

        What a lovely response! We should never discount the power of the Holy Spirit.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Thank you for this! Like Chris said, I felt uneasy after reading this. I decided to come back a day later and read the comments, and I’m glad I found yours.

      • moorelyle11 says:

        Joel, quick question. Is perfect guiding one word or two?Just trying to make sure my GPS (or GPGS) is calibrating correctly. Also, I wanted to point out, if your GPS lets you go 100 miles in the opposite direction, you might want to get a new GPS (or once again, GPGS)…by the way, is this an actual sermon? I would love to get a podcast of it so I can listen to that along with my GPS/GPGS.

      • Great post!
        I think we struggle with all this because we only have our context to explain God’s ways..so each explanation is liner and simplistic, while profound, yet His nature is beyond our greatest imagination. That’s why one aspect of God makes sense for one person but seems contra-wise for another person..yet He is “both-and”. While each individual witness is true, each is only in part of the Full Truth. How much does one need to know about the his next step if one is in trusted relationship and fellowship with the Holy Spirit? “He will guide you in all things.”

        I think we spend too much effort trying to understand…The Holy Spirit guided me once by saying “Trust does not require understanding”. I learned that trust leads to understanding.

      • jay says:

        I love the sentiment of the original article, I have for a long time, been telling people (when they will listen) that a relationship requires commitment – believing in the ‘perfect match’ can be an excuse to walk away when things get tricky as if just realising that this isn’t the perfect one, when it is often our commitment that is flawed. When people say they fell out of love, I believe they are often really saying that the commitment was just not there…
        It is pretty much unavoidable to bring predestination into our thinking on marriage partners, and I think the road map analogy is a good start but has some flaws. This analogy supposes that we are in a way, frustrating our Father by making ‘changes’ to the route, but my understanding of it is that He already knows the route we will take. We don’t really ‘stray’ from a fixed ‘ideal route’ although we certainly ‘stray’ in the sense that we are often found doing less Godly things. For me, predestination is acknowledgement that God sees time, not as we see time (a fixed linear measured parameter), but as someone who is genuinely outside of time. God can see our entire life at one time, all of our entirely personal decisions – he sees them and he allows us to make them.
        The idea that we stray from a plan is not really a damaging one and is probably helpful for many circumstances, but I believe it gives us a slightly wrong perspective. It’s not something that is easy to explain in a few sentences, so I hope enough of this thinking comes across to start a few people thinking.
        A ‘side-effect’ of this contemplation of predestination has been this: in thinking about how God is outside time, I have realised that when we are finally with Him, we will also be outside time. It was a worry to me as a youngster to hear people talking about an ‘eternity’ in heaven – seems like an awful long time….except it will not be linear time. We will just ‘be’ – not for 5 minutes, not for 5 millennia…we will just be in his presence.
        Who knew this post would go so deep….?

      • Anja says:

        I loved to read your comments and thoughts to this topic, just confirmed my position and I had the same example forpre-destination/God’s plan for your life in my mind (GPS recalculating a new route).

      • Joel Pukalo says:

        Thanks for all the encouragement everyone! It has been a busy summer :)! I guess I should get a podcast going :)

    • Kym says:

      Hannah, THANK YOU!! I’m a mother of 5 girls (and yes, one boy) and I’ll admit I have given my girls that very same advice about how God has someone special for them. Not true indeed!! It was my 21 year old daughter that sent this message to me on FB. She was in a 3 1/2 year relationship and of course had plans to marry this boy once he was out of college. He changed his mind three days before Christmas. Her heart was broken. Mine too! Sorry, I didn’t mean to say all that. I just wanted to thank you for sharing this. I needed the education as well as my daughter.

    • Donna says:

      Refreshingly different perspective and much to ponder and think through… :-)

      • KE says:

        JOEL! You got it! There were parts of this post that I disagreed with…God is most DEFINITELY concerned with who we marry, in my opinion, because I think it’s the most important decision we’ll make. I got married a few months before I turned 33 to my husband right before he turned 34. SO worth the wait for both of us. I feel as though we were guided by God, but God doesn’t direct every single action we make. We have free agency and if we get off that path, but return to him (some say repent means TURN), he can make our life the best. We make the decisions, but involving Him along the way creates the BEST version of ourselves as we reach outward and look upward. Thanks for your response! YOU should write a blog post and we’ll link to your thoughts via fb. =) PLEASE!

        P.S. I’ve heard the GPS analogy before, but liked your comments accompanied with the concept. Seriously…you should post. =)

    • Wendy says:

      HAHA I swear I went on a date with this guy the other day! He meets literally every standard mentioned in the article AND he’s so very good-looking. Yet I’m not crazy about him… although I am impressed by how “ideal” he is. I’m just not that into him and I don’t think he understands my sense of humor.

    • Danni says:

      While I agree with the spirit of the post (no, girls, you DON’T need a man, neither is God entitled to give you one) I do take point with one thing: if you are saved and living for God, then He WILL direct your path. I don’t believe that there are multiple people God would be okay with you marrying, based on compatibility. I DO believe that if it is God’s will for you to marry, He has a person in mind for you to marry. And if, in the event of death, I believe He is able to send you another person to marry, if it be His will for you (and of course, He’s God, so He knows already if that’s going to happen or not). But I digress. My original point is this: if God wants you to be married, He is preparing a spouse for you. At some point in your life, you will meet that spouse, and if you listen to God, you will marry. And then he (I’m writing from the female perspective here) WILL be your soul mate. Because he will be the man that God picked for you. The problems come when we try to get ahead of God and pick our own–then we open ourselves up to a world of sin and hurt and create Ishmaels, as Abraham did.
      Speaking from personal experience, I was a girl who never dated (I mean, I went on a few casual dates with friends, but I was never in a serious romantic relationship). Neither did I overly fantasize about boys, it just wasn’t my nature. I was one of the those girls who everyone assumed would be single forever, and I was okay with it. I liked being single, I liked traveling with my girlfriends and going on spontaneous road trips, I enjoyed my copious free time and quite frankly, whenever I did feel a bit of envy for my happily married friends, I quickly dismissed it as “not God’s plan for me,” since it appeared to me that I would never meet a man I could possibly love in that way (my few attempts at “grown up” dating were absolute disasters). One day I replied flippantly to a friend who asked when I would find a man that “God will have to drop him in my lap if He wants me to marry, I certainly don’t have the time or the inclination to look.” And what do you know? Not six weeks later, God DID drop this man, my husband, into my lap. I met him out of the blue, got to know him, and before I knew it, I was head over heels in love. I, the ever-practical, well-on-my-way-to-being-a-catlady-girl. I fell in love… hard. And he fell in love with me. And every single person who knows us has said that they could see the hand of God in bringing us together because quite simply–my husband and I should never have met. We should never have worked out. We should never have been. But we are. Because God wanted us to be. :) So yes, I call him my soul mate. God put us together, nothing will convince me otherwise. And since neither of us believe in divorce, we’re in this for the long haul and our love gets stronger with each passing day. :) Just my thoughts.

  2. Justin says:

    This is a fantastic post. I’m currently sitting with my 1 1/2 year old daughter watching Tinkerbell. One day she will come home dreamy eyed over a boy playing guitar and I’ll be waiting to burst her bubble. Thank you for the insightful post!

    • Hannah says:

      I’m so glad!!! I think I got thinking about all this lately as I watched people claiming about how in marriage they found their “other half,” and I couldn’t help but think. ” UM … WERE YOU ONLY PART OF A PERSON BEFORE?” No. If my children were single, I want them to know that is JUST as much God’s “plan” as marriage.

      • Good point, on the *other half* comments. I’d never thought of that, before. I’ve even said it, myself! But I certainly never thought of myself as half a person, before Nick.

      • Ben says:

        NO, my other half comes from being incomplete without her now that I am married. The two have become one. She is my other half. Dont be so quick to mock.

      • Ben says:

        Not to mention that it IS Gods plan for us to marry. otherwise he wouldnt have said it is not good for man to be alone. If it wasnt his plan then it wouldnt matter if man were alone or not. Not saying being single is a curse, but again, you are coming across as mocking and sounding like you have all the answers as to what God’s plan is. because jer 29:11 is a prophetic message and NOT just for israel 100 yrs before Jesus. Its a message to a lost people struggling to find their way, be it BC Israel or modern Christians.

      • Keith says:

        I think that you make excellent points in this post, but i wish you could have used some of God’s word to support your argument. The above comment is especially concerning to me…as Christians (I don’t know you, but you seem to be a godly, bible-believing, large-hearted, deeply thinking sister in Christ) we ought to try to run our statements through the grid of God’s word, looking first for things that would validate it, and then for things that would negate it…and marriage is something He is far from mute on. Two verses to gently temper the above comment that immediately come to mind would be Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:5-6. I’ll put the second one up: “and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:5-6, ESV)

      • David M. says:

        Actually, Ben, to say that, ” it IS Gods plan for us to marry” is saying that people who live their whole lives and never marry are living outside of God’s plan, and that’s placing yourself in the “judges seat”. You can’t determine whether or not anyone else is living God’s plan for their lives, only yourself. Think about it: what the Apostle Paul living outside of God’s plan? He was never married! As a matter of fact, he said in 1 Corinthians 7, “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.” Of course, he adds that if they can’t control themselves (sexually), then they should get married. But this shows, right in the Bible, that either way could be “God’s plan”.

        To Hannah: THANK YOU for this. I never really thought about any of this. I was always taught that God had one person in mind for you, and that’s your “soul-mate”. However, my parents are divorced and remarried and just recently I started questioning that, wondering, “Which spouse was their soul-mate???” As a father of 3 girls, I needed to read this. Again, thank you.

      • I heard something along the way of my short 24 years, the idea of Jerry Maguire’s “you complete me” is a crazy idea based on being incomplete. Yes God made man and woman, as separate beings who are complete by themselves….it’s not half and half becomes one, but rather 1 and 1. Why would you want to give yourself as an incomplete person to your spouse?

      • muzjik says:

        @Ben –

        A couple things. During the historical times encompassed in the Old and New Testament, most marriages were arranged. There was very little opportunity to determine before the wedding if a future spouse was one’s “soul mate” and would “complete” them.
        Second, Jesus spoke of those who made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom and Paul said it would be better not to marry. So how can it be said that God’s will is for all to marry? Was Paul “incomplete”?

      • Steve Reeves says:

        According to Meriam-Webster Dictionary :
        Definition of SOUL MATE :

        1: a person who is perfectly suited to another in temperament
        2: a person who strongly resembles another in attitudes or beliefs
        See soul mate defined for English-language learners »
        Examples of SOUL MATE
        a husband and wife who are perfect soul mates
        They are ideological soul mates.
        First Known Use of SOUL MATE
        1822

      • mommyville4 says:

        Hannah – not sure why you’re getting flack for this comment! I wholeheartedly agree! The whole “you complete me” concept is bogus. In fact, if we go into marriage not a complete person or expecting that our spouse *will* complete us we are in for serious trouble. We need to be a complete whole person in order to be able to COMPLEMENT our spouse.

      • lisae says:

        Agreeing (in part) with Ben. When I talk to my married friends and inquire about their “other half” it’s in acknowledgement that two have become one. Just like I refer to my close friend’s mother as “mom”. It’s symbolic and not literal. Your comment on this makes me wonder about your definition of soulmate. While good points are made in your blog, it can be very challenging to navigate the sea of differing opinions. I recently read and very much enjoyed Jim Samra’s “God Told Me”. In his book, he asked God about a lot of things. Purchasing a car, the woman he married, the school to attend, etc. (It had a good amount of scriptural supported verses.) I’m of the mindset that it depends on your relationship with God and how deeply you want God to be involved in our decisions and how willing we are to do/go according to His will.

      • evelyn says:

        “other half” is like a figure of speech

        it is people’s way of expressing that “in the eyes of God, we are no longer two but ONE.”

        People are not idiots to believe that they are half of a person because they are single

        but when you get married, you and your husband become one flesh

        it’s not literal like husband is half and wife is half

        sometimes you have to use your brain

        instead of just listening to your pastor and accepting whatever he teaches you

      • Amy says:

        As I am still recovering and reeling from my divorce after 4 years, I find comfort in your words. I too was swept up in this movement. I was married 9 years to the man I thought was my soul mate. And he made choices that I now see, can not be gotten past. While I may forgive him some day.. I can be angry (again another apiphany) as long as I want or need to be. And going into a marriage with this “other half” “soul mate” mind set, set me up for 9 years of idolizing a man in a way I was completely unaware of. I have loved the LORD all my adult life, however nothing prepared me for the realization of how much of myself I had lost over nearly a decade. How much of my love for my savior I had given to my spouse. And the reality of why my divorce has rocked me to my very core and nearly ended me as a woman, has been more than sobering. While my heart is healing and my love for a merciful and mighty God is growing I realize my mistakes were not just many but huge. I was whole before I married him. Whole in Christ. Jesus is my soul mate. And had I completely understood that before meeting my ex husband maybe I would not have been shattered to my utter core by my divorce. I am so thankful for your post. And thankful that God is showing us how to be commited to one another once again. And that love is not a feeling it is a choice.

      • I view marriage as a multiplication of 1 and 1. 1×1 = 1.

    • I heard a great description of it:
      Woman marry men in hopes that he will change, but are disappointed when he doesn’t.
      Men marry women in hopes that she will never change, but are disappointed when she does.

      • Becky Drenth says:

        ooops.
        Thank you for confirming the 32 years of ‘ouch’ in my marriage.
        This helps me to let-go of the hurt I’ve felt from a husband who has not wanted me to change. People change. I change.
        And it helps me to let-go of changing my husband. I have intended to do that. .

  3. Justin says:

    Thank you for the insightful post. One day my daughter, who is 1 1/2 now, will come home dreamy eyed over a guitar playing boy. Instead of being freaked out, I can now burst her bubble and then explain that God has so much more for her than just one boy, who will probably drive her crazy anyway.

  4. Jill says:

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

    • Hannah says:

      Oh goodness — I don’t know about “wisdom”… but hopefully it prompts wise responses in others!

      • Meg says:

        With all due respect, accepting responsibility for your actions – and making the conscious decision to love someone because he is YOUR choice – is about as wise a decision as I think you could make. Well done and congratulations on your anniversary, Hannah. When we learn that we too are culpable for our lives, we stand to do much better in this world ;)

  5. Howarding says:

    Bravo, Hannah! That was well said. Thank you for your (and your dad’s) biblical theology of marriage. James and I are both blessed to be married to such fantastic women.

    • Hannah says:

      Thank you! Also, random, but one time you told Liz about how a marriage and home could be material for influence and witness, and that was one of my favorite things ever.

      Oh, and you totally married the best woman out there.

  6. Matt says:

    This is an EXCELLENTLY written blog post with some a lot of wisdom. Thank you for a great read!

  7. I recently went through a painful break up where he thought God willed us to one be together and two break up. He is a perfectionist and as I went through old notes and texts and stuff e was constantly criticising not only me but himself. He was alway putting the pressure on himself I be perfect and saying we could never be because he is just simply not a good enough significant other. It is amazing how I believed that God did not have a specific someone that we got that freedom to choose and once he broke up with me my wart was filled with anger, pain, and just apathy. I wanted so much to give up and quite frankly I did. But after reading this I am reminded that I was not wrong. That is it true that God does not plan on a specific person to fall in love with me vice versa. WE GET TO CHOOSE!!!!!! And that is when you know it is love. When someone fights for you and chooses you day after day! I just cannot express how glad and relieved I am to know that my understanding of the way God intended is also noticed by others. Thank you for this. I wish it could erase the pain of my break up but at least it brings SOME hope. :)

    • Hannah says:

      I’m so sorry for your pain, but so glad that my random musings could give you a little hope!

    • I went through this, it is a heartache, specially when you are the abandoned one, but as Benedetti puts it, you learn from every goodbye. Certainly God our Almighty Father is two things at a time… our father, or mother, so what, and almighty, so, why worry? On the other hand let’s not forget, not that anyone here has, that marriage is a vocation, even more, a supernatural vocation, to build up a domestic church, where the overwhelming love of God is shown and passed on. Not everybody is suitable for that but we make mistakes. The only true thing is that everything can be fixed except for death, and death fixes it all… God is our aim, the other petty things are extraordinary opportunities to taste his love and share it with others. Going back to the topic, once chosen, I’ll go to the gates of hell for you, but not beyond, there I cannot love God my everything and the only One that doesn’t fail me. As for spouses, it is the star product from God’s hands, to be able to be one in two, and break with traditional maths and make 1+1=3 if we count on him.

    • DivorcedAndLovingIt says:

      Hey there hurting one – I am so sorry for your heartbreak. I lived with a perfectionist spouse and suffered emotional abuse for a large chunk of my life. I prayed for God to save our marriage and family. Now I am glad to be divorced. I do believe God took something meant for evil and used it for good. A year out from divorce, my life is better. And I can BREATHE again!!! It is easier to concentrate on God when you rely on him in a tough spot and when you don’t spend every waking minute trying to make an unhappy person happy. I firmly believe my child is better off not having an unhealthy relationship as an example.

      • Jana says:

        Divorcedandlovingit,

        I wanted to acknowledge your comment. I am in the middle of divorcing an abusive man, and while I have always believed that divorce is not an option, once it became clear my husband saw nothing wrong with his treatment of me and I stepped up to protect myself and our kids, I’ve been so much happier and so have our kids. I truly believe that I am doing the right thing and that God will also turn this to good.

      • Sonia says:

        I just read your reply. Except for the statement that you are “a year out from divorce” I would believe I wrote it. I am 6 years out from divorce (very happily so) and can thank God everyday that He allowed me to choose to leave a horrible situation that would have caused the three of us (me, my child, & my former spouse) to lose our soul salvation. I have been breathing again for six years and I thank God with every breath I take.

  8. Emily says:

    this was beautiful!!! thank you for sharing your heart!

  9. Danielle says:

    Found this post because one of my facebook friends ‘liked’ it. Thank you for writing this, it is beautiful. I live in DC too and I hope some day I run into you. That kinda sounds creepy but I don’t mean it that way. A very insightful post, thanks for the good read in the middle of my work day!

    • Hannah says:

      Glad I could brighten your work day!

      And it isn’t creepy at all! If you ever see me, let’s meet and we can jump up and down and squeal then go drink Good Stuff shakes, which describes what I want to do anytime I meet anyone new. : )

      • Victoria G. says:

        I’m being a creeper too. I’m in DC too. And Good stuff Shakes are a win in my book.
        Thanks for the post!

      • Danielle says:

        Good Stuff Shakes?! I just moved here last month so I haven’t even heard of those yet but it sounds like something I NEED to try.

        Also, wanted to again say thanks for writing this. My boyfriend and I have been together for 7 years (he’s actually the reason I moved here last month) and are on our way to getting married and it’s just a really nice reminder and summary of everything I already knew but sometimes forget :-)

        You don’t see like the type of person who would take all of these comments personally but I was shocked to come back and see all of them! I don’t have time to read them all but some people are getting really heated and reading into what you said, a lot. Thanks again!

  10. Penelope says:

    my soon-to-be husband is my soul mate. and it was love at first sight. so…i guess i’m just a little bit luckier in life than everyone else…

    • Liz says:

      Serious question for you, Penelope. Are you joking?

      • Roger says:

        Liz, are you a pessimist? If Penelope believes her boy is her soul mate who are you to judge? Good luck to you and your boyfriend, Penelope.

      • Liz says:

        Not a pessimist at all. Just a realist that knows that strong marriages come from having character, trusting God, and choosing to love each day. I fell hard and fast for my man but that isn’t what gets us through the hard days. And as a hospice nurse I’ve had the chance to witness this over and over again through my patients lives. Not a single one of them that is holding their precious spouse as the leave this earth would say they made it through decades of marriage because of luck. NONE of this means that I don’t want all the best for Penelope…I say it because I want the best for her.

    • Jill says:

      Amen….so glad you were brave enough to say that here. God cares about all the decisions in our lives – big and small.

      • Hannah says:

        Jill, I do think that God cares about every decision. I just don’t think that he makes them all for us. And I should hope that everyone is brave enough to share their thoughts, as I have never responded disrespectfully to a reader. I appreciate all feedback!

    • Hannah says:

      Penelope, I am genuinely happy for you that you are going to marry someone you love so much. Marriage is a great gift! I just hope that we all remember not to leave it up to luck, but to daily and consciously invest in loving each other.

      • Hannah says:

        Thanks, after I replied to her I figured she must be joking so I looked it up and laughed so hard. I was just wading through all the serious comments so I missed someone with good humor.

      • Melinda says:

        I really like what you had had to say. I am an older woman and I was married to a man who could not be what God wanted him to be. I have been praying for my future husband. I have come to realize that you are more right than I would have admitted before I met a lot of Godly men. i realize now that if you both are committed to God and you chose to make the everyday choice to love each other then love will stay. Besides God knows way better our needs and he does answer the desire of our hearts. He also changes our desires to match his will. I hope I made sense. I am sorry that you have been given hateful comments but it seems like you already know that God had your back. God bless you and your husband and may your marriage be a witness to all who see you.

      • Chris says:

        Hannah, I LOVE your response here!!

    • dh. says:

      i laughed real hard at this. kristen wiig, FTW. & thank you to everyone that took this way too seriously.

    • In reading Job 38-39, I find that God watches intently over seemingly insignificant matters such as hunting prey for the lioness, numbering the clouds, etc. If He finds those things important, how much more so the lives, purposes, and details of those for whom He died? Marriage is the most important decision one makes (after salvation), and God will be as involved in that choice as we invite Him to be.

      • Gaby says:

        I totally agree with you, like Isaac and Rebecca, inviting God to our choices and for him to bless this choice through prayer is so important. They both go hand in hand together; my choice and God’s guidance…

    • Penelope, I believe in love at first sight…I met my wife that way 40 years ago. We married quickly and young and engaged life and family-hood with all our hearts…we were immature, silly and foolish. We were important to each other and cared. We tended to each others wounds and engaged each others fears… and were determined to beat all the nay-saying odds. Looking back, as we became Christians 20 years later realizing God loves commitment and courage no matter how sloppy and immature it is… especially when we kept pressing on the journey when we fail, sin, wound, offend, etc… He blesses the courageous heart that decides to be overcoming. I used to think I was “lucky” all the time, but later realized I wasn’t giving credit to God’s blessing our courage to keep going and doing when quitting was an option so many times.

      You see, we were soul-mates because we shared our deepest fears, secrets and dreams…and because we became “one flesh”.

      The best effort of the soul cannot maintain the strength to endure the hardships of life…disappointments will come in some form and the soul grows weary.
      Our “soul-mate” thing crumbled when we at some disappointed each other, we lost the “magic”, old wounds were reopened, life got busy and we got soul-weary. Our soul-mate spiritualism had one god…us. We started in the soul and got very weary in the soul because we had exhausted all our human strength to nourish each others souls as soul-mates….especially when our kids required so much. As “soul mates” we tended to worship one-another, making promises beyond our ability to make them come true. We’d say things like “You are all my all!” “I get all my strength from you” “I’ll always be there for you” “You could never disappoint me” “There is no meaning in life without your love” etc. We were sincere and serious in our mortal experience of soul-mate love….but none of those things could actually be held true in due time.

      A lesson we learned: The reason you get married is not the reason you stay married.

      Eventually we leaned that one needs a spirit-mate in the Holy Spirit in order to be nourished and replenished. We needed a source beyond our mortal experience.

      You should marvel at the genuineness of your love for your husband. You feel lucky because in actuality you feel got something you didn’t earn and feel great fortune and thankfulness for it. That is truly a blessing…

      Keep a journal and read it in five or ten years….

      In Gary Chapman’s book “The 5 Love Languages” he has a chapter called “Falling in Love” that every “new love” should read.

      Be blessed!

      • Geroge says:

        Mike,

        Just wanted to make, what I think is, and important distinction.

        By definition, there is no such thing as love at first sight. There is most certainly infatuation at first sight, but not love. Love is a commitment to die a little to yourself every day so that you can better serve them. That can’t happen at a glance.

      • Geroge, appreciate your comment on the distinction between infatuation and love at first sight. In my experience there are many infatuations in life which are all fleeting and jaded.

        I chose to love long before I “found love”. I knew what kind of person I was looking for in my heart that I would commit to for a lifetime. Many dating opportunities came by but they didn’t fit the picture in my heart. Then the day I walked in and saw the one I was looking for matching the picture in my heart, the decision on my part was easy because it was made years ago. I was since and committed. Call it infatuation if you wish… but I think the distinction between infatuation and love at first sight is motive.

        Yet,let me clarify that we didn’t really understand love for a long time. I think we understood Christ’s mercy and grace long before we began to understand love. We’ve been married almost 39 years and still learning about love.
        Infatuation is non-committal and selfish.
        Love is committed and servant-hearted.
        It just so happens that we were both “ready” for committed relationship,
        God does divine appointments.
        To seize the opportunity when it appears, we must be prepared for it in advance.
        If one is not ready for God;s divine appointment opportunities, then they miss it.

        Even thought we started out that way, we still had to work at our marriage. “Love is not a feeling, it is an act of the will.” It’s easy to do anything and say anything when all is good,,, but how one acts in time of crisis really reveals their character and motive. I choose to take the high road and do the selfless acts of love that are needed. I don’t love my wife any more now than I did then; I am better skilled and aware of it now. But the love is still just as sincere and committed.

        Love makes one become more of a person than they are without it. Infatuation doesn’t.
        Love must have wisdom with it. Infatuation avoids wisdom.
        Love has long term vision and hope. Infatuation can’t see past the moment and is hopeless.
        Love is not for the feinthearted. Infatuation is because of the feinthearted.
        Love is intentional – planned. Infatuation is unintentional – happenstance.
        Love requires courage and faith, both which God desires. Infatuation is born in fear and doubt, inability to commit.

      • beck says:

        Same here .

  11. Katie says:

    This? This is wonderful. You’ve articulated what I believe about love, soul mates, and marriage–and your journey to that belief seems an awful lot like mine. I’m happily married and I think my husband and I have become/are becoming soul mates in that we’ve chosen each other and we choose every day.

    I’m brand-new to your blog–my sister told me I’d love it and she’s quite right!

    • Hannah says:

      “my husband and I have become/are becoming soul mates in that we’ve chosen each other and we choose every day” so beautiful and true!

  12. abby hummel says:

    My non-soul-mate husband of five years and three days told me he did pray for his future wife during his youth in the same way James would have… only more graphically. Ha!

  13. T.C. says:

    Man! this is so good and dead on, my wife and minister too young people and this article is what we tell them on a regular basis, so Hannah keep putting truth out there and God bless you and James. :) :)

  14. This article is spot on. Our generation of evangelical Christians have been spoon-fed enormously unrealistic expectations when it comes to marriage. Idolatry of marriage has honestly become an ‘acceptable idol’ in Christian circles.

    • Caren says:

      Preach it! The pain that the idolization of marriage had caused in Christian circles is something the American (at least) church will be repenting of in future generations. It puts enormous pressure on marriages themselves, causing incredible harm, and squeezes the joy and fulfillment out of singleness.

    • A H says:

      Brendan, you are soo right. I was more or less sent off to (a christian) college, expected by my biological and church family to return with the perfect, conservative young man. I had been conditioned all my life to wait for that man that God made specifically for me to appear, because marriage (to a nice Christian man) is the greatest good that a nice girl can achieve. It was very much idolized. Now in my final year of college, having never dated, I am redefining what it means to be a good woman. Singleness is just as much a choice and an acceptable avenue to God. It did take quite a while to defeat the over projected christian image that I should accept nothing less than the absolute perfection that God created to be my husband. (Which, by the way, is unrealistic and the worst way to look for men. I hope guys interested in me are not looking for perfection because they will be largely disappointed.) Like Hannah said, it’s about choices; choices to remain single and choices to pursue someone I think is worth pursuing which makes it all the more worth it in the end.

      • Sandymae says:

        Very well said, A.H. I have been married for 45 years now and, without a doubt, staying married and loving our spouse is a choice that we all need to make each and every day if we want our marriage to continue; however, if we choose to stay single, it is also a choice which can bring us much happiness.

    • Gail says:

      I completely agree with this Brendan.

  15. C.L. Dyck says:

    Hannah, I think this is a much-needed corrective to emotionalism about relationships. That’s not just a Christian thing, it’s a North American thing. And unfortunately, it’s co-opted the definition of what a soul-mate is.

    There are many soul-mates in life, and many kinds of soul-mate, though only one spouse. I didn’t ever expect to meet people like my closest friends, and those have been instant sympatico, like recognizing someone I’ve always known.

    It didn’t feel like that with my husband at the time, but I attribute that to the foolishness of youth–intuition is the cumulative result of repeated experience, of which young people have little. I’ve made all my truest friends since the age of 30, or at least in my late twenties. We have the soulish intuition in our marriage now, nearly 20 years after we first met.

    I think God gave people both intuition and analysis for a reason, and the best lives are built on the harmonious blending of both. I became a Christian as an adult, so I wasn’t privy to the church version of “the one true love” teen culture, but it’s pervasive throughout our society. It’s a formulaic substitute for true intuition and an annulment of thoughtful analysis: false on all sides.

    • Hannah says:

      You are so right!!! Thanks so much for your older and wiser thoughts! : )

      • C.L. Dyck says:

        My dear, this aging thing is hilarious. Did the young people seriously just call me “older and wiser”? Wait–did I just call them “the young people”? :)

        I’m sure it was just yesterday I was 18 and engaged. Time flies, but as my own older and wiser friends have told me, it just gets better from here. Enjoy the journey. :)

    • Jeffrey says:

      Thanks C.L. for your comments. I was reading all of the comments before posting, just in case someone had already covered this (which you did superbly!)

      I also do not consider my wife my soul-mate, though I have had, and currently do have a few “soul-mates”, people who just “get” me, and I similarly have an uncanny ability to just “understand” them with little to no explanation.

      However, my wife and I are “best friends”, in that we choose to put eachother before every other relationship (inside of our relationship with Christ).

      Thanks Hannah for your original post – and thank God glitter doesn’t transfer well over the internet! Hehe :)

  16. Bill says:

    I’m very impressed with this for several reasons which I won’t express. Well said, from a man who is a father, dad, husband, son, and brother but not a soul mate.

  17. Pingback: 5 great resources concerning God’s will, love and marriage | Where He Makes All Things Beautiful

  18. warmchaos says:

    Reblogged this on Warmchaos and commented:
    Perfect

  19. Pingback: Soul Mates? Yea or nea? | The Loveliest Hour

  20. lisajoiner says:

    Old people like me get excited when young people like you “get it.” I hope and pray there are more women like you out there…and that they meet my single sons…

    http://lisashearingblog.blogspot.com/

  21. Anna says:

    haha really enjoyed reading this…I had grown up with the same ideals etc and did not marry my soul mate either!

  22. Pingback: sins of my youth ministers | jordanfouts

  23. Eddie Nichols says:

    You are exactly on point. Great post. My wife and I often share information like this with the single people that we minister to. It’s good to see others who have studied and found the same thing.

  24. Michael Craig says:

    I like this post, really. I think it does raise some deeper theological tensions that I won’t pretend to completely understand: predestination vs. free will. Additionally, if God orders the steps of the righteous , does it not lead to a destination/person. It seems pretty clear that Eve was made for Adam (obviously not too many choices on the table then) I certainly am not a fan of the “soul mate” thinking as this can really produce a fear driven posture before and/or after you marry. Again, I’m not really disagreeing as much as presenting that sometimes the tensions or mystery of God reveal Him just as much His known attributes. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hannah says:

      I was wondering when someone would bring up the theological elephant in the room. Thanks! :)

      I didn’t want this post to be a full argument between free-will vs. predestination because I think we spend way too much time arguing about the existence of something that we can’t change. I have wrestled with this a lot and what I come down to (as unsatisfactory as it is for others, I know) is that there is free will and there is also a God who intervenes as he pleases. How these two things work together — I have no clue. But if we accept that a virgin birthed a savior… shouldn’t everything else seem pretty tame in comparison?

      • Nathan says:

        Hi Hannah,

        I have to admit I am wrestling with this way of thinking. Not that I don’t believe that love is a decision, but rather that there is one person. You see, I haven’t been in many relationships and I have met someone that I feel that compatibility to a point where a life commitment seems very real. There are however two wildcards. Firstly, a week after I first met her, I got a what I thought was a clear word from God about her being my wife. Secondly, she has made it clear, that, at least for the moment, she is not interested in me. I am very much enjoying her company as her friend and when I am around her I feel peaceful, but outside of that, these two opposing feelings are often at war with each other. I’m the type of guy, or more, the type of person that leads with my heart and relies more on intuition than analysis. I feel very strongly that I shouldn’t give up on this relationship (we are seperated by about 9 hours of travel by car), but, I have two guys who I respect greatly, giving me the advice that I should let that belief die. And I have given this over to God a fair few times, and yet everytime I meet with her I feel more strongly that I need to keep it.

        So my go-to, my intuition, is all over the place. When I first thought I heard God speaking to me about it it messed me up because I didn’t know if it was Him. It seemed so unbelievable, that he would say such a thing especially when he knew I was prone to incredible anxiety and depression when it came to that. I considered it His way of showing that the desires of my heart were important. But, as I said, not many agreed with me. However these were all people who were opposite to me, in the sense that they were more analysis than intuition. Right now, I am simply going to see what happens, and not overthink it as I am prone to doing.

        To be honest, theologians I think do people a disservice by trying to define the way God sees marriage, how two people meet etc. It’s my belief that God’s ways are high above our ways, and that we too often try to create a system for our own comfort. I don’t believe God has a system, He is just as much the wilderness as He is the bringer of order and glory. I think some people believe that there is one, as I know I have, because firstly they don’t believe someone would choose them, secondly because, like you said, it gives them an excuse to fantasize or thirdly they believe it makes it easier for them to commit to that person. I think, and I’m not saying this is your deal, but some people like to believe that there is multiple people because they don’t want to believe they missed out, and again, as you said, it helps their marriage. I believe both are views aren’t necessarily false, and that God purposely prompts people to get together with it ultimately being their choice.

        I’ve also noticed that older people seem to have these views in a balance, so perhaps, and again, I’m not saying this is you, us younger folk just haven’t experienced enough to fully understand this. There are too many unexplainable things for us to box God in, in my opinion. It annoys me greatly when people are black and white about this.

        With all that said, thank you so much for your post, I wish you all the best with your marriage.

        …I did have a question for you, but it seems I got lost in thought. Sorry about the length of this, I’m also a blogger. :S

        Thoughts?

      • I was thinking the same thing, about this really being an issue of predistination vs free agency. I am with you, Hannah – I think the Bible is pretty clear that God is all powerful and all knowing, but that He gives us free will to make our own choices (and that He sometimes intervenes as He sees fit, in his righteousness). It’s funny, because when I first started reading this, I was pretty offended at the thought that my husband might not fit into that “one and only, forever and all possible choices” ~ but, that’s actually exactly what I believe! HA! I did the whole “true love waits” thing, purity ring, want ad list, and everything. And I believed it long enough to fall for a boy I met at 15, and stayed with him through my first year of college, long enough to become extremely emotionally and verbally abused. And in the end? He dumped me. The only regret I have is that I didn’t end it, myself. Thing was, I had bought into the idea that there was a *one and only* and that since I was *waiting* then he MUST be the man for me, and I would just have to trust that God would fix his heart and make him be a good man. And he wasn’t. And He didn’t. Because we all have free agency to make our own choices, good or bad. The sweet, musical boy I fell in love with became a cruel, messed up man, not worth knowing. Thankfully, he got tired of me, and I escaped. A couple of years later, I married my best friend ♥ Yes, I do consider him my soul mate, but in the way that was mentioned somewhere above – that a soul mate is someone who resonates with you on a deep level, and that may be one of several similar people. What makes him my *one and only* is that I chose him, married him, and that means he’s it for me. If he were to die… If he were truly the only choice I could make that honors God, then why would Paul encourage the widowed to remarry?

    • sent2preach says:

      I’m with you both on the discussion of that – personally, I think the Bible gives clear evidence that we’re both chosen and that we make a choice. What one can’t get around, however, is that there are good works that He prepared for those of us who are His workmanship – and He did so before the world was ever formed. Blows my mind. :) If He prepared good works, though, I don’t think it’s a theological stretch to consider that He has prepared other things for us as well. When I couple that thought with my own testimony, my wife’s, and others who have spoken into our lives, the seeming “lack” of biblical evidence is insufficient for me to simply write off the idea that He wasn’t just speaking to Israel through Jeremiah. Not as if Jeremiah’s words are the only ones that would support the loving provision that pours out from a God who hand picked my wife for me.

      • Cindy says:

        Nathan, last summer a young man came to my husband and told him that he believed God revealed to him that our daughter was to be his wife. My husband told him that if it was truly God’s will, He would reveal it to our daughter as well. Our daughter did not at all think that way about this young man, so things went nowhere. Nathan, the fact that this young woman is saying “no” pretty much gives you your answer. Yes, she could change her mind, but don’t put your life on hold waiting for her to do so, because it may never happen. … My thoughts thoughts here are meant in a loving, motherly kind of way.

  25. Taryn says:

    Love the post! I totally agree. Luckily those guitar playing, camp councilors will get to choose someone too. My youth minister husband chose me. Thank God. Youth ministers aren’t so bad. :) He holds the same philosophy as we do about “soul mates,” and it doesn’t make it less romantic. It’s romantic for someone to choose to love you everyday! Marriage is awesome.

    • Hannah says:

      I am so sorry if I made it seem like I was anti youth ministers- I LOVE THEM, just as I loved youth ministry and couldn’t imagine where my life would be without them. I personally just married someone soooo different (political type who never did youth ministry) that it always amuses me how different things turn out. I hope that my children are surrounded by great youth workers someday!!!

  26. Beth says:

    This is probably one of the best posts I have read in a long time on the topics of marriage and singleness. Thank you for sharing your story and what God has taught you. I’m new to your blog, but your honesty and vulnerability make me want to come back and see what else you have to say.

  27. Julita says:

    I saw your post running around on FB through my news feed and thought I would drop by. :)
    Very thought-provoking and I am glad you wrote it. I too grew up in your generation and remember reading a book by Dannah Gresh called And the Bride Wore White. In the book, I remember her suggesting to make two “shopping lists” for your future spouse and then pray over it. One would be for things that are necessary for the relationship to work (i.e. heart for God, love for the elderly, respect for parents, passion for the underprivileged, etc…) and the other list would be of things that really don’t matter but would be nice (i.e. green eyes, built, 6 feet tall, etc…). I actually still like this approach because it makes you think of who you are and things you would desire in someone else along with knowing traits that you would or wouldn’t be compatible with. Obviously the lists don’t have to be the end all to every male that walks by but I do think that it can be a helpful guideline.

    As to your thoughts on soul mates, I agree with you in the sense that your spouse doesn’t have to be THE soul mate because I think you can have more than one. Some can be close female friends, another could be your spouse, and yet another could be a male friend who you really bonded with from way back in the day but don’t really communicate with anymore.

    And as Taryn has said, youth ministers aren’t so bad. I’m currently dating a youth pastor. :)

    But thanks for this! I remember back in 8th grade when I read Every Young Woman’s Battle, and it supported the fact that there isn’t one person floating around in the world with your name attached to their forehead. It really helped broaden my thinking. :)

    • Hannah says:

      Oh I remember ALL those books. And you know what? Some of them had some AWESOME things to say about love, relationships, and life. I don’t think that because we are prone to extremes, that we should throw out everything.

      And a deep resounding YES to soul “mates” in life. I have so many friends who I enjoy that soul connection with and I LOVE it.

      Also, I hope you saw what I replied to Taryn that I love youth ministers!!! I just limited my view of my someday one to the stereotypical one that bore no semblance to the person I actually married, so I enjoy laughing at myself.

      Oh, and full discloser: I have three Chris Tomlin CD’s and I love them all. : )

  28. corrozu says:

    well done, the title seems a bit overly poignant though, as a soul mate’s definition somewhat varies from one person to the next, my dictionary says ” a person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner. “

    • Hannah says:

      You are so right. But “My husband is not the one person God picked for me because he didn’t” seemed long. Plus, the dictionary definition is perfect and probably does/should describe good marriages. What I was refuting was more the social and cultural definition.

  29. nabenner says:

    Wow, this is me too! I believed in “the one” and the dean at my Bible college burst my dream! I blame all the Disney movies and our culture. Praise God for who He is and that His plan is greater than our desires.

  30. Thankful says:

    Thank you for being so awesome and posting this. Also, you are so blessed to have a father like yours…
    This post was so freeing to me. My ex told me he thought he was suposed to marry me because a women said God told her that. However, after talking for a year and treating me as I were, he never would call me his girlfriend. So, I ended it.. And have struggled with that idea ever since. But I now believe God does give is choices.. And I’m so thankful, because now I’m engaged to marry an amazing man. Soulmate? No. Companion? Yes :)

  31. The book “Before You Get Engaged” by David, Brent and Danielle Gudgel keeps the term “soul mate,” but gets rid of the typical definition of that one person that God has predestined a spouse for you from the beginning of your life. Instead, the book defines a soul mate as someone who matches you mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I definitely see you and your husband as the new defintion of soul mates.

    • Shauna says:

      I’ve read that book, and I agree! I never viewed soul mates to mean anything else, so the whole premise of this blog threw me for quite a loop. If anyone reading this is not married or engaged, read that book!

  32. Jack says:

    Good post. Although, in no capacity, am I any longer involved in Christianity, I reached the same conclusion studying theology and early-church history at seminary. The concept of a “soul mate” has no basis in ancient Judaism or biblical Christianity. It stems entirely from ancient Greek mythology. I believe this view has seriously warped the psyche of most Christians.It coincides with the belief that sex, unless for procreation, is evil(I’ll admit the modern views held in Christian cirlces on this issue have progressed to a much more relaxed standard), and removes personal responsibility from the relationship equation entirely. It also tends to elevate people’s perception of themselves to something quite narcissistic. I’m not saying God doesn’t care about you, but he does have a universe to run..and maybe a few major things he’d like to orchestrate outside of your model girlfriend with the large bust. Ultimately, I’ve had much more fulfilling romantic relationships beyond the Church where personal responsibility plays the only role. My two cents.

  33. Andrea says:

    I have to say, at least for me, this didn’t prove true. I, however, never kissed dating goodbye. In fact, I dated a LOT. And then there was my husband. He was completely different than anyone I had ever met, and still is. I’m 28 and we’ve been together 8 years, married 3. Dated long distance for 3 of those years. To me, he is my soul mate. Now yes marriage is also about sacrifice, and commitment, and choice…. But I will always choose him. I think its different because I dated so much, and I knew this was so different because of that. God was in every detail – I was assigned as his small group leader… When I wasn’t sure we could be together because of school debt, we won a promotional drawing paying it off… We made it through long distance dating, following God moving to a new state, and so much more. I have met a lot of people living in so many places, and he is most definitely my soul mate. Regardless of previous context, the promises for Israel are still for us, called “his called,” “justified” and even “predestined” in the new testament that is not that much of a stretch to say God has plans for us, for a hope and future. That may not mean marriage for everyone and that’s ok. It also doesn’t mean its not work. But God has had His hand in our marriage from the beginning, and I wouldn’t have wanted my choice involved …His was much better.

    • Lindsay says:

      Beautifully said, Andrea. I’m so glad I wasn’t in charge of orchestrating the crazy, amazing, rollercoaster of a love story that God blessed us with.

    • Shawna says:

      Well said Andrea!! I feel the EXACT same way about my marriage. It wasn’t a choice I made on my own. God was in every detail. In fact, I did write a list of desirable attributes and prayed over the list. My husband matches up with almost everything I asked for! I view that as God answering my prayer and sending a man that is truly a gift. (I should also add that the list was very reasonable, not “must have 6-pack abs” or anything shallow like that). Anyway, I digress. This is awesome. Thanks for sharing.

    • Angela says:

      My experience is somewhat similar. I met my husband online. He wasn’t a Christian. Our first date was nothing to write home about. If I’d followed my own choices, we probably wouldn’t have gone out again, but I believe God put us back together in a non-date, social situation where we had the chance to give each other a second look. An amazing love grew from there. When it quickly became serious, I told him God and His will were my number one priority and anyone I’d consider a long-term (permanent!) relationship with would need to feel the same. He began coming to worship with me regularly. A few months later, he became a Christian and much later his mother did, too. Was he the “only one for me”? I think not, but I do believe God played a role in bringing us together for our own happiness, but more importantly for my husband’s salvation and that of his Mom and hopefully other family members in the future.

  34. Gabrielle says:

    Dear Hannah,

    I don’t know you and you don’t know me, but we serve the same, incredible Creator. I am blessed by your words today. I had that fantasy for such a long time. What is even more interesting is that I have been in two serious dating relationships – one of them became a youth pastor, and one became a worship pastor. Neither of which treated me the way that God intended a man to treat a woman. Now, I’m not saying that all men like them will do the same thing – but I am saying that their hurtful choices allowed for me to realize that my ideas and fantasies about love, fate, and God’s will were extremely inaccurate.

    I do have a strong desire to be married one day, but thankfully I am not sitting around waiting for the Lord to place “the one” in my life. Your words are important for me at this time in my life, this time of singleness and solitude.

    Thank you for saying what most Christian women are afraid to say to other Christian women. The truth is always meant to be said – and always meant to be heard.

    Blessed by you,
    Gabrielle

    • Sandymae says:

      I really like your response, Gabrielle. Don’t ever marry a man just because he is a Christian, a youth worker, a pastor, or any other occupation. Marry a man who loves you and treats you like you are the “best thing that has ever happened to him”, and of course, you would want to treat him the same way. Marriage takes a lot of work but you want to go into it knowing that you not only love that person, but you really like each other a lot and then you need to commit to keeping love alive every day. If you never meet someone who makes you want to commit to that, then enjoy being single. Often when one is “not looking”, a good mate appears in the picture. :)

  35. Chuck Hurley says:

    Really sneaky way to get everyone to look at your wedding photos.

    • Angela says:

      Don’t know if you intended this remark to be funny, but it was. However, I did find the topic of “God doesn’t pick our soul mates, we shouldn’t over romanticize marriage, love is a choice and sometimes it’s hard work” combined with nothing but gorgeous wedding photos somewhat contradictory. One of the ways we over romanticize and sugarcoat marriage is to focus too much on the beauty and planning and fun and attention of the “big day” as opposed to the reality of living a life biblically committed to one partner, through all of life’s ups and downs.

  36. sharkbytes says:

    Great stuff! We are a few weeks shy of 45 years of trying to figure out how to choose to love someone who has never been a soul-mate for either of us. And yet, God wanted us together. You’ll make 45 too, with this attitude.

    • Sandymae says:

      I am a few weeks short of 45 years too, and my spouse has never been my soul-mate. Our interests, other than faith and family, are so far removed from each other that it is almost hilarious. Happy 45 sharkbyes!

  37. Andy Owen says:

    This post struck a wonderful chord in me as well. Thank you for posting it.
    It also brought this quote to mind as well:
    “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use.”
    ~Galileo Galilei~

  38. AJ Stich says:

    I was the guy strumming “Chris Tomlin” songs when I was at that point in life. I too read – and religiously adhered to – I Kissed Dating Goodbye. A bygone era.

    Love this post. After years of searching and getting married to the most amazing woman, I still agree with the thesis here: God didn’t pre ordain my marriage. I happily chose it.

  39. sent2preach says:

    I hope it doesn’t sound disrespectful to say that I respectfully disagree, lol! :) I also know that my experience is not the same as everyone else’s, but I can only speak to what the Lord has shown me. I think if we’re going to say one way or the other conclusively, then we need to have the Word of the Lord back up our conclusion on this issue. That being said, I don’t think the article does that, as a great deal of the conclusions in the article are based on common sense and are philosophical in nature.

    Scripture and the Word of the Lord are not one in the same. We know that all scripture is the Word of the Lord, but we are not always able to address every issue from it (i.e. the entirety of the Word of the Lord is not held captive in scripture). The Bible is clear that when we call to Him, He will tell us things we do not know… God still speaks to men (and women). I say this because God spoke clearly to my wife to pray for me before she ever even met me. She argued with Him, not wanting a husband, lol, but after He repeated Himself twice, she submitted. We found out later that the timing and issues that he spoke to her to pray over were specifically in line with what I was going through and when.

    Whether we label it soul mate or not is not an issue to me, as I think that’s something that even New Agers can get on board with, but here’s what I know – there is no doubt in my mind that my bride was selected for me by Christ, and 11 years later, I still find more evidence every day to solidify my conclusion! :)

    For the record, He also spoke clearly to both of us in regards to the school we were supposed to attend, engineering it in ways that cannot be explained away by slamming theologians who deny Jeremiah’s words apply to us today. ;) It is also interesting that my wife and I met at that very school. Remind me sometime to tell you about the men I still believe to be angels who came and spoke to me about the school.

    • sent2preach says:

      I forgot to mention the fact that the guy who was making prayerful plans to begin courting her before I met her was warned sternly in a dream that “she is not yours.” He promptly ceased pursuing her, lol!

    • I agree with you too! I do not use the word soul mate for my husband but I also know that God planned for us to be together. I felt God calling me to pray for a man at church as he was lonely and looking for a wife. So I prayed for him. And 22 years later we have been married for 20 years have been blessed with 2 beautiful children (without IVF or similar)even though I am infertile and my husband and I are still going strong.

      Hannah I love your story in a romantic and thought provoking way but if God is not planning for us what hope do we have??? Yes we all have free will and can choose too accept or not accept what God plans. How the burden of daily life struggles is lifted knowing that God is planning for me, planning for my children who have health difficulties and some special needs. I am blessed knowing that God so awesome and powerful and not in need of me in any way would choose to think of me and plan for little me!!!

      • I’m just now finding this blog after a friend posted a link on Facebook, and I have to say that I respectfully disagree with the author. I have been married for almost 23 years to my “soul mate,” a man who was most definitely put in my life by God!

        Katherine, your above comment is so very true! “if God is not planning for us what hope do we have??? How the burden of daily life struggles is lifted knowing that God is planning for me, planning for my children who have health difficulties and some special needs. I am blessed knowing that God so awesome and powerful and not in need of me in any way would choose to think of me and plan for little me!!!” I would encourage Hannah and others who agree with her viewpoint to read Psalm 139. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16) This chapter alone is enough evidence to support the fact that God is definitely involved in every detail of our lives!

        Do you consider your spouse a gift from God? According to James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father.” I’m afraid the type of thinking presented in this post — the “I chose my husband. God had nothing to do with it” attitude — can only lead to pride in our awesome decision making. We are flawed human beings incapable of doing any “good” on our own. “It is GOD who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Phil 2:13) So thankful that the God I serve has led me every step of the way (including bringing along the right spouse for me)! Apart from Him., I can do NOTHING! (John 15:5)

  40. Steven Edwards says:

    I’m truly sad.
    For your selfishness. Your braggadocio. You found your soulmate. Your roll along piece. Yet you somehow disavow the reality of a definition of the one thing you have- your true love and i dont understand why you pick on something and belittle the beliefs of others.
    IT’S A WORD.
    You didn’t just choose him. To so so would require measurable variables and I don’t think you mean that.
    WHAT IS WRONG WITH HAVING A SOULMATE?
    If you need to convince yourself you made the right choice, then enjoy your Honda minivan and your 2.4 kids. Go to your mega church, and contribute absolutely nothing to enhance the world you live in.
    LET YOUR KIDS FALL IN LOVE WITH A GUITAR PLAYER! It’s called life.
    Prepare them for it! Embrace it. Of the FIVE backstreet boys, ONLY ONE has been divorced- and that was over substance abuse and one, Brian Littell is an evangical Christian.
    Let them live life! GOD, not his Son, created us, and gave us free will.
    Look,
    A life without risk isn’t one worth living.
    For the record, I am catholic, a former Soldier and current teacher in an inner city high school.
    I would not have believed in soul mates until I met mine. She moved me to be better than I was. Challenges me to become more than I ever thought capable, and I desire nothing more than to make her proud. I will never need to convince myself I made the right choice. I only know my life since her, has been more filfilling than it ever was before her. I would be totally hollow without her.

    You say you want to kids I be more like Christ. Well, Jesus was Jewish and hung around with 12 guys and a prostitute. These are undisputable facts.
    And his father invites all to his table.
    Thanks for listening.

    • She’s not selfish – it’s her point of view, just like yours is yours. It amazes me when people are driven to passion they are also driven to point out what they think are characteristics (and usually negative) about another person… selfishness, braggadocio? Just say you disagree with her then go write your own post about why. No need for the rest of it.

      • Steven Edwards says:

        Discussions require thought within the train that brought then. That’s why I posted it here.

      • Steven Edwards says:

        Further, points of view shift. It’s in the discussion that one shapes the ground you stand on.
        It’s in the words that matter- the definitions. She uses the definition, but doesn’t acknowledge it’s origin.

      • amymom23 says:

        Thank you Baileigh. There’s nothing wrong with disagreements or discussions, but it should be done without name calling and rudeness.

      • Koree Loree says:

        Baleigh Steven’s point of view is as self-centered as the author’s. It’s passionate and centered around their experience and needs as God knows them. Personally, as a man, I identify more with Steven and believe the author’s take on “soulmates” to be heavily skewed for a female audience (as it seems like it should be). I can see how it can encourage my future daughter to not take the idea of a “soulmate” to an extreme as the author did. However if she doesn’t take it to an extreme, I pray shouldn’t read this article and interpret it as God makes tons of people that can bring you the deepest joy, peace and meaning on a day to day basis that God always intended. Cause it’s just not true.

    • Amber says:

      Not really sure how to take this response in. I’m a Catholic and apologize for not only this guy’s incorrect theology (God the Father is coequal with the Son and therefore both created us. I not sure where you got that faulty theology from) but also the attitude in his response.
      Hannah, I found this post so beautiful and helpful. As a Catholic young woman, I always dreamed I’d marry the perfect ex-seminarian man! (We call those those women “chalice chippers” lol) But I’m 23 now and dating a young man who never went to seminary, in fact has been Catholic for only about 2 years, but who despite my MANY imperfections chooses to love me unconditionally on a daily basis and treats me so well. We also have common values and beliefs about marriage, life, love and children, etc, something I think is extremely important. He was not a perfect match for my “perfect man” but I learned very quickly how unfair it is to expect perfection from men. I’ve learned that people are perfected THROUGH their marriages, through the daily choices to love each other and die to self for their spouse and become more like Christ through those small deaths; a lifelong commitment no matter how hard. Saints are made through their vocations, and a vocation to marriage is a vocation of complete service to your spouse and in that is true love. I would rather have that than a fairytale emotion-driven marriage. Beautiful, beautiful post. Thank you and God bless :)

      • First, Jesus was there in the beginning: John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

        Second, I really liked reading this blog post.

    • Peter says:

      Did you have a point to make, Steven?

    • Steven, you will take some heat for your comments, but I wholeheartedly agree with what you shared. After 20 years of “daily choosing to love” my Christian non-soul mate, a man who ended up ditching his faith and abusing me and our four children, the Lord released me from my disastrous decision. I am now married to my soul mate, and I thoroughly relish the wonder of being so deeply in love with someone every day and having that love overflow into the lives of our family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers who cross our path. And I did not stumble into him. It was apparent from our very early on that God was leading us both to one another. God’s personal involvement in our coming together was real and profoundly powerful – and still is. That doesn’t mean that either of us is perfect – but is sure makes it easier.

      I can appreciate the writer’s viewpoint and agree that we need to be careful not to create some fantasy person who cannot ever meet our unrealistic expectations of godliness or looks or passion. Adam was pretty smitten with Eve, though, declaring her bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh, as God had created her especially for him, which seems pretty romantic to me.

      I have seen both sides of this equation. People may choose to marry someone whom they love deeply but do not consider their soul mate and be perfectly content, and I would never begrudge them that. Neither will anyone convince me that I didn’t find mine.

    • Dave says:

      I really appreciate this comment. I, too, feel as though this post and its pictures, while probably not intended, come across as hypocritical, judgmental, and oddly inconsistent with what this young woman actually has in her life, versus what she says about what she has in life. It does come across as typical “look at what I have” but, oh, “this isn’t what’s important in life, it’s about Jesus..” evangelical doublespeak.

      I do, however, agree with the author about the insane idolatry of marriage in American church culture, and how most professing Christians need a serious reality check when it comes to how they view this institution. Worshiping marriage the way many young American church people do, and are encouraged to do by their leaders, is not only obnoxious but also highly unbiblical. None of the disciples were married, remember, and yet they were bonded in love for one another and the church.

      Today’s American church culture sees only one type of love — marriage and the endless Facebook photo albums and status updates that crystallize the “big day” and elevate it to some kind of “I’ve arrived” at the spiritual plateau. Everything else, including friendships with one another and brotherly and sisterly love and compassion for people that are not your spouse or “potential” spouse (whatever that means) takes a backseat to the marriage idol, and it’s honestly sickening.

      So as not to be misunderstood, the author of this post makes some good posts, in that she addresses the disturbing American church culture of marriage idolatry. And yet somehow its presentation still reeks of that very same marriage idolatry. When I read the New Testament, which hardly glamorizes marriage and yet places a lot of emphasis on loving one another, I see a huge contrast with how American church culture views love and relationships in general, which extend far beyond just getting hitched..

  41. kitchenchicks says:

    I think this is beautiful. It actually made me cry. Isn’t it wonderful that God allows us to make decisions about our lives? To fall, to stand, to declare, to accept. In all of our choices, in the end, God is there walking with us, seeing us through, and helping us to the next decision. I hope you DECIDE to write many, many more posts like this one. :)

    • Hannah says:

      Thank you so much for the encouragement! This is usually just a space where I share life with family and friends, so I am a little overwhelmed by the support/critique/attention in general, but maybe I will crawl back out at some point. : )

      • Sandymae says:

        It’s a great post, Hannah. I have been reading all the comments for the past two hours and you should be proud that you writing has caught so much attention, both positive and negative. You have renewed my interest in blogging again. I hope you have a truly long and happy marriage to the man you chose to marry. Stay true to him and to your faith. May God bless you both.

      • Daniel says:

        Keep it coming don’t hide because people disagree with you. If they do oh well if you are convinced that you are sharing something God wants you to share do it. Perhaps even write about the experience you have had with this post and what God has been teaching you through it all.

  42. Louisa says:

    I just DIED laughing. I was SO that girl, writing horrible high-school-literary-magazine bad poetry and revolting, teenage-hormone-induced love letters to my “future husband” in my leather notebook. Don’t you wish you could go back and tell yourself to stop wasting your time BROODING!

  43. You should know your post is getting read and re-posted all around the web – bravo. Love what you said.

  44. Anna says:

    This is amazing.

  45. Champ says:

    I appreciate that this is written in an honest and bold way. I also appreciate that it acts as a life raft for those caught up in Western ideas of romance and marriage. While I do not wish to condone such lies, I also do not want us to take marriage less seriously just because God is gracious and honors our choices. He also honored our choice to eat the apple (by not eliminating our race completely). We need to remember that marriage is a sacrament–a physical representation of a spiritual reality. It’s purpose is to represent the way Jesus loves his church. I absolutely believe that Jesus is head-over-heels, up all night giggling, madly, madly in love with us. How else would he be able to endure the cross? We can only marry one person. This means that we are called to only one person, the one who has the same heart as us and will glorify God the most. Love, while difficult and needing to be reigned in by eternal covenant, can’t be just a covenant because emotions and dreams and hope truly matter. I will be marrying my soul mate, the person Jesus created for me to teach me every day about his love. This person will point me closer to Jesus, make me a better me in obedience to him, and be a magnificent piece of a wonderful life that Jesus has known about for all eternity.

    • Hannah says:

      No, if anything we should take it MORE seriously, because it is a choice we have to thoughtfully, prayerfully take — not just a impulsive response.

      “This means that we are called to only one person, the one who has the same heart as us and will glorify God the most. Love, while difficult and needing to be reigned in by eternal covenant, can’t be just a covenant because emotions and dreams and hope truly matter.” That was so lovely and well said.

      • Tori says:

        your blog is so beautifully written & i have also enjoyed reading the comments (most of them) i am now thankful for the fact that i never was convinced enough to write that journal to my future husband. i am also thankful for youth group crushes growing up but i am so glad that my horizons have broadened and he does not have to wear chacos, play guitar or pray more eloquently than everyone else. thanks for your honesty and for inspiring us to think outside the religious/american dream relationship box we have enclosed ourselves in. .

  46. Beth says:

    This is so, so good! Thank you for the wisdom!

  47. mary says:

    hilarious, and true, and i love how you praised your husband and marriage and wholeheartedly spoke of your commitment, and at the same time left ample room for people to understand that happiness isn’t just inherently found in marriage. single people can have awesome, fulfilling, God-satisfied lives, too. i hate that this element gets so lost when we talk about marriage, but you did is so beautifully.

  48. Geraldine S. says:

    This such a wake up call from dreamy world. I could not put it into better words. Bravo!

  49. Steve says:

    Never read you before but a friend shared you on FB. Nicely written and I don’t necessarily disagree with your conclusion but I have some real issues with how you got there. I’m sure your dad is a great guy but I have trouble with theologian, biblical scholar types explaining all the things God doesn’t do, can’t do, won’t do. I believe God knows me intimately and cares about every detail of my life…oh, I’m sorry, I’m mistaken. That only applies to David since he wrote it and it’s in the OT.

  50. Hannah,
    This is fantastic. I am getting married Saturday actually and this hits right at home to how I am feeling. I laughed the whole way through. My parents also would love to meet your parents as they have often said all of these similar things. Thank you for sharing, for giving me joy, and for reminding me what my commitment on Saturday is about.

  51. Annie Black says:

    Such a great post! I went to church camp as a kid too, and we totally had to make a “perfect husband” list. Must have been a common thing all over the country in the early 2000’s ;). thank God our tastes change, huh? We’d all still be chasing after those dream boys with side swept hair and old school band tees.

  52. Josh says:

    Thank you so much for your insight and experience! I really struggle with this, have for years, even though I’ve never been in a relationship before. I’ll definitely try to apply your thoughts to the way I approach relationships. For now, I suppose I need to focus on my relationship with God and work on drawing my validation and happiness from Him. If I placed all of my expectations for happinness and validation on my wife’s shoulders, I would get the worst of both worlds. I would be putting intense pressure on my wife causing major stress and grief and compromising my relationship with God by placing my hope in someone other than Him. This stuff is a little bit different from what you covered in your post I know, but it helped me anyway, thanks :)

  53. Sarah says:

    I predict this will go viral.
    There’s too much wisdom here to simple gloss over.

    Thank you for your post!

  54. Brendan says:

    Good read!

    Incredibly important to remember we find our joy and happiness in The Lord.
    When tend to get burned real quick when we put the responsibility of our joy on our spouse.
    Inversely, it’s equally as painful when we take full responsibility for our spouses joy.

    Just kinda pick someone who can cook and run with it….

  55. Wanda says:

    I am pretty sure that “Penelope” is riffing on the character that Kristen Wiig did on Saturday Night Live.

  56. musicaldreammaker says:

    I totally agree that we need to take more ownership of our choices as Christians. Fabulous blog :)

  57. Ninuoluwa says:

    If the argument is that Jeremiah 29:11 was meant for a particular people for a particular time, whats the scripture did her Dad give, or what revelation was he given to state as fact that God actually has no plan for you or who you are to marry? Where is the basis of such a claim? Does God rule in the affairs of men or not(Daniel 4:17)? We have free will to conform to Gods will or not. But to go against scripture under the words words spoken by her father that cannot be biblicaly, proven, I respectfully disagree.

    • Lynn says:

      Yeah, I have to disagree with that part as well. God DOES have good plans for us. They just may not be the plans we think (i.e.- we may not end up with the shaggy-haired youth minister husband with tons of WWJD bracelets). Maybe it would be better to spend our time seeking Him and then those plans will fall into place more easily, without us trying to manipulate everything to go our own way.

    • Leah says:

      Ninuoluwa, perhaps there is no scripture that says God doesn’t have a plan for who you are to marry. But I challenge you to find a verse that says he DOES. Because there isn’t one. Therefore, her father is not going against scripture by saying those things. There is also no biblical basis to the claim “God doesn’t mind what flavour ice-cream you eat”, but it is not unbiblical to say that. If he did mind, it would be in the bible. Just like if he did mind who you married, there would be more instruction about it in the bible. If you wait for a scripture to give you every answer to everything in life you are going to be waiting a very long time.

      The bible is not there to answer every question for us. It gives us general rules and guidelines to live by and we are to use those to guide our decisions in all areas of our life. Sometimes the bible will be more specific in certain areas, but in the areas where it isn’t – such as who you should marry – all we can do is take its general teachings and apply those. If we are to know what God wants for us, we are to look to the bible. Beyond the requirement that your spouse is a believer, the bible is silent on any other requirements in a spouse. Yes there are things that are a good idea and beneficial. But required by God to identify a specific partner he has chosen for you? No.

  58. Reblogged this on Relationships Do Matter and commented:
    This is an interesting post that goes deep into some of the ‘fatal’ assumptions we have about marriage and relationships. This is definitely going to stir the pot for some and encourage others to reassess their hearts and intentions. As always remember Relationships Do Matter and God bless.
    pFlo

  59. Jana says:

    Love this!!! Growing up in a family that really believed in what you are referring to above was tough. I was really shattered when my college relationship ended because I thought that that guy was God’s plan for me. I thought I had messed it all up. I made some horrible choices for a couple years after that but I found my way back to God’s open arms and learned the true meaning of His grace. This is a tough concept to explain without sounding that I am dismissing God’s omnipotence but I think you did a great job. I need to save this for my kids!

  60. Sarah says:

    Thanks for writing this! It really caught my attention because it makes me think about my relationship, and you’re right: sometimes loving someone is a choice, not an inevitability. Most of the time, loving him is the easiest thing in the world, but every so often I have to close my eyes, take a deep breath…and choose to stay in love. I really liked your observation about “finding other halves”, because I often think the same thing; I feel like when people say that it sounds like they don’t think who they are is enough, that they have to have someone else to “complete” them, and that just doesn’t make sense to me. While I love my man dearly, I will not pine away without him. I am actually my own person, surprising as that may be…

  61. Jen says:

    I appreciate you sharing your story and encouraging people of all stages of life to recognize the daily choices it takes to make a marriage work, our society can be finicky and restless and out of touch with commitment and perseverance. I do however want to raise a question about some of what you said about Jeremiah 29:11.
    -Does your commentary on the verse encourage people to seek more of The Lord in prayer or to take their difficult situations and disappointments and write them off or stuff them down? If we have a right recognition of what it means to prosper (if His nearness is our good, and being holy as he is holy brings us the greatest eternal satisfaction) do we need to disregard that verse and say it can’t be applied to us? I dislike for theology and scholarship to cause us to doubt God’s ability to speak through his word and apply it whether it is in Jeremiah or 1 Corinthians. It was experiences with knowledge filled “youth groupies” who made me stop regularly applying the word to my life for fear I couldn’t because of “original context” or what a commentary said (afterall, I didn’t want to sound naive!) Only in recent years has my prayer life grown as I have trusted God to act in powerful ways and to be truly prospering me when it certainly would seem in the worlds eyes I am failing. So for the single and married person, I would say Jeremiah 29:11 is still relevant, because I do believe the one who knows when I rise and lay down and the one who perceives my thoughts and made me and goes before and behind me, surely he has a plan for whether I will marry or not and either possibility will be for my ultimate prospering.
    Final thoughts: I apologize if I am misunderstanding or taking this down an unintended road, once again thank you for sharing your writing in a way that even allows people to respond and reflect with you, that’s a gutsy thing to do.

  62. Lynn says:

    I am wondering how children fall into this theory. We were all known before the foundations of the earth were set into place, so doesn’t this mean God would know our genetic make up–our heritage and cultural influences throughout our life. If my parents weren’t “meant to be together”, does that mean I wasn’t necessarily meant to be born of their flesh? Would I have ever been created had it not been for their union? I think of my ex-husband, who I yolked myself to through a lust filled evening that resulted in a teen pregnancy, and eventually marriage, and two more children…. Did God not intend for that union (no matter how painful it was) to occur? I know he called my ex-husband to follow Him for those 12 years (and still does to this day), and the result of his infidelity and abuse is the reason for our divorce. But, wasn’t he my intended mate? God created Eve for Adam. He created one woman, rather than several for Adam to choose from.
    In the same way, He creates us for His purposes and many of us to be a help-mate to another.
    I am now engaged to a very godly man who, through his life experiences, has been prepared for the responsibility that is involved in becoming a father to children who are not his own. Likewise, He has prepared me for the man I am choosing to marry and spend my life with.
    I do agree with what you are saying- life is a series of choices and it is up to us to include and glorify God in those. However, I believe he does create us for marriage, or singleness and guides our life to encounter those who He intends for us to meet and unite with. It all goes back to creation and babies…and His sovereignty.

    • Laura says:

      Amen. He knows the plans He has for us. Before our conception, He knew us & what our life would be. As a good parent, He gave us the freedom to accept that life, or alter our course, & He takes our altered choices & makes them into a new life for us.

    • Leah says:

      People are, first and foremost (in God’s eyes), souls, not flesh and blood. It doesn’t matter what your DNA or genetic makeup is – your soul is still you. I have often heard kids listening to stories about how their grandparents or parents met, and joke about how “if X hadn’t happened, I would never have been born!” Maybe they wouldn’t have been born with that particular genetic makeup, but as you point out, God has known us since before time, so we still would have been born. I don’t think the bible comments explicitly on this though, so it is a little bit of speculation, but I think it’s a reasonable guess.

      I guess it is also worth considering that perhaps it is true there is one person God has in mind for you, but it is not for you to worry about whether you found “the one” – because whoever you married IS “the one”. But I think your comments about your ex-husband further support the notion that God does not have a particular “intended mate” for us.

    • Cheryl says:

      Dear Lynn,

      I am in the middle of reading some of the VERY LONG responses because I certainly do not have all of the answers and I am still trying to learn through fellow believers. However, I have studied this topic for awhile now and, as someone whose marriage started and ended similar to yours, I believe that God does give us free will; however, within that, I believe He wants us to stay within His laws and stay close to Him to make the best choices for us (listen to the GPS example mentioned above). I did not do that, unfortunately. I lived with my boyfriend prior to marriage. I went against HIS word in that I had sex before marriage and disobeyed/did not honor my parents. To say that my marriage ended in devastation for my children and me is an understatement. Was that God’s will? In my opinion, no. He gives us free will and then we reap what we sow when we disobey. I am sure that we would all agree that our children not having to go through the devastation of divorce would be God’s best… even if it did end amicably. I have learned that listening to Him and obeying His laws is like an umbrella of protection over us (free will), but that when we sin… it’s like we poke holes in the umbrella.

      I also believe in the scripture that says everything works for the good for those who love Him. So, though my children and I are FAR out of the woods, I know that what satan meant for evil, will — ULTIMATELY– be used for our good and God’s glory. Prior to that, my children and I ARE going to suffer as a result of my sin! So, yes, I do believe what Hannah is saying… we are going to take responsibility for our choices one way or another… good and bad.

      Now, your post HAS challenged me to look at my views in light of our predetermined destinies… I am now motivated to dig deeper into His word and ask God to show me the answers. :) Ultimately, that is what I am learning… THAT is what HE really cares about… for us to keep going back to HIM (an ongoing relationship with HIM)!

      …just my 2 cents. :)

      Best,
      Cheryl

  63. ovienmhada says:

    Reblogged this on Ovienmhada and commented:
    “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up children for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”

    But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

    After reading this as a child, I started to suspect that the whole “soul mate” doctrine was a lie. Though it wasn’t till about 5 years ago that I abandoned it completely, and a year ago that I started going to a church that preached a biblical view on this topic.

    The linked blog post perfectly explains my current views on love and marriage from a biblical perspective. It’s about time someone wrote this.

  64. Olivia says:

    Hannah, I don’t know you but this article is amazing! I, an 18 year old graduating senior, have believed this for literally YEARS! In the southern baptist church, they like to teach everything opposite of what you said. It seems that every other week we landed on the dating/marriage topic and how we just need to hold out for the “one.” Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

  65. Jess says:

    What about those of us who married someone who doesn’t love the Lord, and we feel that this relationship is not right for us and that we made a huge mistake? How do I choose every day to love him as I promised to, when I so regret marrying him for the wrong reason instead of trusting that God would provide for my needs?

    • dundalkfmc says:

      Jess,
      I hope these verses help: 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 (NIV2011)
      12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.
      14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

      May God grant you peace in your marriage and reveal Himself in a real and life-changing manner to your husband!

    • FirstCorinthians15 says:

      Jess,
      “instead of trusting that God would provide for my needs”—-well don’t make the same mistake by not trusting God now.
      If your husband is willing to be your husband then now is the time to trust the LORD to provide what you need to be his wife!
      Read your Bible, find out what it says to wives and by faith choose to obey it. Own that your issue is really between you and God—do you think He is big enough and powerful enough to put a genuine respect and love in your heart for your husband? If you do then ask Him to turn your heart towards your husband and really trust Him to do it—if you don’t, there’s no shame in that, just ask God to help your unbelief!! He is the author and finisher of our faith—faith itself is not a work that we do, God puts it in us and it moves us to do good works—like obeying the commands in the Bible because we love Him and understand what He did for us.
      You weren’t able to trust Him with your needs (small thing), so He gives you a relationship (a bigger thing) in which you’ll need to trust Him in for it to work….do you see where this is going?—-trust and obey! for there is no other way!
      Pr 3:5&6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and LEAN NOT(don’t trust, don’t act) UNTO YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING(feelings & emotions), In all (ALL) your ways (your thinking, actions & words) acknowledge(obey, honour) HIM(Jesus Christ your Saviour & God your Heavenly Father & don’t forget the Holy Spirit;-) and He shall direct(be in control of) your paths(heart, desires, life).
      All these (()) are my own interjections—it’s how I teach/explain to my own children; which is how I mean for all this to come across, as a mother lovingly pointing a young one to the Word of God.
      Keep your focus on Christ, NOT on your past choices, or on your husband, and definitely not on the grass on the other side—cause it ain’t greener; ON CHRIST AND IN HIS WORD.
      Praying for you….

      And to Hannah’s blog post in general—what a good laugh, (the snl response and video link…awesome); but also lots of room for discernment when you stop laughing. I kept agreeing with both sides of the elephant, which is unusual because I’m pretty cut and dry. However, as always if I search the Scriptures long enough, I see more clearly that there are no contradictions. I think that Proverbs 3:5&6 explains the technicalities of how there can be harmony between our free will and God’s plan for us. What is it that strikes that perfect cord? Trust. A meek & humble trust in God that yields our will to His Will.
      And it points directly back to Christ—this is exactly what He modeled for us. “Father, take this cup from Me, nevertheless, not My will be done, but Thine.”

  66. Sam says:

    I think that there are some good observations in here but there are also some incorrect conclusions presented. I feel that there are too many contradictions. For example,
    “There is no ONE PERSON for you. But once you marry someone, that person becomes your one person.”

    The way this article is written makes it sound like it is entirely up to us. You may feel like your husband is not your soulmate, but what about God’s divine guidance in your life leading you to meet him. Are you completely negating that?

    Also,
    “a husband is not only not a biblical promise, it is also not a specific element of God’s “plan for my life.””

    Honestly, it depends. What God desires for one person is different from the next. I feel like the way this article is written, it is saying we are entirely a product of our choices and there is no room for God’s divine providence and leading in our life. He will lead us to whomever we will marry. Even if we are 4 years old, there is someone out there for us to marry and God knows it because He is all knowing. He won’t force all of our choices along the way, but He will help us get where we need to be. (That is if we are listening to Him along the way. Of course there are people who plunge ahead headstrong and mess up their lives completely…and miss out on much of what God intended.) I feel like this article disregards this perspective entirely. Yes we are not robots and a product of only forces beyond our control heading toward the illusive soulmate, but we are not abandoned floating islands either, left to make a bunch of guesses through trial and error. I feel like this article is not balanced in this regard. If my daughter came to me starry eyed about the man who God would have for them, I would not be so eager to “pop her bubble” because that really isn’t necessary. You’re right everyone is different and God’s plan might or might not involve marriage, because He desires us to be saved first and foremost. But most people DO get married and marriage is part of His divine plan and my daughter would have to seek God to find His specific plan for her.

    • Joy says:

      AMEN, AMEN, AMEN! Thank you – you took the words right out of my mouth! I was discussing this with my mom and she told me ‘most people do marry, it’s the norm, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t trust God to guide you in that decision.’

    • huw005 says:

      Thank you for articulating my thoughts so poignantly! After all, God chose Eve specifically for Adam. ;)

    • runwpatience says:

      Thanks for this, Sam!

    • dmac says:

      YES. This complete dichotomy between our choices and God’s choices for us is just false, and frankly, disturbing to hear from so many Christians. Do we not believe in a Holy Spirit who is IN us, leading us? Should we also take credit for our holy lives, since our actions are our own choice? Yes, marriage is about making a commitment, but God is always sovereign.

    • m&m says:

      RE: Sam

      I disagree with some of your comments, specifically when you state that “there are people who plunge ahead headstrong and mess up their lives completely…and miss out on much of what God intended.”

      While I do think that God has a plan for every single person, I don’t think there is any way that you can ‘mess up’ God’s plan. If you think about it, doesn’t God know us more intimately than we even know ourselves? If so, don’t you think that He knows the type of choices we will make? In fact, those people who do ‘plunge ahead headstrong’ and mess everything up, as you put it, are probably doing nothing more than living up to God’s expectations for them.

      Furthermore, I don’t think it’s possible to miss anything that God wants us to experience. It is the height of arrogance to think that we can ever know His plan for us, not to mention how extremely self-centered and egotistical it is to think that any of our choices can take us away from anything He wants us to experience.

      As a teenager, I was one of those youth ministry kids; I did bible studies and youth groups, went to church every Sunday, I even attended several Christian youth retreats. I firmly believed that I was on the right path, that I was living the life that God had set out for me, and I was so proud of myself for recognizing and following through with God’s plan for my life. As I grew older I started to question that path, and eventually began to stray away from it. I made choices that I now know were mistakes, and I probably did mess up my life pretty badly. But the thing is, I learned from those mistakes. Those mistakes made me a stronger and smarter person, they helped me to become the person I am today. In fact, ‘messing up my life’ was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. Now, looking back at it, I doubt if that first path was ever what God intended for me, even though I was convinced that it was exactly what He wanted. There have been so many amazing opportunities and experiences I would have missed out on if I hadn’t strayed away from that path, important experiences that have helped to define my faith and my aspirations. And that’s because I was one of those “people who plunge ahead headstrong and mess up their lives completely.” But I really don’t feel that I “miss[ed] out on much of what God intended” for me. I feel like He brought me so much more that I could have ever imagined for myself.

      Sorry about the long response, but that particular comment struck a very personal chord, and I felt compelled to share my thoughts.

      • Jmarch says:

        From scripture we can glean that God intends sanctification—a continual growth in holiness for every believer. That’s in the Book, we can count on that, it’s His revealed will for our lives. I believe that like in Eden, He offers us choice. He’s made clear his revealed will for our lives (walking with Him) but he gives us the freedom to choose to ignore/disregard, in sin, his revealed will for us and the specific leading of the Holy Spirit in our inner man. In Eden the choice Adam and Eve faced was submission to God’s command (do not eat of this specific tree) and the reward of perfect life enjoying God or disobedience and the consequences that entailed. But God is a God of grace. When we choose not to seek God, to make decisions we know are wrong and “mess up our lives,” He still works through the sin ( “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”) God knows US intimately and is sovereign in His knowledge of the actions and choices of every single person one of us. His desire for us is always to love and seek Him with our lives. Yet he Has given us the choice to do so or to walk away and miss out on enjoying fellowship with him during those times in our lives. But, as in your life, and I think most of us can testify as well, He mercifully uses our disobedience and sin for GOOD. We should certainly be a grateful people.

    • Sam Estes says:

      It is always a balance. The antimony of God’s Sovereignty and our Freedom of choice will make a difference throughout all decisions in life. Trust God and do your part. Micah 6:8

  67. Liz says:

    First time reader that also found you via Facebook here…this is awesome! Seriously, as someone who was also encouraged by my middle school Bible study groups to make “what I want in a husband” lists, it’s uncanny how much I relate to this. The concept of soul mates never really sat well with me, and you did a great job of articulating lots of the reasons why. Totally on point. And I have to say: definitely giggled at your dad’s practical advice and at this line: “I like James so much more than my imaginary, obnoxiously religious, but most likely dumb, youth pastor future husband.”

  68. Jessica says:

    I love that my 15 year old daughter just gave this to me to read :-)

  69. Rose says:

    I am currently battling within myself whether or not I want to continue seeing the man I’m dating. He is a wonderful man; a Christian, wholly given to serving God, he cares for me, he is kind, he has the character of who I’d always hope I’d have the privilege of marrying one day. So why am I thinking if breaking up with him? Because I just don’t want to marry him. I feel like I’d be locking myself in by continuing with him. Is there something wrong with me? Am I at fault because there is no good reason for me to end the relationship other than I don’t think I can marry him? :(

    • Rick says:

      Is that out of fear Rose, or do you feel it is something tangible and real? Have you taken this to prayer to the Holy Spirit? It could be as simple as you really just aren’t ready to be married, or perhaps their is something in your spirit telling you this isn’t a good idea. First and foremost seek wisdom from God.

    • Ben says:

      Why would you marry someone you don’t want to be married to?

    • Amanda says:

      not wanting to marry him is exactly a reason to break up. if you don’t want to marry him, then don’t. if you’re not going to marry him, then he deserves to know that, and to start looking for someone else. every day you don’t tell him he’s getting more attached to you, and it will make it that much harder on him (and you!) when you do break it off. its okay that there’s nothing specifically “wrong” with him to give you a reason to do it; there’s tons of great guys out there, and they’re not all going to be a good match for you. think of it this way; somewhere out there is the woman he IS going to marry. if you care about him, let him get on with finding her! if he’s as great as you say, let HER get on with finding him! i was in a very similar situation, and waited several months to break up with him, because he was such a nice Christian guy, and i didn’t want to hurt his feelings. but let me tell you, the longer i dragged it out, the harder it was on him, and that wasn’t fair of me. you know?

    • Liz says:

      I think you should go with your gut feeling on this. I had the same struggle with a previous relationship – I was SO torn up over ending it because he seemingly had all the characteristics I wanted in a person, but I just wasn’t feeling it. What I learned is that relationships don’t need a wholly sensible justification for ending – if it doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t feel right. It’s difficult not to get “admirable traits” confused with “person who’s right for me.” Does that help at all? Good luck with everything :)

    • Cheryl says:

      I agree with Rick, Rose. Bathe this decision in prayer! Seek out a pastor or minister in your church! Pray! and Fast! Fast! and Pray! This is a HUGE decision and feelings can not always be trusted, either way. I know two people that broke it off for this purpose and one is happily married now and the other well on the way (relationship going great)!

      I also agree with Amanda, however. When/if you are sure he is not the one, break it off immediately! Otherwise, it is like lying to him every time you see him, if you think about it.

      Will lift you up in prayer!

  70. K Cutler says:

    Love this sooooo much!

  71. K Cutler says:

    Reblogged this on stranger-with-stories and commented:
    As a single gal, I can honestly say I LOVE this post:

  72. Hannah says:

    “At any step here, we could have made other choices and you know what? We might have married other people, or stayed single, and had happy and full lives.

    But now I delight in choosing to love him everyday.

    I like it better this way, with the pressure on me and not on fate, cosmos, or divinity. I will not fall out of love, cannot fall out of love, because I willingly dived in and I’m choosing daily to stay in. This is my joyous task, my daily decision.”

    From someone who is in a long term relationship and has had to make the decision on whether or not to be together long distance and whether or not to move when I wasn’t sure what was in store, this is one of the most wonderful things I have ever read. It is inevitable not to wonder whether or not you made the right decision, whether or not you missed out on something. These words fit that situations to a T. They make me feel as if there was no possible way I could have missed out on a single thing, because I chose to stay in love. From one Hannah to another, I am so thankful for these words!

  73. Christie says:

    Wow….just read this from a friends post. I LOVE your advice and perspective. Thank you for sharing!!! :-)

  74. Chari says:

    I am stealing this quote from you “I like it better this way, with the pressure on me and not on fate, cosmos, or divinity. I will not fall out of love, cannot fall out of love, because I willingly dived in and I’m choosing daily to stay in. This is my joyous task, my daily decision. This is my marriage.” I know that God told me that I could marry my husband and be happy. He also knew that it would be difficult with the trials we have been given and I am allowed everyday to continue to choose to love my husband even through trials. Do you mind if I quote you in my blog post I’m working on?

  75. K says:

    I just happened upon this through facebook, and I have to say it was hard for me to relate. It doesn’t agree with my experience. I went to church as a little girl and met the Lord very young. In high school I hardly ever went. I wasn’t part of a youth group. No purity ring for me. Yet, I had extremely powerful moments with God as he fathered me. He spoke to me in a nearly audible voice (which has happened only a few times in my life) when I was 16. I had a boyfriend at the time, and he said–stunned me–“someone else is meant for you.” Two years later, while dating another boy, I became pregnant. Again, God encountered me; this time it changed my life. I had never felt the kind of love that poured down on me. I was overcome and undone. I knew that neither I nor my baby belonged to myself. And here I agree with the author–I made a choice. I chose to follow God the best I knew how. I trusted him to make it work. I told my parents, left college, got married, and had a baby. My spiritual life has been a beautiful unfolding since that moment. In eight years of marriage, I experienced unfathomable verbal abuse, a spouse addicted to drugs and alcohol, financial turmoil, infidelity, and the loss of a baby. My heart was torn open. Christ was with me every step. Every so often he reminded me that this is his plan. He always comforted me, never wanted me to believe the enemy’s lies that I was garbage. But, he allowed me to grow spiritually in ways I never would have had the courage to choose for myself. The past year and a half has been one of transformation. I have struggled to believe the storm is really over. I see the burden lifted off of this man, and in his eyes a deep gratitude. We love each other. We laugh all the time. Our kids are happy. People need more romance, more hope. I think they need to believe more profoundly in providence and the power of God. Everyone has battles to fight. He is the God who goes before us and knows what we need before we ask. Bless Him.

    Losing the baby was probably the hardest thing spiritually because it was the least resolved. God is there to give us understanding on so many things, but it’s ok if we don’t everything. He cares about your desires; not just Israel’s desires thousands of years ago. He knows everything about you. Not everyone will marry. Not everyone will live long enough to marry. But some are called to it, meaning it is planned for them. We will all do different things and are given different gifts. It is God’s choosing and our choices intermingled. It’s very romantic, if you ask me.

    • Randa says:

      Thank you for sharing your story, your perspective rings true. We are each individuals, and God is doing something different in each of our lives. We need to look to Him, and not what other people say should or shouldn’t be.

      • K says:

        Thank you Randa! Sorry it took me so long to realize I had a follow-up comment. I appreciate your kindness and encouragement. And I very much agree with your last statement.

    • Cheryl says:

      K, I hope this post is received the way it is meant (NOT judging or saying I have all the answers for sure!)… I am SO sorry for all of your pain! One thing I have learned (after going through a devastating marriage and divorce) is that JUST because we ‘hear’ it, does not mean it’s from God. I am in no way saying you did not hear from him, but — as for me– I thought I heard from God and now I believe that since my (now X) was not AT ALL interested in following God’s laws prior to marriage (protecting my purity), that voice was from satan… not God.

      Even IF you end up concluding that it’s the same for you (not from God), I DO believe God works for the good for those who love the Lord! I think what was key in your post (different from my situation ) is that you followed God the best you knew how! I slept with my now ex-husband and KNEW it was wrong (disobeyed God’s laws AND
      my parents).

      Too long of a story for here… but… I have been divorced 9 years and even though there was infidelity, etc, if I had to do it over… I would have stayed in there and fought for my marriage! The Bible says all we have to do is have faith the size of a mustard seed!

      I AM PRAYING FOR THE MIRACLE AND HAVING THE FAITH FOR YOUR MARRIAGE THAT I AM SAD I DID NOT HAVE FOR MY OWN!

      http://marriage-missions.com/discerning-the-difference-between-the-conviction-of-the-holy-spirit-and-condemnation-of-the-enemy/

      God’s speed!

      • K says:

        Cheryl,

        I really appreciate your response, and I am sorry for what you have gone through. I know that there were times I obeyed God when it was hard–the sermon on the mount takes on a new level of meaning when you’re really struggling–but, I also know that many people prayed for us over the years and God intervened mightily. The Lord would offer reassurance of his promises through glimpses of how my husband would be like Christ one day; sometimes others prayed for us and shared similar words from the Lord. God always let me know that it was HIM who was working on my husband. One of my greatest blessings was having fellowship with strong, faithful believers. I cannot take credit for the work of so many prayers and days spent seeking righteousness. I believe it was a season of my life which God used to shape me in faith, love, and humility, to help put my flesh to death, and to bring glory to Himself.

        Please know I separated from my husband when things were especially ugly. The first time it was hard to know whether I was doing the “right” or “wrong” thing. My comfort was scripture about separating your fellowship from the unrepentant and the intense presence of God I felt in those days. It was during this time that we lost the baby. In the days that followed God was so near I could almost point to where he was standing beside me. It was marvelous. After reuniting and a brief period of sobriety, everything fell apart again. I was more than stunned this time; I was mad. For the first time when I talked to my husband, I could truly see how I was dealing with “powers and principalities” and they weren’t fooling me this time. I assured him he would get before God and get free, or we would never be a family again. I say this because it’s important not to paint an incomplete picture. Nothing about this process was easy. I too contemplated divorce and resolved that God would have to solve this problem. I do not judge you for what you have suffered. Surely, neither of us made all the right decisions, but God’s grace will win out. One of the biggest things for me has been to get free from the influence of the enemy who torments us by stealing, killing, and destroying our peace, joy, hope, faith, our belief that God cares about and forgives us, that Christ really wants what is best, and that the Father loves us like crazy–HE DOES! Ultimately, it is not God’s desire to see us languish forever under unbearable burdens. He wants to bless us. The book of Job can be so confusing unless we see this.

        One thing I can say is that God answers prayer. I am reminded of when Jesus said to basically not stop asking until you get it in the story of the persistent widow. On the other hand, I had to allow myself to let go of the son I lost so God could heal my grief. We live in a world caught between kingdom and fallenness. Still, I will always push for the kingdom given the choice. I will pray for you Cheryl. I believe God has great things around the corner for you, Bless you!

  76. Hope says:

    I loved this post. I have always said I didn’t believe in soul mates, to which I always got lots of disagreement. I think about those that have lost husbands or wives young in their marriage and then remarried….it would make the second marriage seem insignificant. But the truth is God doesn’t want anyone to be alone.

  77. Ryan says:

    God gave us marriage in order to show us how Christ loves His bride, the Church. There’s also this thing called providence, which for us means God does have a plan for each of our lives, and for many of us that includes a spouse and children, and through them, we are to learn how to love like Christ loves. This article is too cynical. I don’t care who you are, ladies, you are a princess and don’t let anyone tell you different. Fellas, be a white knight, or better yet, be like Christ and give her every last ounce of your strength.

    • Cheryl says:

      Ryan,

      When we can not hear someone’s tone/see body language, it is easy to misinterpret or misunderstand while reading the written word, of course. I do not know Hannah, but I truly think her heart is in the right place and she wants to help others this area.

      As someone that is JUST NOW, after 50 years, breaking the chains of the Cinderella Complex, (http://www.nytimes.com/1981/03/22/magazine/the-cinderella-syndrome.html)
      I believe this discussion is a very important one! I believed in the fairytales told by the Disney movies and believed by SO MANY in our culture… even Christians, that I NEEDED a man to be complete! So, I married at 23 yrs old thinking I was old and worried that the ‘right one’ might not come along. Marriage ended in disaster — for my children AND me!

      After 50 yrs, I am FINALLY learning to break the chains of believing the lie that I need a HUman to be complete! ALL I need is God! I know most Christians would say that, but do we TRULY believe it? Or… IF God asked us not to ever marry, would we be ok with that, when our culture SCREAMS we should be married?

      There is a divorce epidemic in our culture, so I think we ALL need to learn more about it! I say Kudo’s to Hannah for getting the conversation started!

  78. felicia says:

    >>yes!
    >>yes!!
    >>Y E S ! ! !

    Thank you for this! I am whole heartedly on board with you!

    [I think according to your "list" we somehow were 'waiting' for the same perfect, super hot Christian guy..hahaha!]

    But really, I love everything you shared here, and have recently had my eyes open to similar things that have been ingrained into my being as a result of being a church kid. The intention is good, but its off just enough to keep us from [[rreeally]] living life, a l i v e ! !

    Thank you again for sharing your heart =)

  79. Christine says:

    Dear Steve,
    I have problems with people who say “I’m doing this because God told me to” or “God told me ______ is the one”. I’ve seen it, and experienced it, too many times and when things don’t turn out it’s chalked up to “the mysterious ways of God”. The will of God is open to way too much speculation and interpretation. Of course God cares about the details of your life. But that doesn’t mean God arranged David to meet the perfect woman. He had multiple wives, mostly for political reasons and sex. The only “arranged” marriages in the Bible were A) Adam and Eve (that one is pretty clear cut) and B) Isaac and Rebecca, because she watered a servants camels. God meets us where wherever we choose to go, in every decision. So pick someone you love and like Hannah said they will become your “One”.

    Dear Hannah,
    I’m so happy for you and James. And I’m very excited that you sent this out into the world. I hope everyone reads it. I totally relate to the teenage version of you. I was that way until college when I finally broke free of it. When I told my (now husband) Zach that I didn’t believe he was “the one” (for the same reasons you mentioned) he almost broke up with me. Why? Because if we weren’t “meant to be together” then that would mean we could be broken up. He had a really hard time understanding me at first. Now he totally gets it, which is good for me ’cause he’s the love of my life.

    My sister shared your post with me and when I read it I was literally yelling “Yes!” the whole time. Kudos, eprops, and virtual high fives to you.

    Christine

    Oh and ps. I’m not going to engage in any debates. That was my two cents. Hannah’s blog is too awesome to clutter with angry words and rebuttals that may arise from any misunderstandings.

    • Sam says:

      >> ” The only “arranged” marriages in the Bible were A) Adam and Eve (that one is pretty clear cut) and B) Isaac and Rebecca, because she watered a servants camels. ”

      There were many instances of “arranged marriages” in the Bible. It was cultural.
      Also, specifically, the way the second point is stated. ” B) Isaac and Rebecca, because she watered a servants camels.” This seems like a misunderstanding of this passage. It makes it seem like the entire arrangement hindered on Rebecca’s choice to water the camels. It disregards God’s sovreignty in the entire process as he led Abraham’s servant, who prayed that the right one would water the camels. Not sure if that is how you meant it.

      I understand people’s frustrations with saying “I’m doing this because God told me to” but the fact is it happens.

  80. chels56 says:

    Beautiful. I feel the same way. Life takes you on paths and God grants you your path and knowledge and ultimately you chose. I was once told that being in a marriage was like perusing a degree. You should always want to learn more and more until you reach your “doctorate degree” in your spouse. I feel that as you continue to grow, your souls grow together making you soul mates. Beautiful post. Don’t let a couple of bad comments get you down. :)

  81. David C. Eddy says:

    I think God has a plan for everyone’s life that is best for them and that they should make decisions consistent with the teachings of Christ. We cannot change other people, we need to know prospective mates weaknesses and strengths and use good judgment as to your compatibility with your prospective other. If they drive you crazy when you are getting to know them; it is a sure thing that they will be wrong for you. It is necessary for you to be willing to be thoughtful and kind and that they do the same. Every day should be spent finding new ways to make your relationship last for now and forever.

  82. Raquel says:

    This article definitely caught my attention because it is something I have thought about a lot–whether God has a certain specific person, or as you called it, a “soulmate” for every person, or whether He gives us the choice to marry whom we want. It really does come down to the question of pre-destination vs. free-will, and that is one of those mysteries of God that I don’t think I will ever fully understand, and maybe we’re not meant to! But I think the answer of these two extremes is somewhere in the middle. So I partly agree with you and partly disagree. :)

    For example, It’s especially difficult to wrestle with that question for someone like me, who comes from a broken home. Both of my parents are Christians, and when they married, they both believed that they were the “right ones” for each other, and yet they divorced. So then, if it was not God’s will for them to marry, then that must mean that I was not in God’s plan. But I don’t actually believe that.

    What I have come to believe about this whole thing (and I’m not married or dating anyone) is that God does have a plan for each person, including the person whom we marry, yet we have the choice to step out of His will and do things He did not intend. The key lies in being led by the Holy Spirit. We DO have the choice, about all kinds of things: where we live, who we marry, our career choice, etc. But just because we make a certain choice with our free will does not mean that it was one that He wanted..One of my favorite verses is in Psalms 37:23 “The Lord directs the steps of the godly, He delights in every detail of their lives.” lol and clearly, the person whom you marry is not just a “detail”. So, when it comes to deciding who to marry (or any other major decision), we are supposed to take it to God in prayer, and His Holy Spirit will guide us to the right decision. One of the most amazing experiences I had in my life was when I heard the Holy Spirit speaking to me directly, about several things, but one thing He told me in specific was that He had someone waiting for me, but that it was not anyone I knew. yes, it does kind of put some pressure on me, knowing that I could make potentially “make a mistake”, but if I submit to being led by the Spirit, He’ll guide me to the right person :)

  83. Ricky says:

    I don’t agree with this at all. I don’t believe in “soul mates,” per se, but I do believe that God has very specific plans for our love lives, careers, you name it. There are plenty of proverbs speaking of men gaining God’s favour who find a wife. So obviously, if a man is blessed with a wife, that is a literal blessing from God, so why wouldn’t that be the same for women who find a husband? Saying the contrary is just unbiblical. You cannot say that Scripture says God does not have a plan for a marital partner for us when the evidence in Scripture says otherwise. Nobody can say what plans God has and what knowledge He possesses for our lives, not even you. Obviously quoting verses from Isaiah and Jeremiah can be proven otherwise because those words were spoken to a specific people in a specific culture at a specific time, but you’re forgetting the proverbs that I briefly mentioned above, which is a book of wisdom, not necessarily written to a specific people. I believe the entire basis of her thoughts is a false doctrine.

  84. Bruce Retief says:

    Hi Hannah. Beautiful post! I deal with young adults here in South Africa and I keep trying to tell them that God only cares about 4 qualities in your future spouse: Loves Jesus, isn’t a relative, is of the opposite sex, and isn’t married to anyone else – so marry ANYONE you like that fits that description. :-)

  85. Kristen says:

    This is silly. I don’t have to choose to love him every day, it comes naturally. This feeling when you know someone is the one is so much different than it being readily available to several different people that happen to come along. I could be happy with someone else, but it would never suffice, it would only make due.

    • Alex says:

      Kristen,

      I totally agree. Choosing to love through tough times, tough decisions and tough arguments is a real and important thing to do. All relationships take work and commitment on all levels. However, If you’re having to choose to love your partner every day, I think there’s a problem …

      • rex says:

        Alex, okay, so say there’s a problem, and every day is a hard choice. Then what?? are you saying divorce and start over? what exactly is your point to those who are already married?

  86. Melody says:

    Hannah, thank you for your thoughts and honesty. It is refreshing for one a little further up the road to see this level of maturity and transparency. Many Christian singles are going into later parts of life without marriage. Some may need a refresher in what matters most- full abundant Christ centered lives – single or married.
    Fellow Christians, when approaching forums or blogs it is best to address the issue not the person. Christ would have pointed to the issues, not re-labeled or tag the person with perceived personality flaws or harsh words.

  87. Kathy says:

    What about the example of Abraham telling his servant to go and find Isaac’s wife? There can be a Divine appointment, don’t you think?

  88. Ilya says:

    I feel sorry for you.

  89. Hannah says:

    I am so thankful for this post, I have read on different opinions of the soul mate….and I agree whole heartily…marriage is a love made by choice.

  90. Celia says:

    I believe that we can be spousal soul mates with more than one person (not at the same time, lol). That there is more than one person in this world with whom we can have a loving, fulfilled Godly marriage. I don’t think we are so unique that there is only one person for us. However, I do believe that God has plans for all of his children. And He gives us choice. (amazing) Our job is to seek to know His plan and to follow it.God says I am giving you a choice but I want you to consult me before you choose because I know what’s best for you. And I want you to trust me and love me enough to allow me to guide you. I wonder, when do we determine what God says in his word applied to the people of that time, and when is it applicable to all of God’s people in future generations. And who determines that. So, if God chooses the spouse of one person in a miraculous way that there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this was God-ordained, and then allows another person to choose their own spouse with his general guidance, what does that mean? Does He trust the second person more to let them make their own choice? Does he care more about the first person? Does he have a specific plan for the first couple that causes him to intervene so directly and dramatically in their lives, but not such a specific plan for the second couple?
    Your story is your story and it is valuable in debunking some of the myths about marriage. I would say that your story is not truth for every christian couple. That there are couples that God chose for each other and there are people that, yes, He has a name written on their forehead, FOR JAMES JOHNSON ONLY. Why that is, is a mystery. I know that our responsibility as Christians is to ask God to lead and direct us in EVERY choice that we make, including choosing a spouse. I also know that common sense, education, and wisdom does not always lead to the right choice, meaning the choice that God would have us make. Sometimes God wants us to make a choice that makes no sense (even to christians). Our job is to pray, pray and pray for His leading and for His will to be done in our lives. And to obey.

    • adr102490 says:

      Celia, I think I agree with you!
      God communicates in different ways with his Different children. I know that God wanted me to go to a specific college over the other two I had in mind. Most of my friends didn’t get that advice from God, they got something else (like, it gave you a scholarship and you can learn there). And I am so grateful I went to that college, because that is where I met my husband!
      I tend to believe that there isn’t Only One and Only One person to marry. God usually isn’t as specific as that, though I think there’s a Best One. I knew I had come across him when I prayed about marrying him and God gave me the same overwhelming peace He did when I picked a college (and many other life-altering decisions).
      God made us differently and He talks to us and reveals His plans in different ways. It’s a mystery but it’s a wonderful mystery!

  91. As a dreamy guitar playing worship leader, I thoroughly dislike this post. haha Just kidding of course, great article!

  92. I totally agree with your thoughts. In fact it’s actually bringing some sort of healing in a weird way to my own thought processes. I believe the idea of choice is so much more powerful than if things were scripted up in a divine fashion. I’ve been reading Danny Silk’s book, “Keep Your Love On,” and according to that book you’d be on the mature end of your view of relationship. I think in our childhood we just get swept away with the idea of how Jesus cradles us into his bosom and wants us so badly. It’s a picture of grace, yet I believe that from that place God also asks us to respond and make a choice to love back. I love how you clearly highlighted that you “choose” to love your husband. Two people to choose each other is powerful. That even though there is a choice to give up or stop loving, one continues to choose to love til the end. wow :)

  93. Your dad sounds like my dad! They must have read the same book… I so clearly remember the day he shut down my sister’s belief that her husband-to-be was her “soul mate” – she was devastated and I learnt from it and have never called my husbie soul mate :)

  94. Bringing Christian dating back into the realm of real life; great post

  95. constanze says:

    I LOVE this. for real, you wrote some truth down here and i am glad there are more and more people out there thinking the same about marriage / single life!
    love from germany. x

  96. Heather says:

    I certainly don’t believe in a “soul mate” (such a toxic premise), though I do reject the idea that our God is anyhow disinterested or aloof in our choosing of a spouse (though I don’t necessarily think that is your opinion, either :) ). If He exists and orchestrates His divine work in/through dimensions & realms (string theory would suggest at least eleven) that we could never fully comprehend, surely we can’t reduce the idea of His purpose/plan–in any aspect of life–to a simple imperative of “you must choose” or “He must choose”. It would be like a two-dimensional drawing on a piece of paper trying to contemplate an object that at once looks starkly like a triangle, but at another glance must certainly be a square. A third-dimensional being would lovingly chuckle at the simple creature who, unbeknownst to him, had been contemplating an actual pyramid all along, wrecked with anxiety over labeling it as either one shape or the other. If only that two-dimensional creature could comprehend the true beauty of the object it beheld–which not only is BOTH a triangle and square, but is more stable and substantial than either shape is on its own. In regards to finding a spouse, I think our God loves us, he wants to bless us, and he is intimately acquainted with every aspect of our life. I believe he wants us to relax, rest in Him, and trust that life is a crazy, beautiful combination of seeking God’s will/opportunity AND utilizing the facilities he has blessed us with (analytical reasoning, free will, etc.) along the way. We small-minded humans, much like that two-dimensional creature, can only hope to experience His overwhelming truth and complex beauty in glimpses that simultaneously bewilder, humble, and comfort us. Our lives, our choices, and his interaction with us must be to him some of the most beautiful, multi-dimensional works of art that ever existed!

  97. Laurie says:

    In a word… “Boundaries”… God created us with free will, not as automatons who go through a completely prescribed life and path. He is the God who wants what is best for us, wants us to be happy and fulfilled, and yes we do get to make choices! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your inspired post, this dovetails beautifully with my own personal journey into HIS healing the last few years. It’s liberating to realize he gives us choices!

    Keep on writing! You have a gift, thank you for sharing it!

  98. Janne V. says:

    Just to say, I’ve had some good time (nearly 2 hours) reading your blog for the first time. I loved to photography and the stories, the good and beautiful moments captured there. And like with many others before me, laughter, even tears. Good stuff on marriage & love!

    I’m glad that I clicked that link that someone I have never met (Jonathan Welton) posted on fb. :)

    All the best and God bless!

    -Janne V. / Scotland (originally from Finland)

  99. And in 24 more years, you may look at the man who thinks he looks nothing like he did when you married him (but you don’t really see any difference!) and realize: We’re soul mates. When did that happen?

  100. Naomi B says:

    I do pray for my future husband, not because I think he’s my soul-mate, but because I believe he exists somewhere, and I’m sure he could use some prayer, right? I pray that God will show him his weakness and His strength, and that he would learn to love well. I also write letters to him, that I don’t particularly plan on reading to him, but they help me get a better perspective on marriage and what it will be like. They are also strikingly unromantic, because they always turn out to be something I’ve been thinking about, even when I try to write my feelings.

  101. Lucy says:

    I think a lot of what was said here is very needed. However, the idea of soul mate is not a completely un-Biblical idea. While God never says I have one specific person for you, people who believe that he does, generally take it from the fact that God gave Adam, Eve. He didn’t give him a mirage of women to choose from he gave Adam one. On the other hand I say, if you are married to them, they are the one. Until death (or they divorce you, or you divorce them on Biblical grounds) you are to be completely committed to them as if they were the only person for you. I always hated the idea of a list because most of the time I don’t know what I really want and certainly not what I need.
    The last thing I wanted to say was as I have gotten older is that there are actually far fewer people you could live with happily then those you want to kill after the first day. While I think there are many people you can put up with for a few years (say roommate in college), but there are more things to drive you nuts when there is commitment to keep and you love them even more. Also I don’t believe God necessarily controls all your decisions, but a spouse is a huge one, They are your ministry partner and I do not mean pastor/missionary. You have a ministry where ever you are, most important is your children when you have them, and when I think this man is influencing my children his role means a lot more to me. Anyways I enjoyed every thing your post brought out in the lies of how Christians have viewed the kissed dating good-bye movement. And that once you are married to someone, you are married to them. I was encouraged that people still hold this view.

  102. Hannah, where have YOU been my whole life? This is so spot-on everything I have been thinking through (leading up to my own wedding in February 2014). Nights of Kissing Dating Goodbye and Silver Ring Thing-ing could have been spent being taught the important principles: become more like Christ and you’ll be satisfied. Satisfaction in Him, not future Youth Pastor husband (who I was convinced I would marry). I also don’t believe that my future husband (who’s a scientist, not a pastor!) is my “soul mate”, but not because I don’t adore him — I do! — but because God gave us a brain and the ability to make choices. Praise Him!

    PS I like you. Let’s be friends? :)

  103. Thank you for being honest and vulnerable. I agree with what you are saying, and sometimes it is frustrating for me when others do not desire to understand my viewpoint :) I want to encourage you to remember that no one can discredit your journey, feelings or worth! The Lord has taken you in this direction and He is pleased that you want Him to be first. Don’t let a few critiques discourage you in writing about your own experiences because they are yours! Although this was an eloquently written post (and I loved it!) people disagree because they have their own experience or simply do not understand (as I’m sure you already know :)). Anywho, I appreciated this!

  104. Lucy says:

    I almost didn’t marry my best friend because I had the mindset that God had chosen the worship leader, totally right for me in every way, guy for me to marry. Both had proposed, and I felt like I was rebelling against God when I finally said, “I want to marry my best friend! So I’m doing it, even though this is not God’s will.” It took a while, but I do believe God was working on my heart to show me the difference between free will and his “bigger picture will” for my life. So glad I married my best friend. I, too, grew up with the whole “wait for me as I wait for you” concept. (i.e. no dating at all.) And while it probably saved me a lot of heartache in the end, I sure had a messed up view on how God’s will works. Thank you for writing this.

  105. Bella says:

    Your post has reached Germany :)
    I think you have a very helpful perspective and really enjoyed reading your text. For a long time, I, too, thought that God had “the one” for me, which left me devastated when “the one” broke up with me. Even now, I sometimes realize I’m deep in my heart still clinging on to the idea that, one day, he might come back – being “the one”…. To think that I can have blessed “great marriages” with several people (well, one of them, of course ;)) is quite relaxing. Right now, I’m learning to enjoy a full life being single and in love with Jesus.
    So, your article might be one of the many small impulses helping me to let go of my ex. I just have some minor remarks on your text…
    – I do think we can take some of the promises God made to Israel as personal promises for us. If they only and exclusively applied to a special people in a special time, what use would they have being in the Bibel? I think by promising to take care of Israel, God revealed how HE is, and as he is the same through the ages, he will also take care of us. I don’t think you were wrong in claiming that verse in Jeremiah for yourself. You merely were wrong interpreting it as the promise of a HUSBAND. God does promise to take care of us, and I think he also does so by promises in the Old Testament. However, he never promised a husband for everyone. Maybe, it’s best for me not to get married and just enjoy the intimacy with God. But I am sure he wants my best.
    – I really like the idea that there are several people with whom I might lead a good marriage and I agree that this is our own choice. Nevertheless I do consider it important to seek God’s will before entering into a relationship/marriage. Because although there might be several “Mr. Rights”, I believe that some persons would be “wrong” for me – even if they were Christians. Asking for God’s opinion before making such a decision, I want to give him the chance to say “no”.
    – Finally – that’s rather off-topic and I hope it’s not rude to ask – I was confused why your husband “has to die first”. How do you know? Or, if this is just your wish, is it out of selflessness, because you want to spare him the fate of being a widower?
    Anyway, thank you very much for your helpful thoughts!
    Greetings from Germany :)

  106. Billie c says:

    Yeah, and how about Christian Mingle? “Find God’s match for you”. Plastic marketing.

  107. esther says:

    I’m thankful for this post, Hannah. I too was that girl, that for so long bought into the promises of “the one”, wrote letters to my “future husband” and yadayada. Throughout my twenties as I have continued to be single, I have learned many things through observation and my own growing dependence on the Lord. I truly believe marriage is a beautiful thing, and singleness can be as well (not to say it is easy by any means). I whole-heartedly believe all things are ordained by God before the beginning of time, including the seasons of our life and who we are going to marry (meaning, God knew before the foundation of the world whether or not we will marry and whom) or what avenue of service we will fill our life with. All that being said, I also believe that God has created us with intellect and the ability to make decisions. If we are living our lives in pursuit of growing deeper in our relationship with the Lord, growing in obedience for Him (obedience which flows from a heart of gratitude and praise for HIS grace, love and kindness in our lives), then we are in His will. We then are able to choose where we will go to college, what job offer to accept, or whom to marry.

    I like the thoughts on having more than one “soul mate” (which could include a spouse or a close friend) and the idea of growing as soul mates in a marriage as you make the choice to love each and every day.

    I probably could continue, but I’d be rambling more than I already am. Thanks for this post! I appreciate it! Your wedding pics are beautiful! :-)

  108. joanna n. says:

    a lot of good points, but from experience, i can say that you don’t even need to be attracted to the guy b4 dating at least. i always thought i would be, but when my husband-to-be came along, i was not attracted to him. he was a good, Christian man who came to respect immensely as we dated, & yes, i’m def. attracted to him now & i was b4 we were married, but my advice to females out there is this: do not turn a date down because you aren’t attracted to him; if you respect him, i honestly feel that attraction can & will follow. it did for me & i’ve heard several other testimonies of it as well.

  109. Cindy Allen says:

    I too was swept up in the “Kiss Dating Goodbye” wave. I didn’t grow up in a church-going, Christian home and I think that the book and the fantasies I had about God having one perfect person for me gave me peace that I could break the terrible cycle in my family of marry, divorce, marry, divorce, etc. However, I remember feeling worried that I could (and most likely would) screw it up and then the entire plan for my life would not work out because I didn’t marry God’s perfect one for me. I too wrote letters and kept a journal for my future hubby. And, you are right- it is hilarious to go back and read them. I didn’t get married until I was 33 and in my 20’s I signed up for a Christian online dating site and guess what? I was always getting matched up with youth ministers and pastors, and I thought for sure that I would meet my super-spiritual husband and fade off into the sunset. What I got instead was a lot of awkward dating moments, interesting/funny stories and disappointment. I was disappointed because I was feeling constantly let-down from my ridiculous and totally unrealistic expectations. Finally, through God’s help, I decided when I turned 30 to start working on myself and stop being obsessed with meeting the perfect one. I went to counseling to work through the issues I had from my childhood and my broken family, I got involved in a small group of other young women to “do life with”, and I started working on my issues of fear and worry. Of course, all of this was through my relationship with the Lord and he used that time to heal many broken places in my life that I was expecting a husband to do. Thank you, Lord, that I didn’t marry right out of college. No man could have ever, ever, ever meet those expectations and met those needs in me. My marriage would have surely been a complete disaster. God is so good to save us from ourselves, isn’t he? So, I ended up meeting, dating, and marrying and super cute wood-worker- not a youth minister or a pastor. He was 37 when we met, never married, and he has been one of the best things that has ever happened in my life. Marriage is fantastic but it is the hardest thing I have ever done. I realize that God uses it to constantly challenge me to do all of those things that are so easy to give advice on when you are single like putting another persons needs before your own, and serving someone else even when you don’t feel like it because they make you mad. But, like you, I am committed to staying “in love” with my husband. He is the funniest, kindest, most fabulous guy I know and HE IS MINE!!!! WHOOOHOOOOO!!!!!! I cannot imagine life without him and my 2 year old son. Seeing him be a dad has made me fall in love with him all over again! Thanks a lot for this post!

  110. Jen says:

    i agree, great post, also i think there isn’t just one, God said it’s not good for man to be alone, I think when my mother died, I wanted and still want to believe that of course there is someone else out there who can partner through life with my dad.

  111. Amber says:

    Love it…

  112. ALB says:

    Wow! Thank you for these words. Personally, I spent a long time holding on to this twisted notion that my choices/opinions didn’t matter when it came to things like this. (In fact, if we’re being honest here, this is a very recent/ongoing struggle). For some reason, I got it in my head that God was going to “reveal” to me “the one” in a set moment, and so every person before that, I have written off saying “oh, he’s great… but it’s not the right moment, so I don’t think I should even try”

    Right now, I’m struggling with this as I have become more connected with someone who I can really see good things with down the line. But I stop myself because I think “oh, well, uh… not yet, I guess. I should just quit this right now!”

    But here, in the midst of this struggle, I find this posted on Facebook and suddenly I’m shaken in the most wonderful way. In the last few hours, I have begun to reevaluate my thinking and I realize that maybe I created this “grand plan” as a way to cope with the bad luck I’ve seemed to have in the past.

    Hmm, there are some ways where I do feel God has something in store, but this post has definitely shaken me. I can’t help but think of Moses pleading for God to spare Israel (okay, dark comparison, yes… but there’s a point!). I think God DID have a plan all along, but part of that plan was allowing Moses to intercede on their behalf. God DESIRES our input because that is exactly as s/he made us to be — to question, learn, grow, and choose!

    Okay, I’ll step down now — but really. Thank you for sharing these good words. I know a lot of people need/ed to hear them

  113. Rebecca M says:

    Hey! I really love this post – I agree with some much of your post as it relates to the truth of the bible. I was the churchy girl, with a notebook full of “have-to’s” and the Christ-following ones, my hubby meets, the personal ones – well, I chose him anyway. My husband very much turned out to be more than I knew I wanted – and I am grateful that God let me meet him, and that He allowed me to be Chase’s wife. I too choose to love my husband, and agree with the idea that he only became my “soul-mate” when I married him! But that is where I have issue with your post. My husband is my soul-mate biblically speaking because when I married him the bible says in Mark 10:6-9 that two become one flesh – now we could say that is just the physical, but I see that although I keep my own mind, my husbands mind is also mine – I have to be in it, we have to think like one. My heart is my own, but I have to consider and be in his heart when we make choices and choose to continue following Christ together. Especially because he is the leader of my home, His mind has to be mine, I have to respect his choices and bring my complete self to be in line with whom God has chosen to lead our home. However to say that your bodies, minds, and hearts are connected but from your title, not your souls is mis-guided and in my opinion incorrect. I love all your others points, but I hope that you would consider how it appears to someone pulling this up to read when they are married to someone who is their complete mate, by choice, and that includes the soul.

  114. Pingback: great blog post « White Island

  115. newlillie says:

    Very well thought out observations! After 50 years, I can say I am married to the “right” man. He became the “right” man the day I married him.

  116. Congratulations on your one year anniversary. I did not ever read the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye but all my friends at Bible College did.

  117. salina19 says:

    What a wonderful post! I live in Kentucky and this post has been bouncing around my friends Facebook pages this week, so I decided to click on and read it. I’m so glad I did. I’d love for you to link it to my website this week. Thanks!

    http://www.heartreflected.com

  118. Sherri Dyer says:

    WOW!!! That’s exactly how I was raised! I now have 2 young teenage daughters & I’m so grateful for this reminder & so wish id known it then! i actually do have a really good marriage but there are days i have to remmeber its my CHOICE!!! This will be our conversation tonite! Thank you!!!!

  119. Gail says:

    Thank you for this insightful post. It helps me as I pray for our adult daughter.

  120. Nicely done, Hannah.
    33-years later, my wife is still the best thing that ever happened to me, but she’s nothing like me, and that’s why we “click;” Complelt one another. I am passing this to a couple about to marry in October. Thank you for sharing; you are wise beyond your years.

  121. pursuethenew says:

    Reblogged this on pursuethenew and commented:
    The anointing in finding your right spouse is just to make a right decision.

  122. Daniel says:

    Good stuff. Doesn’t the same logic apply to having children (or not), though?

    • amymom23 says:

      I would say yes. This is just my opinion (and I totally agree with Hannah re: marriage). If God leaves the #1 most important choice in our lives (whether or not to believe in Him) why would he not leave the less important choices like who to marry, and how many children to have up to us as well. I believe God gives us the gifts of reason and logic and common sense, and wants us to use them, along with prayer to make decisions we believe is best for us. If we screw something up too badly, He’ll let us know.

  123. sarah says:

    I’m SO relieved to read this. I mean, I wanted to say it, and say it out loud but for fear of the scorn and disapproval that might come to mess with Accepted Truth (that you must marry a ‘soulmate’). Thank you thank you for sharing these thoughts with the rest of us. Now I can confidently say out loud what was a secret all along: I didn’t marry my soulmate either.

  124. Jo Saxton says:

    This is EXCELLENT – I LOVE this post, its so right on! and your wedding pictures are gorgeous. Love, prayers and blessings on you and your family.

  125. Jeremy says:

    I just wanted to drop a quick note and say thank you for your words. I’m a recovering pastor’s kid who had “Kiss Dating Goodbye” and other “inspired” dating works force fed to me. I’ve been married for 9 years now and have a 7 year old son and a 2 year old girl. Not one moment of my dating life, my marriage, and the life we have now was ever read about in those books and was not taught to me by my youth pastors. I can only hope that my wife and I can teach our children what you’ve outlined here. Ironically, my wife married someone who didn’t fit the “youth pastor” mold you spoke of. I ran opposite of the church for some years. However, I’m now in my third year as a youth pastor. James could still make the club :D I’m not the person my wife married 9 years ago and my wife is not the person I married, yet she’s still the “right” one for me. Thanks again for the thought-provoking words.

  126. Heather says:

    I enjoyed your perspective! We will be celebrating our 12th anniversary next month, and it still amazes me how our relationship has grown over the years- we have been friends since we were 10 years old! What comes to my mind when I think of that ‘something’ we have with certain people, is kindred spirits- like in Anne of Green Gables :) I’m so thankful that my husband and I are kindred spirits, and thankful that my closest friends are, too! As we teach our children, we find ourselves telling them often that God can and will use them to His purpose, no matter their job or marriage status or location, as long as they are His willing servants, seeking to glorify the Lord in their thoughts and actions. We pray for their futures, telling them that we are praying for whichever future they will choose, not a particular person or job, but the one they ultimately will have- hard to explain to little ones! Great post. God bless you!

  127. Jenny says:

    Loved reading this! Loved it so much that I’m sharing it on my Facebook :D Thanks for the refreshing truth and for how you presented it. Wonderful. So many of us are so mistaken about God’s plans for us; we all just need to broaden our imaginations when thinking about God and His plans. Diverse variety and the ability to choose are wonderful gifts from God. Thanks for sharing; life with a will to do this or that is one thrilling opportunity after another. What a cool God we have. He gives good gifts.

  128. Lowell McDonald says:

    Hannah… My daughter likes your article and I like your dad. good job!

  129. devon greathouse says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It really spoke to me about the daily choice I nees to make to love my husband more.

  130. Brandon Wise says:

    I’m a little old for the whole “kiss dating goodbye” scene. However, I was raised in a church that promoted the underlying theology of “The Only One For Me”. Being that I was dating a girl in church youth group, we both bought into this theology and self-appointed each other as God’s chosen. Ironically, this did not lead to greater Christ-likeness, but increased sexual activity because — hey this is blessed by God. Right? Looking back, I imagine I manipulated what was being taught in church to my own ends. I was 16 after all. Long story short, that relationship turned into a self-destructive mess quickly. And yet, neither one of us wanted to give it up because we believed it was divinely blessed. We finally broke up when we were 20 and went our separate ways. Unfortunately, we never had (or took?) time to forgive and reconcile. Today, she is happily married to a godly man and I am happily married to a godly woman.

  131. As a divorced woman in my 20s, I just want to hug you. This is amazingly insightful, and something I wish my ex-husband would’ve realized. Something I wish I would’ve realized. I’ve been gravitating towards this way of thinking over the past year, and it’s something I’ve been practicing in my new relationship… I just wasn’t quite sure how to express those feelings. You nailed it!

  132. My husband and I found each other at a dating service in 1996, before doing so was cool or online. I was looking for a man in the big city that wanted to be a church going country boy. I wasn’t looking for romance, I was looking for compatible dreams. Romance is generic but dreams are personal.

  133. KAB says:

    Great post!

    Many years to you and your husband! May you live to see your children’s children!

  134. THANK YOU FOR THIS POST!!! I was in college during the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” fad. AND I had a list…a ridiculous list. I waited/agonized for this “perfect man”. Then, I threw the list away & made a shorter list…very similar to yours: Christian man…loves God & loves people. A few months later, I met my husband and we laugh together so much sometimes it hurts. I’m not saying that this formula will work for others: give up on list then find husband a few months later. What I am saying is: give up on list and stop agonizing and start LIVING and enjoying the sandbox God has for us to play in (Dallas Willard “Hearing God”)!!!

  135. I don’t remember who I know who shared a link to this from Facebook. I enjoyed your post. I am 60, and fell away from God in my 20s. My faith returned 30 some years ago this month. I remember praying for God’s guidance in decision making over the years. I have found He doesn’t have a specific church I am to go to, and does not desire to control my every move, except that I am in His Word, and walking in faith. Wherever I go, He is with me. Praise Him! (I hope you get the connection to what I am saying, and the fact that He did not have a specific husband for you in mind.)

  136. Doug says:

    Sorry, writer….. but Your God is too small ! Jeremiah 29:11 says God does have plans for us. I can not agree with you but I am glad that your sacred covenant with your husband appears to be strong.

  137. Kimberly says:

    What an interesting and fresh view … Thank you for sharing! I really like the use of Bible verses to claim your “hottie from God” Bahahaha. I SO did that!!
    Now, after several disastrous relationships and as my 40th birthday approaches, I so appreciate this blog and the reflection that caused… Thank you! :-)

  138. Susan says:

    Dear Hannah,

    Thank you for your insightful post. I, too, had great expectations regarding my “soul mate.” As I grow spiritually, I realize how harmful and insidious these expectations are and how they most certainly are not of God. They can be toxic to a relationship and marriage. Thankfully, my non-soulmate husband is a patient and wise man, and he knew long ago that love is not sustained by butterflies. He just had to deal with me as I came to terms with it. GOD is the one who completes me, not my husband. Thank you for reaffirming this Biblical perspective.

  139. Catherine says:

    I loved reading this. I think that so many people think that just because they find “the one”, that their relationship(s), not just their marriage(s), will magically work. I’m celebrating my 3 year anniversary next Tuesday, and it really is a daily commitment to the same person that keeps it going. So, this was a great way to start my Tuesday morning!

  140. Christen says:

    Great post. I wonder if there’s a little room for mystery/paradox that God’s perfect will is also mixed in there, but I totally get what you’re saying.

    Just a little side note in his defense, Josh Harris has taken back a lot of what he wrote in that first book. He’s a great solid guy/pastor/author.

    I can so relate to all the youth group crazy (and sometimes sad) teaching, ha!

    • C says:

      How the heck has Josh Harris ever taken back anything in that book? It’s a wonderful book and is absolutely NOT about this post.

  141. Cindy says:

    Most importantly for me and for all, Believers and Non-Believers, is that we make the choice to Love, and it’s a Forever, till death do we part choice. The man I chose, knowing that he was not the best for me, was the love of my life. God took him after only 16 years together.

  142. Allison S says:

    Oh my gosh! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this. I think as teenage girls, we all had that fantasy. The man I married is nothing like I “envisioned” he would be as a teen. But despite the fact that he isn’t a guitar player with amazing hair blowing in the breeze, I choose to love him… Such a great read. Thank you for sharing your heart with us :)

  143. Calli says:

    Do you ever have that moment when someone puts words to what you have never been able to describe? This is it. I get married in 4 days. And I have had more people ask if I am nervous than I can count. And I’m always struggling to answer that question because I know people are judging my reaction. Yes, I love my to be husband, but it is not the soul mate situation. I am not swept away by our love. Our love is not out of a fairytale, but it is special because it is uniquely OURS. I am nervous because I know we are not perfect. Marriage is not easy and I am nervous that we will make too many mistakesm and forget that we have to make our fairytale work. God doesn’t make us fall out of love, we have to always remember that we chose each other and work at it everyday. I’m not nervous to marry my best friend I know that I want to be with him. I am nervous for life and what rough roads we travel because there will be bumps.

    • Leatrice says:

      I will be praying for you Calli…that you find these next few days to be blessed beyond measure. Next year, I will have been married for 20 years. I have 5 children and I can assure you that there will be many bumps (there are for EVERYONE),….but it is a beautiful journey when you choose to love forever. Marrying your best friend is a wonderful beginning.

  144. Lovely article, thanks so much for posting!

  145. Mysti says:

    Love this – so very very much. I used to worry because I didn’t have those “soul-matey” vibes from my husband, but I knew I loved him, and enjoyed spending time with him, and wanted to grow old with him. There were so many of my friends who were convinced he was the wrong choice because I never claimed he was my soul mate. Then when I went through my cancer treatment this last year, and he was my rock in so many ways….I knew I made the right choice all those years ago. Thanks for putting into words what I didn’t even realize I was feeling!

  146. Laura says:

    I guess I dodged a bullet with the whole “Kissed Dating Good-bye” thing – it came out the year I married my Soulmate (1997). I never wrote letters to my future spouse, never prayed for a guitar playing youth minister to be my other half… in fact, the first time I met my husband, I was dating someone else – so I felt overwhelming guilt that the moment our eyes met, over the top of a bus seat, I felt an instant connection with him (as he did with me). Six months passed before we admitted to each other our interest, & that was while we were on a double date – and we weren’t each other’s date! But from that moment on, we knew that God had orchestrated our meeting, down to every last detail. (It should be noted that by that point I had decided not to ever get married, because I was tired of dealing with guys & their singlemindedness… I had no intention of ever dating again, much less getting married. Only God could have changed my heart.)

    We’ve been married for over 16 years now (together over 18), & with each passing year, I am even more convinced that my husband is The One that God picked out just.for.me. We both moved to the same podunk town that people move from – you don’t move to it – within a few months of each other, driven there by forces out of our control. During our first hours-long conversation on that double-date night (when we left our dates for a walk in the sub-freezing winter air, neither of us enjoying the place we had landed), each word we uttered, each reflection we made, were the missing stitches on a tapestry, showing us a completed picture we could not have envisioned on our own.

    He has a mathematical brain – mine runs on the written word & the arts. He likes rock n roll, I prefer worship. He reads fiction, I devour nonfiction. He likes steak, I prefer chicken. He takes the kids on thrill seeking adventures, while I feather our nest & give them a soft place to land. Our interests & abilities are perfectly complimentary to one another – I could very well have been made from his rib, as I contain all the parts that make him whole. And when I am beside my beloved, he completes me. (Aside from God, of course – no one can complete a person in that manner.)

    The years haven’t been easy, even though we are only thirty-somethings now. We’ve faced an endless list of challenges from day one – the deaths of multiple family members, health struggles, infertility, job loss, unemployment, underemployment, financial struggles beyond our control, disability, in addition to the usual day to day marriage issues – and with each new challenge, once we’ve had the chance to sit back & breathe, we’ve both looked at each other with newfound love & admiration & gratitude for The One that God put beside us to walk through this life with.

    Of course, we could have walked away from all of it. God gives us Free Will, & we could have very easily decided to turn away from this blessing. We dated for over two years before getting married (though we knew within two months that we were meant for each other), & I’d be lying if I said we didn’t fight. We are both very hard headed, hot headed, passionate people – we firmly believe what we each firmly believe, & no one (not even our Soulmate) can change our opinions on certain matters. Only once while dating did we consider parting ways, & before the night was over, we realized we would be sacrificing our better half if we broke up. (We were whole in our own right before marriage – but in marriage, two become one – so he is my other half, just as I am his.)

    Is there only one person for each of us in this whole, wide world? No. I think there is The One, & then I think there is The One We Choose if we make a different choice from what God has planned for us. Because of our Free Will, we can choose where we go in our life & who we marry, even if it isn’t in God’s plan for us. We may choose someone before we meet The One that He has set aside for us. Or we may forego The One He picked for us in hopes of greener pastures. But once you have said I Do, your spouse becomes The One, & God will bless your marriage if you abide in Him.

    Please don’t discount the fact that God can handpick a spouse, even in this day & age. For some of us, the evidence is so clearly overwhelming, it proves that God is still in control of every aspect of our lives, if we choose to allow His hand to create our path for us.

    • Thank you for sharing this, my thoughts exactly.

    • julianne says:

      Yes!!!

    • Ella says:

      Thank you Laura for sharing. This was very well put.

    • Cheryl says:

      Wow! Thanks for your post, Laura! Beautifully written! I LOVE the idea of God hand selecting my mate! :) Goodness knows I need help! lol! Although, I have CLEARLY heard form Him saying He wants me to work on ME, first! Though I believe like Hannah that there is not just one soul mate, I DO think God has someone in this world waiting for me (the 2nd time around). I was not abiding him Him the first time around, unfortunately.

      • Grace-yi says:

        hi Cheryl, from personal experience.. Best to let God work on you 1st then meet your #2 [cos God is #1] that way you save your self a whole lotta heart ache. ;) I’m married to my #2 God definitely hand picked for me. But it’s been a very testing journey! So Trust me. . God’s #2 for you is worth the wait^^

      • Cosima says:

        Completely agree with your comment. I do believe my husband is my soulmate, we’ve been together for 10 years, married for 7, and it’s very evident to me that God handpicked my husband but I had the freewill to choose to be married to him.

        Great discussion.

  147. FH says:

    I came across this blog via a Facebook acquaintance. I’m not religious; in fact, I am agnostic, and so are my daughters: one newly married and one newly engaged. I would give this dead-on advice to both of them, as it applies to marriage no matter one’s beliefs. Your husband’s recreated 14-year-old’s wish for his future wife made me laugh out loud! Except that he probably would have spelled “ÿou’re” as “ÿour”.

  148. Lexi says:

    I completely love this post. Many things about it are very controversial for some, but I love it! When we focus on that “one” person our minds can get so pre-occupied with it. We hold them up to our lists and our ideals… when God is so much bigger.

  149. TD says:

    While I understand your premise here and your rejection of the pie in the sky ideas placed in your head as a youth, I must respectfully disagree with your conclusions. It seems as if you rejected God’s direction in its entirety and have shifted to the opposite end of the spectrum. I disagree with both ends and believe that the truth is somewhere in the middle.
    We do all have free will, however, I believe we were created with God’s specific purpose for our lives in mind. Just as He knew Jeremiah before he formed him and created Jeremiah for a specific purpose – as indicated by God in Jeremiah 1:5 – I believe He sees each one of us and our lives before we live them.
    When we draw near to God and search out our God-given specific gifts and purpose, our options for a spouse become more limited as well. We search out the person that matches that. When you were 15, you were still discovering that plan for you and who you were created to be – what makes you, you.
    I never did get into the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” craze, but I did always have a desire to please God in my life and to live the future He had for me.
    I spent my twenties happliy single and pursuing God’s plan for me daily. When I turned 30, I met my husband and the decisions I had prayerfully made up to that point revealed themselves as God’s hand weaving our lives together. God had revealed things to me in the years leading up to meeting my husband that didn’t make much sense to me until I met him and the puzzle peices fell together.
    I will not be telling my daughter that God does not care who she marries, but rather directing her to pursue Him rather than a guy. Her decisions for her future will either broaden or narrow her options for a spouse.

  150. Zoe Carter says:

    I think it needs to come from a balanced viewpoint. The idea that God has someone ‘tailormade’ is very unhelpful, as if someone was tailor made they wouldnt have a flaw, we are all sinners. I think the idea that Gods will is somthing that we have to work out before hand otherwise we might do the wrong thing, is unhelpful and crippling, and has too small a view of God.

    However, I do 100% believe that God does have a will for our lives but works it through the choices that we make and the circumstrances in our lives. Even the smallest can be transforming, if we let it. God worked through Josephs very specific circumstances (the most undesriable ones) to make him ready for the tole that he was going to bring him into.

    So, in a sense, because God knows who we are going to get married to, he does bring along someone and have someone in the same way that all the good things we have are a gift from God, and he can bring along someone who we really like and get on with. I do believe in a general application of the Jeremiah promise for Gods people, but in a much bigger picture than we could think of, of God transforming our natrual desires into bigger desires, and God giving us the ultimate future and hope of Himself, no matter what happens or does not happen in our lives.

  151. slater says:

    I am sure that God’s will for our life is in everything…not just certain parts of our life. For example, we pray for a job we should take, where we should live…etc. one decision can change our life totally in every aspect. God’s will is there…and He will still bless us even if we do not do what His will is, but we will not receive the same blessings as if we were to do His will in the first place. He has a plan for our life, and if we take a detour from it, we cannot do some of the things that God has planned for us. So back to marriage, I feel God does have a person planned for us like He does in every other aspect of our life.

  152. Rev.Blair says:

    I work as the chaplain to a bunch of college students. You better believe your post will be used in an upcoming bible study during the year. The part I love most is your explicit commitment to continually love your partner, whether or not he is your soulmate. This is the point I think most young adults are not getting. It takes abundant love to continue on. Thanks.

  153. Ashley H. says:

    Wow, my husband has been trying to explain this to me for a while now. I used to refuse the thought that we could have married anyone and have great lives. But I get it.. there is no one person because the person you choose to love everyday is becomes your one person. Thanks for sharing!

  154. Thomas Quinn says:

    people are ridiculous

  155. themchadley says:

    Where was this when I was in college!?! Gah! Great post. Thanks!

  156. I’m glad to see that there’s at least one Christian woman out there who’s encouraging our sisters to not hold all of us men to a standard of being “obnoxiously religious” worship leader types! For my part, I’m trying to encourage our brothers to look outside the box of the quiet, reserved, cookie-baking ministry wife. Such women are indeed wonderful, but no woman should be pressured to conform to any image or standard other than who God has made and called her to be.

  157. Thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt story and words.. I am 50 my new husband is 46..we met on a dating site in December of 2010 and have been together every day since :) We just got married over Memorial Day weekend 2013. I know God has a plan for me & him and I need to remember I/we are not in control of anything. I look at my new husband and I see a man who makes me laugh and has made me cry but I would rather be with him not only in our best moments but our worst. He goes out of his way to make me happy and I try my best to do the same . We know we are both human and will make mistakes but we chose to do everything together….we take one day at a time and enjoy that day as tomorrow is never promised.

  158. April Coleman says:

    Whoa, girl! This one got a lot of publicity! Great thoughts! I had the privilege of a daddy who told me much of that wisdom, too. It’s pretty great when you realize God doesn’t make you desperately look for a sign about what his plan is, but instead asks you to pray, choose wisely, and stick with it. This was a great reminder for me on choosing to love.

  159. Marina says:

    Nicely done! insteresting, isn’t it, that so many young Christians are taught the concept of a soul-mate when it is truly a pagan idea that there is this perfect other out there waiting to complete you, and that you cannot be satisfied by anyone else?!? So sad. Who wants the stress of having to be “everything” to another person? Besides, the only one who could really satisfy us in every way is Our Blessed Lord, and most of us aren’t ready for Him that way.

  160. Dora says:

    Oh 14 Year Old Me So Needed To Read This:) Thank You! Awesome Post!

  161. Brian Brown says:

    Reblogged this on Humane Pursuits and commented:
    Thought-provoking for those of us who grew up with this religious take…or are just really romantic.

  162. bgd1221 says:

    Reblogged this on Be Mo'. and commented:
    Wow. Im not married,or in a relationship, but this really spoke to me.

  163. Sarah says:

    Unconventional but thought-provoking essay! I would love to think that God had my husband formed and just waiting for me, but I’ll be even happier to know that despite differences, disagreements, etc., we honored the commitment made in our wedding day. My marriage is the primary entity that develops my character!

  164. Bree says:

    Best paragraph for singles:
    “some of the best relationship advice I ever got: There is no biblical basis to indicate that God has one soul mate for you to find and marry. You could have a great marriage with any number of compatible people. There is no ONE PERSON for you. But once you marry someone, that person becomes your one person. As for compatibility, my mom would always pipe up when my girlfriends and I were making our lists of what we wanted in a spouse (dear well meaning Christian adults who thought this would help us not date scumbags: that was a bad idea and wholly unfair to men everywhere) that all that really mattered was that he loved the lord, made you laugh, and was someone you to whom you were attracted. The rest is frosting.”
    Those three things your Mom told you were important are the only things I am looking for. I’m going to memorize your Dad’s advice too. :-)

  165. olufela johnson says:

    thanks so much for being bold enuff to say it the way it should be. i am a nigerian, living in nigeria and i am in a relationship of which i believe can only work more, if, apart from the grace of God, we decide to make it work. marriage is a choice, and a choice to make it work.

  166. Heather says:

    Absolutely love this post–it is so right on with everything that happened in my life with the exception of I went to Italy instead of France… and it was my minister uncle instead of my dad that I had that very same debate with… And, just like you, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way because it did keep me out of trouble… I was too busy hanging out in the youth building during high school and the young adults building during college, dreaming of my future youth pastor husband, making sure I was becoming the perfect Godly partner to even think once about drugs, alcohol, or sex.

    Thank you for this post! And good luck to you and your husband… As of the 27th, I’ll be married 6.5 years, and though our road has been anything but sunshine, flowers, and praise songs 24 hours a day/7 days a week, God shows me every day new ways to love my husband and deepen my commitment to him. It’s impossible for two completely imperfect people to love each other perfectly, but through God’s perfect love, we can do our best. :)

  167. lisamarie says:

    Reblogged this on lifeolisamarie and commented:
    This girl has some awesome thoughts…LOVE this post, and I have been married over 20 years…loving someone everyday is a choice for sure!

  168. lisamarie says:

    reposted to my blog page…LOVE it, very true, and I have been married for over 20 years!!

  169. missjaycole says:

    Reblogged this on Miss Jay Cole's Music Blog and commented:
    The Words In This Blog Are So Transparent. Its Not Music But It DEF Speaks Volumes. Take A Read

  170. Garry says:

    “This is the thing which the LORD doth command concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, Let them marry to whom they think best; only to the family of the tribe of their father shall they marry.” -Numbers 36:6

    http://biblicalmuse.com/the-one/

  171. Tamara says:

    I agree with a lot of this and don’t subscribe to soulmates but I do also believe that God has a plan and hand in guiding me to my husband. God can redeem any choice we make but I don’t necessarily think that means he has absolutely no desired path for us. My husband received a prophecy over his life 2 months before we met that after 5 years of being single God was bringing someone to him. Then considering our circumstances I know God chose me to complement him in our journey. I still believe I have to make the daily choice to love him as God has commanded me as his wife, but I don’t think that necessarily means God has no investment who we marry.

  172. When I met my husband I was producing a play and he had volunteered to attend to the curtains. As I looked out, from the stage, over the auditorium to check everything was okay he was sitting there learning his cues. As I looked at him (I had never met him before) a voice, just over my right shoulder said “He’s the one” and I would have married him on the spot.
    I do believe God had a husband in mind for me and he CERTAINLY would NOT have been my choice. But, 30 years later, I know he was the right choice and that he was the perfect husband for me because I did not get what I wanted, but what I needed.

    I do believe in a soul mate, but like you he is not my husband, he is my Lord. Jesus is the lover of my soul, he is the one with whom I am united and bonded in the soul. He is the one who thinks like me, prays like me, loves like me, laughs like me and never leaves me.

    Yes, marriage is a choice and staying married is a choice. I have made that choice many times in 30 years when the other choice would have been easier, but the knowledge that he was “The One” God choose for me gave me the strength to stay.

    Our God knows us individually and he knows what we, individually need. For some there is the hand of God involved and for others there is not; but the important thing is having chosen don’t look back. Look up and know that a three stranded cord is not easily broken.

    May God richly bless you both as you go forth together.

  173. Daniel W says:

    I completely agree with the message here.

    I am just very confused about how the author could have been fully invested in a specific evangelical worldview as a child while she was being raised by a father who obviously ran counter to that worldview in many ways.
    I just don’t understand how that happened. I’m so curious now.

  174. Jennifer Noah says:

    Awesome message, Hannah. You rock! :)

  175. Amanda says:

    i enjoyed reading this! thanks for posting it!
    while i could disagree with you in your chosen definition of “soulmate” i’ll leave it alone, because i completely agree with the meat of your post. ;)
    i just wanted to add that a strong belief that you have one (and only one) “soulmate” out there is a very dangerous thing to a marriage. here’s why. if your marriage is going through a rough patch (can’t have kids, financial trouble, etc etc) and you meet someone with whom you “connect” more closely than you’re connecting with your spouse right now, you could very easily come to the conclusion that THEY are your true soulmate. that THEY are “the one” God has for you. that you made a mistake marrying your spouse. and if you come to THAT conclusion, well, its basically all over, isn’t it? and i think that’s where a lot of Christians justify divorce; they believe too strongly in a “the one and only soulmate,” that they forget what marriage is supposed to be; two sinners helping each other grow closer to God. i hope your marriage is very blessed!
    congrats on your anniversary!

  176. Profoundly unromantic advice? Yes. Something we really need to hear? Absolutely.
    Thanks for this! Well said.

  177. Married for nearly THIRTY years and I needed to hear this! I’m passing the link to married and unmarried and starry-eyed teenager friends. Thanks!

  178. Totally agree Hannah! Beautifully articulated! Thanks for being another voiced killing this myth. I attended a christian liberal arts college which perpetuated this myth to an extremely unhealthy level. Following the logic of that belief: If there is only one person for us, and ONE person marries the wrong person, we’re all done, game over.

  179. Courtney Christine Shingle says:

    Even though you likely won’t see this, I’d still like to congratulate you on this post. I also grew up during the Evangelical “Youth-On-Fire” time of the 1990s, complete with y own WWJD bracelets and camp outings and such. You tell the tale so well, and just like any decade of spiritual growth, there were ups and downs – the downside was what you’re addressing. God doesn’t have one person waiting for you. Your story is great, well-written, and something that teenagers need to hear today. So – congrats! Great post!

  180. Lawson Stone says:

    I’m Hannah’s Dad. I’m proud of my daughter, and also, I just plain like her. I like her mind, her conversation, her writing, her learning.
    I have been deeply moved at Hannah’s quest to please God and serve him with her life. She’s a wise woman whom I admire and enjoy now as an adult friend who happens to be my daughter. I also admire and enjoy the man she has chosen to partner with in creating a marriage and family that will honor God and reveal his character in the world.
    Yes, I’m a “theologian” and, worse, I guess, a Bible scholar. I teach pastors: shaping the hands that shape people’s souls. What that really means is that rather than a vague sense of what I don’t know, I have a very sharp, piercing sense of how much I don’t know. The question of mate choice is one of the most personal forms of the big question about how God’s purpose finds expression in the life of individuals. One answer is “determinism” that takes the biblical statements about God’s interest and presence in all of life to mean he decides everything in advance and then irresistably makes it happen.
    But think: if God picks one and only one “soul mate” for you, and you are perfectly obedient to God all your life, but your picked soul-mate messes up ONE time and marries someone else, that means you cannot be in God’s will for the rest of your life, regardless of what you do. I just don’t see the God of scripture operating that way. Determinism is just wrong. God’s wisdom and power mean that he doesn’t have to be locked into one script for you or me. From any point, from any failure or loss, however awful, God can draw a line directly to the fulfillment of his purposes. There is no “Plan B” with God.
    What he wants from us is that we learn to make wise choices shaped by scripture’s portrayal of his moral character, that we cultivate Christlikeness in heart and life, that we invest our gifts and abilities, every resource he gives us, as a stewardship yielding spiritual fruit. It is precisely the undefined nature of those things: our job, our mate, how many children we have, etc. that provides the environment in which godly, wise decision making can be learned. God wants us to look deeply into his truth, and then create a response that will delight and please him.
    Just like a good parent.

    • Rachel says:

      I was thinking when reading this wonderful blog that you had a gift of being able to see clearly and cut straight to the point. The world is blessed by both of you.

    • James K. Clarke says:

      What if God was knowledgeable enough to not select a person for you who would not chose you? If God picked one and only one “soul mate” He wouldn’t -couldn’t get it wrong (the correct conclusion to your illustration is that person would marry the person God intended). And our lives, by God’s grace are full of “plan Bs” every time we choose to live our lives away from God (when we insert our choice of free will over God’s will). I am sure we could throw out a lot of human thoughts and illustrations which make sense to human minds. But no sense in chasing our tails over this. God’s ways our not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

      Lots of very, good discussion from your daughter’s blog (God Bless her and her husband). God is too, great for us to comprehend. Many of His prophecies in Scripture have been fulfilled as the rest will be. I cannot imagine the millions, billions, perhaps trillions of variables involved to make it happen. I suspect a very, small thing for God yet impossible for us to truly, comprehend. I enjoyed the accounts shared from folks who gave their testimonies of how the Lord led them to someone specifically. Especially, touching was the women who married the dying husband who God has now healed. I didn’t enjoy the check lists folks keep – looking for that prince or princesses charming (Christ only, can fill that spot). God does desire the very, best for each and everyone of us. For the Apostle Paul it meant being single, prison and most likely death (a lot of really fantastic, wonderful other things also). We must remember, this world is not our final destination. There is nothing here in it’s greatest fulfillment that will compare to one day in heaven. Paul, faced overwhelming persecution on earth but never lost sight of heaven (may have been a bit easier for him in light of all Jesus revealed to him and we have to rely on our faith). In 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 he says “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” Then in verses 16-17 he adds “we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.” In Romans 8:18 he told the church at Rome “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Whatever we suffer in this life cannot be compared with the glory of the life to come. We serve an Awesome God. His will may not play out exactly as we will. But rest assured, He desires the best for us, working in our lives to prepare us for the next life – living with Him. God Bless you, as you serve Him in whatever state you are in – married or unmarried. Life is but a vapor.

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  182. Reblogged this on Holliday's Inner Workings and commented:
    Confession: I have had these same thoughts. Great post – and good to know before I get married! No more emotional and embarrassing letters for me…memorizing lyrics of songs instead :P

  183. Billy Hallowell says:

    Would love to interview you! Would you be willing to speak with me?

  184. Emily Grace says:

    Thank you so much for such a poignant and heartfelt post. It’s so wonderful to see someone advocating the making of and keeping of heartfelt commitments in a world that keeps tempting us to “just do what makes you feel good.”

  185. Leah Sweet says:

    “Glitter is the herpes of craft supplies” is the most brilliant statement I have ever read, on any blog, ever. Hahaha. Rock on Hannah and James. As a woman who lived the “Passion” movement and “hung out with” (i.e. not quite dated but everyone else knew we liked each other) several pastors and wanna be pastors, and who is now married to a hilarious capitalist and workaholic who also loves God but who is my opposite in every way, yeah, you nailed this one. Thanks for the walk down memory lane and a great post.

  186. Franny says:

    Grateful that God did not give me what I delighted for nor what I deserved!! His Grace covers a multitude of my stupidity!!

  187. Amanda says:

    This is so, so, so beautiful! And so well said! As we’ve discussed this a million times and you know all the details, I’ll condense my thoughts: You are absolutely right. :)

    As a side note, I’m pretty sure we were raised by the same parents in parallel universes. When I announced that I had kissed dating goodbye, my dad’s response used the words “awkward” and “nonsense” to describe what I had just done. God’s goodness is bigger and better and more variegated and majestic than limiting us to one precarious relationship. Love!

  188. Deb says:

    Not sure I agree with all of this article, though it makes some good points. God allows us to choose who we want. We can choose wisely or poorly. We can seek His will or not. We do need to choose to love our spouse, even if we are unequally yoked. However, Genesis 24:14 does say that God appointed a wife for Isaac.

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  190. Allen lunsford says:

    this is absolutely an awesome read for both men and women you need to get it right with the Lord and make him first in your life then he opens up avenues for you! the Lord absolutely has to be the first love in your life!

  191. Bob says:

    I just want to gently chide you for I think taking the correct idea of denying soulmates a bit too far. It appears you deny God any role in helping you find your marriage partner, when I contend he did lead you, and ultimately, your marriage and mine was in God’s plan. It’s just that it’s his plan for us to find somebody suited for us well (and there could be many who fit that bill). God knows who it is and it’s in his plan, but we just find them through ordinary means, dating, hanging out etc. Even the hairs on our head are in God’s plan, so surely our marriage would be as well. The issue you are correctly knocking is this idea of some perfect person, and we must wait on God for it to happen. No, we live our lives, and eventually, a person we like will come along, and at some point, we will start dating and decide to get married. We can’t wait. We must act for something to happen. I also love how you point out the errors of the checklist. That killed my chance at dating a couple people because even though they thought I was a great person, I just didn’t fit enough checklist items since I wasn’t going into the right career etc. It’s ridiculous. Who we marry is our choice, and too often people live their young lives freaking out over finding out who it is they are to marry….they are afraid somehow they will miss God’s “perfect one” for them. Frankly, that’s impossible, and that’s what people need to realize. Just live your life, enjoy it, and meet people. At some point, you will meet the person you want to marry. And, it will jus so happen to be in God’s plan, but not in some weird forced way. It will still be your choice and theirs.

    • Jeannette Leigh says:

      She made some very valid points–and yes–God gives us the ability to choose and to be responsible for our choices! Since I am on my second marriage–blessed a second time after my first sweetheart went to heaven–I got the right ones in the right order and in a lot of ways, they have been/are my soul mate(s)–neither were/are flawless and neither am I! She is young and still needs to get through 10-15-25 years and still say some of the same things! And yes–I could have made different choices–but truly feel God was directing my ways! Love it that God is the director of my life and I choose to listen to Him! P.S. Collectively I have been married 34 years.

  192. Mc says:

    Thank you for writing what I’ve feared and worried over. I feel as though I’ll enjoy my marriage so much more having these words – that I’d been searching for but couldn’t pull together – in my heads.

  193. Wow! I am 45, married 12 years to the same wonderful man and was JUST telling a friend exactly all that you wrote. I don’t believe in THE ONE or in soul mates. I believe in making wise, godly choices about who you date, spend time with, and eventually marry and making them THE ONE. But you have as many choices as there are people to date. I just happen to have chosen wisely (led, in part by God). Thank you for this post.

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  195. Pingback: “My husband is not my soul mate.” | Carl Bridges' miscellania

  196. Dar says:

    I don’t usually comment on things I read, just because I don’t feel that I have anything more insightful to say than what has already been posted. I wanted to tell you, however hat I loved this post. I grew up with all of those same teachings and thoughts, but I got frustrated and gave up and ended up making some really rough choices in my life. During that time I got married and we have had quite the roller coaster ride. I have at times wondered if I missed “the One” that God had for me because I was not serving Him at that time. I am, however here to tell you that after just having our 20th anniversary and both of us now happily serving our Lord, that it is absolutely about making that daily choice to love and respect each other. Thank you for reminding people that marriage is a choice and a great commitment, and totally worth the work! :)

  197. Rebekah says:

    Love it! A very level headed approach to all the ridiculousness that surrounds dating in the church. I would like to counter Bens’s comment by saying that Paul said it was better to be single…I know that’s fighting the bible with the bible but we can’t very well ignore either passage! I’m very happily single and plan to stay that way unless something drastic changes. God called me into ministry and that’s where I’m focusing my attention for the foreseeable future.

  198. Brook Champlin says:

    Hi. I enjoyed reading this. The late Rich Mullins once talked about this same idea, and he agreed with you. Every day is a choice more than it is destined. But I do believe that God is there in every detail if we choose to see Him. We have to listen carefully and follow where His voice leads.
    I have been married to my wonderful husband for 17 yrs. We met as teenagers in our youth group and dated off and on for 5 yrs before getting married. Although I cannot even imagine my life without him and our two beautiful kids, I have often wondered about the whole ‘soul mate’ thing. Once a very well-meaning woman in our church told me that I “settled” by marrying him, since I had not dated many other guys beside him, and since we met so young. I have to disagree.
    But I have also learned that all the expectations, the “one day my prince will come” thinking is so unfair to these guys. They’re just men. They’re not divine. Only God can fill the innermost needs of a woman’s heart. The amazing part is that as I have learned to daily CHOOSE to love my husband, to pray for him and for our family, my heart is filled with more and more deep love for him, and we grow closer every day! It’s not something I can explain. We have our fights, our issues, our bad days- but as we grow closer to the Lord, we grow closer to eachother. Every day we must choose our husbands, as you so beautifully pointed out. I plan on growing old with my sweetheart- and I most definitely did not “settle”. I was blessed.

  199. Kancy says:

    Beautiful and well said!

  200. Fede says:

    This post is awesome, will you alow me to translate it to spanish? Please ger back to me

  201. Lynn says:

    Hannah – Thank you for taking the time to write this. I am not sure how much I agree or disagree with your thoughts, but I certainly see wisdom in what you have said. You have given me some things to think about and you have inspired me to ponder and pray about my own viewpoint on marriage.

    I believe that marriage (and quite frankly any devoted relationship) is a daily choice – and some days this choice is more difficult than others. I also hold fast to the belief that God has destined each of us for a plan and purpose and that can translate into our choice of relationships. I don’t believe that God has one person lined up for us; making it our responsibility to make every turn just as He planned in order to make our way through the maze of single life and finally get through the very last twist to find Prince Charming (our soul mate). I believe that this lie of the enemy (and Disney) leaves us disappointed because it tells us that once we find “the one”, the fairy tale will be ours. Having said that, I do believe that God cares very intimately about our relationships with our spouse and the family that is birthed out of that – and that He cares about this long before we “find” our spouse. I even believe that He helps to guide us through so we can live out His best for us.

    I am 34 and single. I so deeply long for a husband and children; for the little country house, the white picket fence, and the doting puppy dog that runs up and greets us with a lick as soon as we all walk through the door. So part of this is definitely the “fairy tale” and quite frankly I don’t think that a man in my life is going to complete me or my dreams…that is God’s job! But I do very much struggle with the desire of settling and just falling in the arms of the first man before me who wants me…well, just because I fear that I am getting too old to wait for the person that is GOD’S BEST for me! We absolutely have choice – and I don’t doubt that I could have a very blessed and happy life with any man that commits to me and I commit to. But, is it God’s best? That is what I truly want…and I am willing to wait for it. I believe that He will give me wisdom, understanding, and confirmation when that person is in my midst. God knows the desires of my heart; but God also created me knowing HIS desires for me. I believe there is a challenge here to prayerfully consider which of those I personally desire more and at what point the two may intersect.

    Thank you for sharing your heart on this matter and opening a forum for individuals to openly discuss such a heart-felt matter. Oh – and congratulations on your marriage and the daily choice that you and your husband make to stay committed to one-another!

  202. Mollie says:

    Word of the day, girl, preach! Couldn’t agree more. I remember the True Love Waits rings and Joshua Harris and I wrote those future hubby letters too;) I totally believed that God had that ONE special guy out there for me and he was going to be p.e.r.f.e.c.t. Then I got married…

    Haha, my guy is awesome and I’m super lucky to have him but he’s not my everything and was never meant to be. I’m digging how you put the emphasis on our own personal choices vs. some predestined relationship. Love it.

  203. Jan says:

    I should have known that James wouldn’t marry a mental lightweight. Some very profound thoughts!

  204. Austin Brunner says:

    Reblogged this on Good Life and commented:
    Great perspective.

  205. Kristin says:

    I love this! I think acknowledging that there are many people out there who we could love is the exact thing that keeps marriages together. Although it seems counterintuitive, I think if you know that going into marriage and still make the commitment, you are saying “I CHOOSE to love you and only you as a spouse, lover, and etc forever regardless of the other potentials that come along” is something important to be aware of as you make the decision to make that commitment. Thanks for saying it!

    Also, love your dress, who was the designer?!

    • Hannah says:

      Hi Kristin,

      I know I said I wasn’t responding to any more comments, but for a dress question, I will slip back out of hiding. : )

      It is La Sposa, but then I got extra fabric and had an awesome seamstress add those straps because my torso is awkward long and looks weird strapless. : )

      Thanks for reading!

  206. melanie says:

    OMG. My dear, whoever you are, AMEN.

  207. Jennifer says:

    That’s all very nice, Hannah, but I think the comment that God doesn’t have a spouse planned for you is flatly untrue. The truth is He MIGHT or might not have one for you, but if it’s in His plans for you to marry, He does have someone specific in mind. The idea that you can have a great marriage with any number of people is also very silly to me; it’s true that you can’t fall in love with just anyone, even if choosing to keep loving them is a choice, and it’s not in the least a matter of just picking out an agreeable Christian fellow that you’re attracted to and makes you laugh. I do intend to write some thoughts to my future husband in a book, though I will certainly not be weeping over it like a droopy willow or emotional dope; I know my husband could be a number of people, but the best for me will only be one.

    • Leah says:

      Hi Jennifer. I think if you speak to nearly any Christian who has been married more than two or three years they will agree with what Hannah says. Your marriage is largely what you make it. You certainly could have a great marriage with any number of people. Not *anyone*, of course. But your “best” marriage will not come from finding the “best” spouse, it will come from putting your best into it. What would you say to someone who remarries after their spouse has died? That their first husband/wife wasn’t the best for them? Or that they’ve settled for a replacement because the best one died?

  208. i loved this so much. haha. so applied to my life. oh the years at camp and conventions learning about my “future man.” haha. you said it so spot on. loved it. in fact, i reposted it on my blog and accredited you for it. http://www.madisonemily.com thank you for such an awesome word for the day! made me laugh and smile :)

  209. Patti L. says:

    I really enjoyed what you had to say about Soul mates and will probably refer to this point of view often…but I still choose to believe God knows my future and is preparing a man just for me. I mean He will have to in order to put up with a girlie like me! :)

  210. Charity says:

    I think this is pretty far off from the truth. I think God can work within any marriage and is a huge advocate for creating a Godly marriage out of any two married people… but I do think if you are seeking him before marriage He will be very active in the process and act as a father screening the character of your ‘suitors’. There were more bizarre ways that guys exited my life after the, “if he’s not right get him out of here” prayers. Far too many weird ways that guys fell off the earth for it to be a coincidence. God loves us and is just as active in our college choices as he was in all the characters of the bible asking for children, food, clothing, husbands (RUTH), and love (Leah). God will clothe the lily’s of the field and he will tenderly hold our broken hearts as he makes us Godly and as he prepares or doesn’t prepare a spouse just right for us.

    • Leah says:

      Hey Charity, of course God will still be involved in our journeys to find our spouse, and help guide our decisions. And he will certainly still be active in getting rid of the dodgy guys. I don’t think Hannah is saying anything contrary to that. She’s not saying he doesn’t participate in the process. What she’s saying is that the end result of the process could be any one of a number of people. Think of a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book – multiple endings. For us in our “Choose-your-own-adventure” journeys to find a spouse, there could be multiple endings that God equally approves of.

  211. Jennifer says:

    I have friends who are wading through divorces…and finding their way to new loves. Recently another friend asked if I think this will be “the One.” You know? “Together Forever” is a misnomer…it’s…something embroidered on a pillow one gets on her wedding day, but it’s not a destination. We can’t wait until we’ve been together forever to be happy – FOREVER is just the sum of all of our yesterdays, today, and tomorrow, and the day after that… Just like Marriage isn’t a destination – it’s a commitment, it’s work, it’s a connection and a gift, but it’s not a prize. Good for you (and your parents) for coming to this. I applaud you!

  212. Tanya says:

    I LOVE this! I remember hearing Matt Chandler talk about his wife NOT being his soul mate. He said “my wife is the one, because she is who I married. If I didn’t marry her, someone else would be the one.” And how ridiculous of an idea it is that God has “one person” for everyone. (I of course, was appalled b/c I bought into this when I married, and I was so angry at him for saying this, until I listened to his whole message). He went on to say that if even one person didn’t marry the “one person” God had for him, it would be messed up for the whole world. And that in putting that idealization and pressure on your spouse, you are setting them up to be someone they can’t be to you. If you put all your hopes into your spouse being ‘hand-picked’ by God, then you are going to have a tougher time understanding hard times that WILL come, and why this God sent person isn’t fulfilling the role you imagined for them. Even the best spouse makes a crummy God. Let God be God to you, and love your spouse sacrificially with purpose and choice, so that you might display the glorious love God has for the church. THAT is the purpose of marriage. Thanks for this article!

    • Yes, “even the best spouse makes a crummy God.” What a burden it would be to marry someone who wants you to take the place of God. Our stumbling efforts to live out a godly marriage are indeed a blessed challenge and a comfort in this fallen world but it’s the intimate relationship with God himself that gives us joy, peace, and strength, and enables us to love and enjoy our spouse.

    • KTR-SB says:

      “I’ll be very honest with you here. My wife Lauren, she’s just a girl. And I could be married to another woman and be happy. Do you know how I know she’s the one for me? Because I’m married to her. That’s how I know. If I were married to someone else, they would be for me. You see, in this idiot ideology that we’ve created with our movies, if one person marries the wrong person, doesn’t that jack it up for everybody? Because that means if Lauren is not my girl and I married her anyhow, that means I married someone else’s perfect one, which means they’re forced to marry someone else’s perfect one, which now means they’re forced to marry someone else’s perfect one. And so if you just do the little map, someone married someone 700 years ago married the wrong guy, and now we’re all in trouble. This is a foolish, ridiculous idea. I’m just a man, and Lauren is just a girl. Lauren cannot complete me, cannot fulfill me, cannot make
      sense of my world and to expect her to is to put pressure on her that she will be unable to carry, will be unable to sustain and will be unable to bring any of those things into my life, which will create in me an anger towards her for not doing what she was never designed to do, created to do or able to do to begin with. So when a woman says, “This man will complete me. . .this man will make sense of my world. . .this man will make me know who I am. . .this man will heal my wounds,” you are putting weight on the man that he will be unable to sustain and it will only be a matter of time before he develops hobbies to get out from under that expectation. He cannot carry it. Put your hope in God, not men. We’re sinners. Which means sometimes on accident or sometimes on purpose, we’re going to fail you and wound you. Don’t ask us to be more than we were designed to be; we will fail you. Put your hope in God, not in external beauty and
      not in men.”

      http://www.thevillagechurch.net/sermon/sanctification-in-marriage

  213. Mary Elizabeth Hanchey says:

    Oops. My comment was cut off.
    You did a beautiful job with this and I think you are saying something very important and very right. I am sorry that folks, presumably Christians, have been unkind. In fact I am disgusted at that disrespect. Nevertheless, I have a good friend who reminded me recently that if one says things of consequence then there will be consequences. You have said a powerful thing of consequence. Good job.

  214. Mary says:

    Wow! I s appreciate your openness and willingness to share. I have been married for 25+ years and have always felt bad that my husband was not my soulmate. But he isn’t. We are currently struggling more than any other time in our relationship and it is very challenging to stay married, but it is a choice to work through the crappy stuff in order to reach the other side, regardless of what that looks like.

  215. Pingback: My husband is not my soul mate | Finding His Love

  216. Kayse says:

    There are a lot of good points that you make, but I really disagree with the basic premise of what you are saying. Yes, God gives us free will and the choice to choose our own spouse, but I do believe that if we seek His will for our lives and submit ourselves to His leading, that He WANTS to be part of this BIG decision in our lives! God is the one who came up with the whole idea of love and marriage in the first place… He is the supreme matchmaker!! :) He loves to put people together!! I think that we cheat ourselves BIG TIME if we don’t invite Him into this part of our lives…I think that He does have a plan, but chooses to let us have the choice of whether to follow His plan for our lives or follow our own. He can bless either one, I wholeheartedly believe that… and, I also believe that once you are married to someone it IS God’s will that you stay married to that person (even if he wasn’t the one that God may have intended for you in the first place)… There are so many times in scripture that God brought people together in marriage – Adam and Eve, Jacob and Rebekah, Hosea and Gomer (who was a prostitute by the way! – but God brought them together for a very specific purpose and plan to show His unfailing love for the Jewish people), Joseph and Mary, and more… I believe that when we submit our will to His will for our lives, and invite Him to show us the person He has chosen for us, that He will… why wouldn’t someone want God’s direction in this BIG decision in life? Our hearts lie to us and lead us into relationships that are not always the best for us (Jeremiah 17: 9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?”) – I know if I had “followed my heart” I would not be married to Joseph today… the year before I met Joseph, there were several guys that pursued me that I was tempted to get into a relationship with (one particular guy was a REALLY strong Believer who really loved the Lord), but in each case I brought it before the Lord….. my heart and my emotions were screaming “Yes, Kayse!! Date him!! He’s cute! He’s sweet! He loves Jesus!” But, then when I would bring it before the Lord, there was this unsettling feeling that would come over me, and a deep conviction that this was NOT God’s plan for my life. As I submitted to that still small voice, and allowed the Lord to guide me, I turned each of these relationships down… and, then, a few months later I met Joseph! For the first time in my life, I had PEACE… COMPLETE and PERFECT peace about someone! And, it didn’t make a lick of sense to me! He was dying… I literally met him at the hospital when he had been given a year to live! It didn’t make ANY sense… but, I had the peace of God… that supernatural peace that passes ALL understanding… it wasn’t loosy goosey feelings… it was God’s presence and peace… the Holy Spirit was saying “YES!! This is him!! This is who I have prepared for you!!!” The past ten years have been anything but easy with him being in and out of the hospital so often, wondering if he would live or die, and having to be the “bread winner” for the family… but, now, Joseph is healed (praise you Jesus!), working full-time, and hasn’t been in the hospital in almost 4 years since his double lung transplant (see our video blogs from our journey at http://www.lungs4joseph.com). As tough as the past ten years have been, I am SO thankful that I chose to let God be my matchmaker rather than my feelings and emotions… Joseph is truly MORE than I ever could have wanted or asked for! I am more in love with him today than ever before… and, God has used him to bring me closer to Jesus… I agree with you that “God’s plan is to make us more holy, more like Christ” – but I disagree that He can’t bring a specific person – a spouse that He has chosen for us – into our lives to help mold us and shape us into that holy vessel that He desires to create in us.

    • TD says:

      Well said, Kayse. Couldn’t agree more!

    • Angela says:

      Brava, Kayse!

    • Leah says:

      Hey Kayse, could you please tell me where Hannah says that God *doesn’t* want to be part of our decision in who we marry, or that we shouldn’t seek God’s direction? Coz I don’t see her saying that anywhere. What she is saying is that God’s direction has the potential to lead to you to *several* people, and it’s up to you to pick which one. And I CERTAINLY don’t see her saying anywhere that we should let our feelings and emotions make all the decisions. People who know they could have a successful marriage with any one of a number of people still seek to marry a godly person who complements them. But how do you know the peace you felt with Joseph would not have been felt with *any other person* on the planet?

      Of course God CAN bring a specific person into our lives if he has a specific plan for that specific partnership. And I don’t see Hannah saying anything contrary to that. But I do not believe that’s the norm. And I do not believe this is something WE have to worry about – whether we have chosen God’s “one” for us or not. Because whoever you do choose automatically becomes “the one” :)

  217. Rhonda says:

    This is almost exactly the way that I have thought and lived for 46 years of marriage. I have always said “my soulmate” was trite and empty of commitment and real meaning. Congratulations on gaining this wisdom so early in life. Imagine how wise you will be in 40 years!

  218. L & L says:

    I totally LOVED your reminiscing of those years prior to marriage when you dreamed and wrote letters and seeped emotions (b/c I did EXACTLY the same thing–my husband’s letters are in a scrapbook and we too giggle at the emotion in them). I always appreciate any one putting away with the abuse of the bridal metaphor in Scripture, but it seems to me you dont’ allow enough room for God’s sovereignty in marriage, even in who He chooses for us (or not, for that matter). I get it thought, and agree– you and your dad are speaking to the fact that there’s not a descriptive will about marriage or specifically who, but to believe our CHOICE takes preeminence or that we act independently of God’s ordination seems off, biblically. God is absolutely ordains every detail of life–He holds all things together (Col. 1:17) This is a good read: http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsit

  219. This is exactly what I needed to hear to shake me out of my insanity. Thank you for the eloquent post.

  220. Reblogged this on unaveragehistory and commented:
    Agree with everything in this post.
    I was actually having a conversation with a married couple and I said, “Well, I’m just going to teach my nieces that they don’t need a man.” As soon as the words left my mouth they started laughing out loud. They said, “You have no idea what you’re talking about.”
    I didn’t say i didn’t want a man. I simply said I don’t need one.
    I strongly believe that it would be idolatry if I believe that a man is going to one day come into my life, sweep me off my feet and make my life perfect.

  221. Dara says:

    Three years ago I met a guy who was completely out of my “range of future spouse” focus. I had always dreamed of being with a guy who was super sexy like those out of a fitness magazine but one who was sensitive and caring.. I was 20 at the time and still very naive. Then I met this guy who when I first saw him I instantly thought, “there is no way I could be friends with that guy, he looks mean and he is overweight.” After weeks of us hardly saying anything to one another (we worked together at a restaurant) one night after work he was making me indirectly laugh like I had never laughed before and I instantly wanted to get to know him, so I pursued. In a 24-hr period I had fallen in love with a young man whom I never thought I would be attracted to. Everything about his heart thrilled me and I loved it. This had never happened to me. After being with him for 1 year I started to realize there were “surface” things about him that I did not like. For example, he is not a very active person and he enjoys drinking and dipping tobacco. I am a health nut, I value doing all things that benefit healthy living and oppose those vices that counter-act health such as excessive drinking, being sedentary, and dipping tobacco. This is just one of the aspects that eventually irritated me about him. Also, his lack in confidence bothered me too. He also has a lack in Faith but he does believe in God.
    A little over the second year of us dating, I ended it with him on the reason that our lifestyles did not match and my silent hopes that there was someone else out there for me, more like me. This was last September. My breaking up with him crushed him. And I knew it would and I have resented myself for it ever since. The dynamics between us have been like waves, my feelings for him are up and down this is frustrating. I have been trying to determine if I made the right choice or made a mistake. When he is out of sight and I stay busy with work I do not think about him but when he is around I get a stinging pain of his presence. Just when I think all of it is done and over, that we have both moved on, I am unexpectedly thrown into a sea of longing and pain.
    There is no doubt that he loved me with everything he had. He always treated me good, was always there for me, and LOVED me unconditionally. Yet, I ended it with him because of conditions. At that time I was not in a relationship with God or reading the Bible. My faith was on the back burner. At the beginning of the year I made the decision to change that and I have become happier because of it. But I have realized that a lot of my irritability towards him stemmed from the fact that I was not living a Christian way of life and did not have a Christian attitude towards situations.
    I have always told myself, “the One will be here, one day..” but after reading this article, I realize that the love I felt for him in the beginning, the love that uncommonly blossomed between us, was rare. He is not perfect. I am not perfect (yet I try to be – that is a downfall).
    I think I have lost him now. All the pain I caused him by removing myself from his life, I believe, may not be taken back. “How can I come back from that?,” I ask myself. A definite solution to the decision I made in September has not been answered – I still do not know it I made the right choice or not and this is driving me crazy.

    Thank you for reading.

    • Leah says:

      Hi Dara. I don’t think you need to despair over your decision, for three main reasons:
      1) As Hannah said in her blog, God’s one main requirement for our future spouse is that they are a fellow believer. You get varying levels of Christians. If you felt your boyfriend’s level of faith was low – that he perhaps was not an actual Christian, or if he called himself a Christian, didn’t live a Christian life – then he potentially did not fulfill God’s one main requirement.
      2) Even though it’s not a requirement from God, it’s still a good idea to marry someone with whom we have common values. This might include things like health/lifestyle, etc. For example it is not uncommon to meet people (especially Christians) who refuse to date/marry someone who smokes or gets drunk.
      3) As Hannah has said, and as I believe, there is no “one” match for us – you can be assured you have not passed up the only option God has for you. The love that blossomed between you is probably not as rare as you think :)

  222. kmcdade says:

    Just wanted to say a quick thank you – I’ve been married 17 years now and this is still a good reminder for me. :-)

  223. Rachael says:

    I love this! I seriously felt like I was reading a blog that I personally wrote! My husband and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary close to yours, on July 7th and I thank God everyday that he didn’t give me all the things on my list because I would have never found or even been friends with my incredible husband, Tim. Thanks for sharing!!:)

  224. thalia3 says:

    From a painfully single woman having a really bad day…thank you. I am encouraged and happy to hear this. Blessings on you and your (quite lucky, but mercifully not schmaltzy) husband.

  225. Burgandy says:

    I have always been taught (and I agree) that God is my one and only soul-mate because he is the only one I can share my soul with. If I marry, then my husband will be the “helper-mate” that God created lovingly with a purpose (and that purpose isn’t so I would have a husband. It is to bring glory to God)

  226. zoekay says:

    Yes! We’ve been married just over a year, too, and I wholeheartedly agree with you! Thank you for posting this. :)

  227. Alicia says:

    I read this today when someone posted it on Facebook and it couldn’t have been more timely. I am 29 and so was right in that evangelical movement. I have a journal of letters to my future husband, read every book about kissing dating goodbye, etc. I thought I may be single forever but now I am engaged to a wonderful christian man and couldn’t be happier with our relationship. He is a great listener, truly loves and cares about me and wants whats best for me, and really loves the Lord. I have found myself in the back of my mind lately thinking back to those days and wondering, how do you really know? I thought when God brought me my husband I would have this sense of awe every day and feel 100% certain of everything all the time. If God really has that one person for me does that mean that when my fiancee isn’t just what I need at the moment or when things aren’t all rosy that this isn’t it? And how do you really KNOW? And how does God really show you? He hasn’t given me any reason to believe this man isn’t the one, but if there is really ONE person for me what if I screw that up. Its a lot of pressure for everyone. This was so helpful for me to read about how this is a choice, and it is one we get to make and need to take responsibility for.

  228. Koree Loree says:

    Great story… greatly written… solid points. But due to my lack of relatable experience (probably as a guy) I was a little throw off by the phrase “stored away”… given a buddy of mine had a prophetic dream about his future spouse – basically what she looked like and her name. He didn’t go out looking for her, or start writing letters to her. He went about his life and eventually met her. God may not have “stored” her away, in a box or something while he was out busy being a guy, but they were definitely meant to meet, marry and have children, cause that’s what happened. So if I’m misinterpreting to meaning/context of the use of “stored away” please, let me know… it’s not the first and won’t be the last time I’m a little slow. Until then, in my own fleshly/worldly opinion… this is a well-written piece about soulmates through the eyes of a woman (and her father) who cannot fathom the specificity and accountability God wishes us to have through human relationships, especially a spouse. I truly wish the best for this couple as the photos resonate a peace and joy that I find familiar with the Holy Spirit. This woman’s ability to learn to “let go and let God” are inspiring. But more importantly I truly hope and pray others with similar struggles as the author don’t misinterpret this blog as a rite of passage to view our (human) creative choices as plentiful and fulfilling and specific and meaningful as God’s choices. (as in he’s either got 0, 1, or 20 people in mind for us to marry… yes, that’s an exaggeration – to make a point – based on the fear of Jack Nicholson’s quote in As Good As It Gets: “I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability” lol God bless y’all)

  229. Mary says:

    Firstly, way to go on being married only one year and having this kind of insight on marriage. That is wonderful. You are straight on.

    You are so right. There is no such thing as a soul mate. A soul has no “mate” other than God. A soul seeks God in all things. We choose where we lead our soul, that is the gift of free will God has given us. If we choose to marry another soul, we are choosing to help that soul’s journey along the way to Heaven. It has nothing to do with some trumped up romanticism about how this particular soul has been searching all its life for this particular other soul, and no other soul would do. It’s merely the joining of two souls who have chosen to help one another along the way. Any two souls can do that. And some might make it to Heaven kicking and screaming (and whining), and some might cruise on up to Heaven in a cloud of rainbows. It doesn’t mean the latter married some “mate” of one’s soul. It means the latter was naturally more compatible, or personalities were more complementary, or didn’t experience the struggles the former did, etc.

    Best wishes for a continued happy, fulfilled marriage for you and your husband!

  230. Joan says:

    It is an interesting topic, and spot-on for me. I’ve been married twice and divorced twice. I’ve been single for about seven years. I had let my relationship with God languish for far too long and about three years ago, I began anew. I also stopped dating for the most part. My prayer was and is that God will bring someone into my life as a companion as I don’t have any intentions of getting married again. So it can be both IMHO. God can bring the horse to the water, but he can’t make him drink – or allows him to drink or not – free will. I have determined that I was dating unsuitable men – not practicing christians, etc., and that was not the direction I needed to go. So I believe God convicted me to look for the “right” type of person, but not the person himself – if that makes any sense. I have to choose the suitable companion, but God has directed my thinking in a Godly way.

  231. Chris Kotting says:

    Well said! Love (real love) is ALWAYS a choice. Unfortunately, we live in a world that tries to avoid taking responsibility for choices or outcomes, even in the Christian world. The whole “one soul mate” thing is just one small part of the phenomenon.

  232. Kate says:

    To all of the people who believe there is only one person in the entire world for you- What if that one person never ends up serving the Lord? What if they end up becoming abusive, addicted or just a bummer to be with? What happens then? Of course we choose. And once we choose, that person becomes the RIGHT ONE. God directs our steps and puts us in front of the right people. But at the end of the day, you could choose someone else and God would still bless your life. God is not trying to get out of blessing your life.

    • Lizzy says:

      If your husband becomes abusive, addicted or whatever then is he really your soul mate? Did you pray that he was the one before you marry him or not even thinking twice to the relationship, just say yes because we want companionship? People who become divorce, did they really pray that there wife or husband was the one for them? Were/are there signs that God has shown us that they are not the ones for us? God does direct our steps but everyone falls short and diverts the path. People can marry who they want, God gives us free will but if we really listen and pray then we will realize this isn’t the person we are mean’t to be with. Even if you do pray, and you believe this man is your soul mate, you get married and one person begins to change for the worse that could also mean God is testing the relationship and your faith. Bad things happen to good people, God can’t make us do the right thing every time because he gave us the freedom to do what we want.

  233. JesusGirl says:

    I also believe as you do. My husband is not my soul-mate. When I told him this, he seemed to feel crushed by it. I told him that all relationships go through difficulties and growing. That isn’t easy stuff to deal with! So what about all these people who think they found their soul-mate and then get divorced? Were they just confused about that person or the entire premise behind it? Scripture never talks about soul-mates. That is man’s invention. It is FAR better to choose to love your spouse deeply, consistently, applying forgiveness and compassion when required, all the days of your marriage, than to think that it was all fate and no work is required of you because fate will sort it out if there’s trouble! What a naive and worldly view of marriage! Every day we must choose to love and forgive and that is not something fate can do for us. I also hate to see people talk about their feelings preventing them from doing what’s right. Do you own your feelings or do your feelings own you? Take every thought captive, people! That includes feelings that change and grow and shrink and sometimes betray us! We are to guide our hearts, not follow them. Society has so many awful, unbiblical ideas it pushes on to people and creates a world of people thinking they don’t have to do anything to work on their marriages, or themselves, they don’t have to go to church to be a Christian which is nothing but an excuse to not meet with the saints, they believe God just wants them happy, they believe if they ask God for something and don’t get it that they must not be living right, and they also believe God is some genie in a bottle that you can keep locked away out of your life until you need Him and then ask for your wish to make things alright! More of these myths from our society need to be dispelled! They have no place among the believers! Thanks for your post!

  234. lowayne says:

    The impact of this post is in the practical implications of individual responsibility. The idea is not mutually exclusive of God guiding our paths and it certainly does not devalue the specialness of each marriage match. It gets to the point of us using the notion of predestination/providence/etc. to internally justify our life decisions and events. This can be a well meaning intention too! ‘Spiritualizing’ everything seems like a good Christian thing to do; after all, God is omniscient. Bravo for reminding us that God granted choice to humans and that we should aspire not squander it.

    Marriage is something that we want to add importance and gravitas to, and thus we want to feel as if God predestined someone especially for us. The unexpected consequence of assigning every detail to providence is that absolves us of responsibility for our lives. That can lead to undesirable consequences in a multitude of ways, of which this post barely scratches the surface.

    Note that this isn’t a comment on the theological discussion of the existence of providence, the specifics of which are simply beyond our finite knowledge.

  235. Susanna says:

    Amen, sister!! I totally agree with you and I’m loving loving my husband every day by choice (of course he makes it pretty easy). It’s so freeing to ditch the idea that you might accidentally have not married “the one.” Thankfully I stopped believing it before I got married due to seeing what that idea can do to a marriage down the road when things get tough for whatever reason and you start questioning if you “might have married the wrong person.” Thank you for pointing out that this reasoning is not in the Bible!

  236. Juliet says:

    As i do not believe love at first site, i thought my soon to be husband was a creeper at first, i do believe that with age you grow to be one anothers soul mates. You look at old couples like my grandparents, who are both in their late 80s and have been married for 60+ years, and cannot imagine them being with any other person. I loved your story, it’s true that all of us could have a completely different life had we made one different choice not to go on that first date.

  237. Reblogged this on Es un milagro and commented:
    love love love this

  238. Loved it! After 33 years of marriage, I can tell you my husband is not my soul-mate either and truthfully never thought he was. But we have an amazing story of how God is the third thread to bind you together so that He uses your mate to help you become more like Him. :-)

  239. As the ‘divorce lawyer who doesn’t like divorce,’ I LOVE this perspective and appreciate you sharing it!

  240. Erin M Boyd says:

    One of my favorite parts of this post is the acknowledgement that you choose to love James each day…..lengthy successful marriages are that way because the couple chooses to look beyond the flaws and love anyhow….that is what Christ calls us to do each day.

  241. Jeanene says:

    When I met my future husband, I was 17, a junior in high-school, and he was 19, a freshman at a Christian college. We dated for a few months, but then I had to return to Taiwan (I was raised in Taiwan as a part of our missionary family). We wrote letters back and forth, with the understanding that I didn’t want to prevent him from dating because he was in college, and God might have someone else for him, so we’d be friends. Well, he went on a couple of dates, but really wasn’t interested in keeping a relationship with either girl. And still we exchanged letters.. beautiful letters.. He came to my high-school graduation in Taiwan, and though we’d planned to wait, we began dating again. Before I met Joe, I had already been planning on going to the college where I “happened” to meet him.. so we continued to date and became engaged that October. At this time in my life, my aunt was going through a bitter divorce from her cheating husband. I was rooming with her daughter at the college. I was so sad for my aunt, and for my cousin. My aunt still loved her husband, but he chose another to marry. I was very afraid to make the marriage commitment. I Never Ever wanted to have to go through divorce.. it’s just way to hard. So I prayed continually that God would remove Joe from my life, if he wasn’t the man for me to marry. God never did remove Joe, and we married the next August. We have been happily married for almost 26 years. By the way, I had never dated another guy before Joe. I tell you all this to say.. I Still choose Joe every day of my life. The “feelings” of love can wax and wane.. sometimes you just don’t even Like your spouse,.. but the Choice to show Christ’s love to him., enables you to remember Your love for him. We chose from the start to never speak the word “divorce”, whether in jest, or in anger.. it just was not a funny word. I have peace with the man God placed in my life.. yet I know that had I chosen to not pray about the relationship, that peace would be harder to feel during the times we struggled to Love as Christ loves. So Hannah, I get what you are saying about “choosing to love” your husband every day.. and we should also choose to pray for our marriages every day, I loved reading this and feel what you are saying is that we have the freedom to make the choice, but should always be prayerfully mindful of God’s leading in the matter :-)

  242. Ahu says:

    If God knows what cereal I’m going to have for breakfast 10 years from now, He better dang well know who I’m going to marry. That’s like saying God hands you a bag of marbles and asks you pull one out at random. “Oh, you got the blue one! Good thing they’re all marbles!” He knows exactly who you’ll marry – therefore by definition, there is only one.

  243. ShaneeB says:

    While I do believe in free will, I also do believe that God has a plan for our lives. It is our choice as to whether we follow that plan. However, I do agree with you that feeling like someone is our soulmate or just because God brought us together, will not be what keeps us together. I knew my husband “John” for quite awhile before we were married. We were both dating others but were in very tumultuous relationships. I was driving down the road one day, crying & talking to God. I asked him to send me someone. I heard with my own ears, a voice, that spoke “John”. I actually turned to see if someone was in the seat next to me. I was in total shock, then I thought, “No. I’m just imagining things. Besides, he is going to marry the girl he’s dating now.” That was in April. In the meantime, I met a guy & started dating him, pushing aside what I heard in the car that day. The relationship was a mess & I was being drawn away from my family & God. I finally ended it. Then in September, a friend & I were talking & she said, “Oh, by the way, did you hear that “John & his girlfriend broke up?” I was immediately reminded of that day in the car. Then as were at the park, eating lunch, who should drive by but “John.” He stopped & we chatted awhile & then it just seemed like every time we were out, our paths would cross. We knew within a month that we were in love & were married the following March. That was almost 25 years ago. As we talked about our experience of what led us to each other, I told him of the day in the car. He told me that he knew he wasn’t a Christian, but he longed to be, so he prayed for God to send someone to help him find the way to Him. He was saved a month before we were married. We have had our ups & downs. There have been times that I wondered if we would make it, but I would always think back to that day in the car, when God told me who I was to marry & I knew that it was our responsibility to hold on to the precious gift that God gave us. I know of others that have had similar experiences. So while I respect your experience, I also know, from my own experience, that God does indeed bring people together. It is our responsibility to have a close relationship with God, which helps us keep our marriage together & strong. If we turn from God, we are on our own, just as we are in any other facet of our lives. There are others in the world, that don’t even believe in God that have good marriages, but they are good moral people that want a strong marriage, so they work at it. So, while I know that I am with the Man that God brought into my life, I know there are others that are together because they choose to be. Regardless of how you come together, it is your responsibility as a couple, to build & nurture your marriage every day. :)

  244. Pingback: Stop Loving Love | griffinmckenzie

  245. Wow! Bravo! Loved this. Thank you so much. I think you have just changed my perspective on my future husband, whoever he is. <3

  246. I LOVED this! A friend of mine posted it on Facebook and the title was so wonderful that I had to read it. Thank you for telling the truth about love! <3 God Bless!

  247. Anne says:

    This is awesome!

  248. Heather says:

    Yesssss. Thank you for so humorously breaking the Christian mindset that marriage and future husbands are ultimate and all-fulfilling. Not only does that set up for major disappointment, but it also prevents “singles” (who by the way are perfectly normal and individually complete) from being cared for appropriately. I’m not the only woman I know turned off by marriage because of the obvious holes in popular thought saying it will fill our voids. Though you didn’t share it, I know I’d love you and your husbands story and how God blew off “churchy” mindsets to bless you abundantly. Congrats on one year!!

  249. Jason says:

    Reblogged this on Reasons for the Hope Within and commented:
    I found this blog post fun to read…and biblically accurate.

  250. Siarra says:

    They teach a course on this subject at BYU. I took it. It’s refreshing to hear from someone who believes in things that are similar to what I believe.
    Nice read! <3 Siarra
    SiarraNielsen.Wordpress.com

  251. Andy Smith says:

    Well done! Very, very well done indeed! Not only do you pop a lot of the evangelical culture bubbles, but I think you also hit on some very key theological issues. I assume, from reading this, that you are familiar with Garry Friesen’s book Decision Making and the Will of God, from Multnomah Press. I have a hard time believing that you are not familiar with it, but if not, read it and you will find affirmation for what you have written here.

  252. Everyday and year you hear this story. Your mothers have planted the silver slipper story within their daughters and now that the slipper does not fit it’s not my soul mate.You wanted to be taken care of like your mother wanted,so you should have thought for yourself before saying ” I DO “. Women have to stop and bring reality back to life and know fiction does exsist.

  253. lollygirl3 says:

    Hmmm… I agree, and I don’t. Yes, you could make a beautiful life with a number of people, and you have to work at marriage, and choose to love every day, and God makes beauty out of broken things, continually, even seemingly wrong marriage choices… but He also led me to my husband, undeniably. He also gave me a man, as she articulated, that was far better than what I thought I wanted. And what about Naomi, who was brought into God’s fold by her mother-in-law’s faith and determination to return to her homeland of Israel… what about Boaz, the kinsman-redeemer that God had prepared for her, to meet at just the right time in the fields where she, as a widow, gleaned the leftover fruit… what about the way that God used her to bear her son… what about the way she was used in Jesus Christ’s lineage? What about all of that? And more, that I don’t even know about God’s character… Sure, marriage is not a overwhelming gush of emotion and fully-felt joy every day, but it is JOYFUL and so, so purposeful, and God-ordained. And she did a great job or articulating that as well… but God’s also romantic. And purposeful. And intentional. And so much smarter than we are. Just read any part of the Bible. Heck, read Song of Solomon. Check out that romanticism. We’re all on our journeys of understanding life and love and sacrifice. She is. I am. But, today, that’s what I know to be true.

  254. Pingback: It’s Not What You Think … | Wandering but Not Lost

  255. Thank you for this! So much of what I have always wanted to say about marriage!! :) Glad someone feels the same AND can write well, too!

  256. Helen says:

    I truly think that the soul mate stuff that was fed to us, albeit with the best of intentions, has ended up being incredibly harmful for a lot of people. It led (particularly for girls) to this idea that somehow your *real* life would only start when you found The One. Anything you did in that waiting period had no value in and of itself; it was just preparation for the moment when God would magically deliver unto you the Perfect Man. I am forever grateful that, on the day that I came home announcing that God had a plan for me, and would give me all the desires of my heart, etc., etc., my mother told me that God had in fact revealed to her that it was His plan that I shut up and go upstairs to finish my math homework – it turns out that she was much, much closer to the truth than I.

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  258. Maggie says:

    Such an awesome post! Thank you so much for your insight and great sense of humor:)

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  261. Ginny says:

    I do believe that Jer 29:11 does apply! When you spend time in the word, it becomes alive for you! Not just what it was at that time it was written. God’s word is alive and living inside us when we spend time in it. I am married to my soulmate! And God gave him to me. I was previously married to someone that I thought was a good choice and it ended up being a very abusive spouse. BUT, before I married him, he was an officer in the Army, nice car, nice house and had made great decisions in his life leading me to see that he was very stable in his life and decision making. We had fun together and we were married for ten years. But two weeks before we were married, I heard God’s voice say, don’t marry him. I look back and see this now. God does speak to you and He also uses His word to guide you. After this horrible time in my life and me realizing I had made a very bad decision and had tried everything possible to do the right thing, I decided to get out, nothing was going to change and adultry and abuse are not of God. I was fearful for my life. I prayed for God to send me the man He had for me. He did!! We have been married for fifteen years now and I am more in love than when we were dating. He is a Godly man and we grow together every day! God is so good!! I have three girls, and I have always prayed for God to prepare the Godly men that He has for them. I believe that he is doing that!!! You may not think that your husband is your soulmate now, but through many years, you will see that he is just who God had planned for you!! He cares about everything about us. He knows the hairs on our head! That is something that is not that important to us if you have hair, but if He cares about how many hairs you have on your head, He surely cares about your husband/spouse that you will spend your life with!!

  262. Tammy says:

    I love this! I do like the concepts in I Kissed Dating Goodbye, but I also agree that there might not be “the perfect person” for you. Once we make the choice in who we will marry and spend the rest of our lives with, we choose to love them through thick and thin, until death. Then, we truly are the bride of Christ. Enjoy your time on this earth honoring God and loving the people he has put in your life and know that in eternity it will count! One day we will be standing before the Lord and be accountable for our choices, no matter what our friends or our spouses choices were, we have the choice to love and to honor the Lord in everything that we do, even when others aren’t honoring him or us. Keep blogging!

    • Shauna says:

      I agree, nothing wrong with “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” or the like. Deciding not to date around when hormones and emotions are running high & believing God has a soul mate that will perfect your life are just nottttt the same thing.

  263. MrJingles says:

    Although I agree with her fully on the misunderstood concept of the soul mate and that there are plenty of times in a marriage love is a choice and not an emotional reaction I can think of too many places in scripture where God had a hand in the union. I will disagree vehemently with anyone that states that God doesn’t care one way or another about important aspects of your life. Wasn’t Eve created exclusively for Adam. In Genesis 24:7, Abraham said of God, “HE will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there.” Hosea was commanded to marry Gomer. I don’t think anyone would argue with you that Joseph was told to marry Mary.

  264. Becca says:

    I couldn’t agree more! And which is more romantic anyway?? God predestining who you love or loving you so much He gives you a choice and then works for your good, sanctifying you through the marriage to whomever you chose to love? Thanks for sharing!!
    I was raised by 2 widows who fell in love. Thankfully, they have a beautiful redemption story and though it’s been hard as heck, they are happily married and raised a crazy, blended bunch of 4 kiddos! =)

  265. Logan says:

    I can’t say that I agree with the above article. To dismiss the idea that God could possibly have someone out there for you would be to dismiss the idea of divine appointments. And to dismiss the idea of divine appointments would also dismiss the entire genealogy of Christ and how his priesthood came about. Was it an accident? Heck no it wasn’t. Have we wandered so far from the romantic heart of God that we now believe that he wouldn’t see into your heart, and bring someone along for you that will awaken your desires in this life, as well as to push you into a deeper relationship with Christ?

    My fiancée and I met the second semester of our freshmen year in college in January 2012 and started dating the following February. Previously, during the fall semester of 2011 (before my fiancée and I ever knew each other) we had both been going through incredibly difficult times of dealing with unhealthy relationships, insecurities, and flat out searching for “The One” whom we thought would be so easy to find since we were finally in college. We both came to the same crossroad that semester, her around October and me around November in which we both told God, “Okay, I give up. I’m not searching for who you have for me. You know my heart, you know who I am suppose to marry. I am placing it in your hands.” In our hearts we finally trusted that we didn’t have to go find our “perfect match.” Believe it or not, but whatever you are spending your time seeking, that is what you are worshiping. So we made the decision to worship God instead of searching for another false God to take his place. We reckoned with God and placed ourselves under his authority.

    Unbeknownst to us, we were both in the same community on campus. Before our freshman year we had both attended a retreat meant for incoming freshmen who were looking for a community or ministry to be apart of. There were only 60 people who attended, and we never saw each other there once. We were apart of the same small group. I was there every week, she only attended 5 or 6 times and we still never met nor noticed each other in the group. Like phantoms we passed each other with out noticing each other what so ever. How does that happen if she was going to be the woman that I would be so crazily attracted to and eventually married?

    Well the first semester concluded, as well as winter break and then the second semester began. A huge group from multiple ministries decided to go out country dancing one saturday. My fiancée and I were both a part of that group. I was reluctant to go because I hated dancing. Mostly because I had never found anyone I had quite yet enjoyed dancing with. Taylor was there as well (unbeknownst to me). And this was the first time that she had ever gone out dancing with friends. In fact it is completely unlike her to go out with a group of friends that she doesn’t know very well.

    After about an hour of being at the dance hall hanging with friends, I noticed HER. In that very moment she was the most beautiful woman whom I have ever laid my eyes on. Drop dead gorgeous. I immediately felt this intense urge in my chest to go ask her to dance. We danced, and we fell in love on the dance floor. Both through dancing but also the conversation that flowed from this instantaneous desire to get to know each other. We both look back and say that this was probably the best night of our lives.

    From that spurred a wonderful relationship that has been filled with challenges and heart break, but also the most riveting romance that we could have ever imagined. God had us in his timing the entire time. Could we have chosen to not continue getting to know each other from that point? Absolutely. Could we have decided not to go dancing that night? Absolutely. Could we have also woken up that same morning and decided not to follow Gods plan for us anymore? Absolutely. But did we? No. He ordained that meeting for us. We had placed our trust in him months in advance and he went and took that time to prepare us for each other. That moment we met was a divine appointment ordained by God.

    Now, I am not dismissing the fact that it is a CHOICE to love my fiancée each and every day. And it is a CHOICE for her to love me each and every day. But the love that we do share is a once in a lifetime love that doesn’t come out of no where. God gives us freewill, yes. But he also blesses us with opportunities. When we ask him for “boldness” does he just give us boldness or does he give us another opportunity to be bold and trust in him? I asked for a life partner, and trusted him in it. In return he gave me the opportunity with a woman that would awaken my true desires to pursue a woman like Christ pursued the church. Jesus didn’t just pursue “the church” because he saw us at the other end of the bar and thought maybe we were cute and might be a good match. God gave us to Jesus to pursue, love, romance, and die for. Just like how he gave me my fiancée to pursue, love, romance, as well as to die for as a model of Christ’s love for the church. But not for my glory, but so that she would be pointed towards Jesus. As well as for her to point me to the feminine heart of God through the way that she loves me. But I digress.

    If you want to believe that theres no such thing as “the one God has for you.” That is fine. But please understand how much romance is emptied from that. If you don’t feel that the relationship you are in was ordained by God, then the chances are high that you chose them for your own selfish reasons, or because they might have fit the checklist that this article tries to deny. But if in your heart of hearts believe that this person was brought into your life and some how is willing to drop every thing to fight the battle with you, don’t empty the romance from it by trying to convince yourself that having them in your life was something you did on your own. Instead turn your eyes to the LORD, fall on your knees, and praise him for understanding the desires of your heart. He loves you. He pursues you. He romances you.

    Thanks for reading!

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  267. Wow. Fantastically written, and very needed for lots of people (myself 5-10 years ago especially). I love how you affirm that God has more for his people to look forward to than a soppy wet romance- he has a transformed character, relational intimacy with God and fellow image-bearers, and a fruitful life of service and love in store for his people.

    But I have to push a bit on your words about God not having a plan for each of his people. You were very helpful and right to point out that Jeremiah 29:11 receives miserable abuse from basically every evangelical. But does that negate the idea that God has a plan, sovereignly layed-out, even while he never takes away our human will?

    I’m a compatibilist, not a hyper-Calvinist or an Arminian, because it seems to me that God has a plan and sovereign control over every macroscopic and microscopic detail of history; yet, at the same time, he clearly has given us choices and commands to make the right ones. And with the help of the Holy Spirit, sometimes we make those right ones!

    All this is just to say, I love how you brought the discussion of “the One” down to earth, but I want to keep hold of the assurance that God does have a perfect plan for my life, even though is hidden with him in heaven till I live it.

    Thanks again for a wonderful, and wonderfully crafted post.

  268. Amy Norton says:

    Witty, true, and fantastic. Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  269. Brooke Martin says:

    I have been married 26 years to my not perfect husband, and you are spot on! I wish more young girls would have your outlook on marriage. The reason we have been married so long is that our only soul mate is God…and we are just riding through life together-by choice- sometimes blissfully and other times not.

  270. JoBeth Hite says:

    I LOVE this! My husband of six years and I have talked about this often, and we totally agree! Thank you for putting it down on paper so clearly!
    Isn’t our God awesome?

  271. Sarah Jane says:

    Um, I love this. You’ve written my thoughts exactly but with much better words. It’s so silly to me that people think that there’s only one person for them. You have a choice, and you continue to choose- that’s what it comes down to.
    Look forward to keeping up with your blog. Also, beautiful wedding photos, happy anniversary.

  272. djkramer7 says:

    I have been married 23 years and over the years we are still becoming “soul-mates”. I would have to disagree though that we are to make the choice ourselves. My husband and I were both involved in other relationships when we first met and only through circumstances God could direct we ended up together. If I had my way at the time I would have stayed in the other relationship. I know God had my husband picked out for me. Does this mean we always get along? No. Does this mean he is the only person I could ever love? No. But I know God is much more involved in my life than what you are giving him credit for.

  273. Angela says:

    The “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” era was a great way to keep young folks sexually pure. Which is outstanding! I hope a similar way of thinking comes to be when my kids are teenagers. It is also part of the reason that so many 30-somethings are still single. They are still ‘waiting’ with no idea how to date or what realistic expectations look like. I feel very strongly that God led me to marry my husband but I also believe I could have refused and married someone else and been happy. These 2 ideas don’t contradict… our God is divine and really big. We will never understand everything He is.

  274. Steve says:

    Wow…what great writing and profound wisdom. This is a must read. Thanks so much, Hannah!

  275. Laura says:

    This is amazing. My boyfriend and I have struggled for 4 years with this same debate, each of us having been a part of the very youth culture that you speak of. We have both felt pressure, and because of some personal emotional issues, have questioned whether God wants to be together, about whether “this is it”. Well, we recently decided that, since we can’t picture our lives without each other and since we’ve been together for 4 years, that we will choose to get married and that God will bless us in that because we are his faithful servants. I think about the section in 1st Corinthians that discusses why and who you should marry, and all it really says is if you choose to marry that’s good, and if you choose to be single, that’s good too!

  276. Nancy Raatz says:

    I love this. I’ve been married to my wonderful husband 23 years. 28 years ago when I went off to a Christian college my dad gave sage advice like your dad, “You marry a man, not a calling. Find a man with true character, not the one who shouts the loudest, raises his hands the highest or sits in the front row at chapel.” I followed that advice and married a reluctant youth pastor, not a missionary. He’s an incredible man of God. God did call us (and we chose to follow) in missions. The past 11 years overseas has been a great adventure. AND I have 3 daughters–ages 17, 14, and 12. Your message here has been my rant to them these past 6 months. “No more silly lists!” Thanks for sharing your heart. Now I need to go share this on Facebook so more people can see your wisdom.

  277. amyoftexas says:

    I agree that there is more than one person out there that you could love and share life with, and that you do have a choice in the person you commit too. But I don’t think that rules out the feeling of having a “love of my life,” “one true love” or “soul mate.” Regardless, marriage certainly requires intentional work and commitment to God’s design no matter what your opinions on soul mates.

  278. I just watched a video last night about this view from Jefferson Bethke. I was beginning to feel this perspective about finding a husband recently. I got bored with the idea that I had to marry this perfect Christian pastor. No offensive, but yuck! It just started to sound boring. Then speaking with God and recently getting out of a good learning relationship I started to understand this perspective. It definitely takes the pressure off the guy. Girls are no where being perfect so why should we hold guys at that same level? Anyway, thank you for posting this. It definitely helped me finish processing this.

  279. This was lovely. As I prepare for marriage and review my own history, I’m so glad for all the choices and relationships where I chose and wasn’t chosen. Now I truly know what it is to be responsible and accept real love and kindness and reciprocate. Now I’m ready to share in an equitable partnership.

  280. Deena Tougaw says:

    So very true!! Thank you for this! Even taking it a step further God’s desire is for all of His people to worship Him. His desire is for His gospel to reach every tribe, tongue, and nation. We have the privilege and blessing of giving our lives to play a part in His Great Commission. If a husband is in the equation then He is now our partner in taking the gospel to the nations. : )

  281. Stephen says:

    I DISAGREE WITH EVERYTHING EVER

  282. oilyhands says:

    Reblogged this on The Talents Blog and commented:
    This is great.

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  284. jordanfitch says:

    Thank you! I’ve just gotten married two months ago, and have ached with the same convictions towards much of this generations misconception of Biblical marriage. I also appreciate your father’s contextualizing Jer 29:11! It’s no often that you see the passage used in context, as most would use it as a passage directed towards their own welfare. Whilst God does, according to Romans 8:28, have plans which He works out for good, Jeremiah 29:11 in particular shouldn’t be used at every corner to proclaim some prosperity over us.

    Thank you again! And may the Lord continue to bless your marriage.

  285. Terry says:

    I am in my 60’s and grew up in the 60’s with Jesus Freaks, and in some ways I guess I was one too, so what I grew up believing was you got married when you could not be all you needed to be in your Christian Life unless you had a mate so at this time you started praying to find one. Now in my own theology I be leaved that they would show up in your life without you saying or asking for help from any other way but prayer. Dating was what you did after God had brought you together so you could learn how to be compatible. “LOL” Sad to say I have been marred and divorced twice and now have been single for 12 years. I think my first wife was my mate, but dew to things I could control but didn’t, I lost out on what God’s will was for me because I took my eyes off of Jesus and looked back at the world.

  286. Becca says:

    Super great! I wish you would elaborate on the Biblical abuse of those verses, because I totally agree! So many verses are misused out of context. I would love if you made a post about that! :)

  287. Mia says:

    I have nothing profound to add. Just “Thank you” from a fellow product of the I Kissed Dating Goodbye era. :)

  288. Brad Madu says:

    Well isn’t it funny, for years I tried to teach wise words that would carry you on in life… of which you remember none, and now you give me something that I will remember for life. Thanks Liz, it was good to get reacquainted, your smile still brings joy.

  289. Betty Wilholt says:

    I enjoyed your post. I think that God did bring you your soul mate, only it wasn’t your version but His. Your husband is a very lucky man.

  290. Terri says:

    I absolutely love this and will be sharing with a very special group of 12th grade girls who need to hear it. It is refreshing and clearly defines that our choices to remain committed are what God’s plan in a marriage truly is.

  291. Jen Schmidt says:

    Beautifully done! Thanks for sharing. My husband and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage in December. I shared your post with him because it’s exactly how I feel! :) I love him because I choose to love him! There have been times where one of us (or both!) have wanted out. But we made a committment to each other before God and our families to love…honor…and serve each other. Marriage is a beautiful thing! But it can also be ugly. And hard. And scary. But we both love the Lord…and we love each other. That is why our marriage will be forever. :)

  292. My dad said the same thing to me, that God doesn’t have just one man for me, but once I get married he will become my “one.” It was oddly freeing and I appreciate him so much for telling me that. And for the record, my husband is a bazillion times better than any husband I dreamed up for myself according to the games of the youth ministry in my church. Great post!

  293. Suzanne says:

    This is excellent. You are right on point. I wish more women, married and single, understood this truth.

  294. S says:

    This is random and childish in comparison to the other comments, but do you think God placed your husband in your life at the right time just like he could have anybody else in your life down the road if you two had decided to go separate paths? Once I lose somebody, is it entirely up to me to go and find that next person or will God be helping me along the way?

  295. Carey D says:

    I reeeealllly like what you have to say, Hannah, and I believe that you say it in a very concise , well-written manner. However. . . I believe that if you’re challenging an age-old premise (the “soul-mate”) as being unbiblical, then you should in turn make your point with scripture as well. Your points, like I said, are well-stated, even convincing, and I commend you on that — but they are mostly anecdotal and philosophical in nature. This is one of the problems that I have with viral blog posts. Sometimes I think that people (especially younger folks — sorry, just calling it likes I sees it:-) jump on the bandwagon with such a post simply BECAUSE it’s different, BECAUSE it’s anti-establishment, BECAUSE it’s not-church-as-usual — rather than because it reveals something new in light of scripture.

    So, again (and I really want to emphasize this), even though I like the sentiment of what you are saying here (and you very well could be right), I feel no more compelled (biblically) to believe the “no-soulmate” concept as I do the “pro-soulmate” philosophy. I just want to challenge us all on that — we can’t dive into something just because it sounds cool or is a different viewpoint. (And I hope that my viewpoint is received in the spirit with which it was intended).

    “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” — Acts 17:11

    I wish you and your hubby nothing but the best. Soul-mate or not, you two have no doubt found a treasure in each other:-)

  296. Elle Campbell says:

    Hey lady, nice job on this! Made me think of the time I told these exact things to my small group of teenage girls. Initial response: “WHAT? Jesus doesn’t have a sexy soulmate for me?! I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE ANYMORE, AM I EVEN A CHRISTIAN?” Thankfully that phase passed pretty quickly, and we’ve had some really rich, meaningful conversations about it since. :) Glad you put this out there – great conversation starter!

  297. heartskeeper says:

    May I repost this on my blog? I couldn’t have said it better. I write/repost topics of interest to teens and college @ heartskeeper.com. Let me know! God bless

  298. Clare says:

    I don’t know about soul mates. And God certainly gives us free choice. But if we are going to marry only once in our life (the Biblical preference for sure) why wouldn’t a good Father (God) have picked out the one He knows best suited to get us (and vice versa) to heaven? Not to say that God doesn’t have plans b – z for when we mess up… but that doesn’t discount God creating us with another in mind. In fact St Therese’s Mother heard Our Lord say “He is the one I have chosen for you” I think, – oh oopsie, that’s a bit too Catholic for here right? Anyway, I don’t think God creating THE ONE for us means its all fate and destiny. God let’s us choose to accept His perfect plan or not.

  299. Aubrey says:

    To anyone who is bashing this lovely woman, or saying she needs more verse to backup her thoughts….No. Stop. She spoke what her heart told her to – and one could argue that God created her heart, so therefore, her words are all the validation we need. This isn’t a scholarly article, or an article for debate. It’s a very touching personal story, that Christians and the non-Christian alike can relate to. I am not particularly religious in any sort of organized fashion (I think *believing* in something, anything, is the most important part), so I clicked on this just out of sheer interest. This lovely new bride wrote in a way that speaks to anyone, and she addressed a very real issue that ANYONE in our society can relate to today – that we all have to be perfect, have a perfect education, husband/wife, job/career, children, home, etc. It’s not possible. She has instead realistically found her happiness, and passed on her wisdom to others. I think that’s a very…Christ-like thing to do, no? Stop bashing her, I don’t even know her and I think she’s a wonderful, sensible, hilarious, good to the bones, person. So there. *Blows raspberries*

    • Carey D says:

      Aubrey,
      Who is bashing her? I can only assume that you’re referring to my post about the scripture. If there was any critique that I offered, I really tried to balance it with encouragement of what I believe to be a well-written piece by Hannah. This thread is simply thoughtful discourse on a topic that we all care about — to politely disagree is not to “bash”, is it?

      • Aubrey says:

        Carey D,
        No, my comment was not about you, I had to actually scroll quite a bit, searching, to even find yours. In a post with so many comments, I am unsure of how you can only assume I was talking about you. It would have made more sense if I commented directly on your post, had that been the case. After reading your post, I think you were very polite. I like your comment. But others have not been as polite as you, in my opinion. I was also referencing the authors note that some wish to debate this and it’s just not the place. This is the authors personal story, we don’t have a right to try to make it mean less, as some may seek out to do.

        However, I can’t help but think that since you assumed I was speaking as a result of your post, that maybe you are concerned with what you said? I don’t think anyone is looking to pick a fight in regard to your words, if that’s what you are worried about.

  300. Love this.
    I believe my husband has been becoming my soul mate since we’ve been together, but that is because we make the conscious choice every day to love and work hard at our marriage. Never once did we think it was luck – do I think God gave him to me as a gift? in more ways than I can count.

    We keep our eyes on Jesus and He holds our marriage together, and we make that choice daily, hourly, to follow Him together. The choice to follow Jesus and to love my husband daily isn’t as fairytale-esque as the summer camp love story I pictured as a young Christian, it surely isn’t easy, but it is my favorite choice I’ve ever made and I’d do it again and again.

    Thank you for bringing clarity and reality to an issue that causes so many Christians to feel like they are missing out on God’s plan because they haven’t found “the one”.

  301. jadepsu says:

    I will spare you the details of my notsosimple relationships. I just want to thank you SO MUCH for posting this. And I want to tell you that this really healed something in me. Thank you. Thank you. This is everything my parents have been trying to tell me. This is everything I’ve been wrestling through as I try to love my significant other. This is everything I’ve been considering since someone told me that it was not God’s will for them to be with me. Sometimes, we write these things out in the blogosphere (lol), not knowing who it will impact. And I want you to know that this really impacted me and stands as a sign that God has heard my frustrated prayers and He cares.

    Fun sidebar: Yes, I was also super involved in the Evangelical movement in the 90s. I kissed dating goodbye. I wrote a list. And I have a volume of tear stained journals. LOL! Gotta love it! :)

  302. noliteante says:

    Reblogged this on Sun K and commented:
    love this so much. too good not to reblog!

  303. Brittany Burge says:

    In reference with issues with the idea of a soulmate, I think you’re spot on. Love is a constant, daily choice in any marriage. And just because it’s the ONE, doesn’t mean it won’t take work. And I’m glad that God’s foreknowledge is far greater than our naive prayer requests and desires.

    He knows far better than us what we need in order to become more like Him.

    While I agree that hypersensitivity issues (like “God can I eat this tuna fish sandwich or PB&J?”) regarding God’s will for our lives certainly need to be addressed. And while I agree that a spouse is not necessarily God’s plan for everyone, I can’t help but notice a glaring disregard for God’s sovereignty and omnipresence.

    He sees more than the present moment we live in, in fact, He sees all of time “at once”, if you will, since He is outside of time. So He knows exactly if and when we will marry, and who it will be if we do. He knows the jobs and friends and all the stuff you mentioned about praying for your kids future.

    Here’s the issue:

    Marriage cannot be chosen because you’re simply compatible with someone.
    Much like celibacy is a calling, so is marriage. (He knows which is the best way for each individual to know and love and become more like Him.) And if God IS calling you to marriage, wouldn’t He have someone in mind beyond “oh, they’d be compatible”?
    We (specifically believers), should not be getting marriage because “it’d be nice” and “we could make it work”… it should not be for ourselves. There isn’t enough time the days are evil… there’s work to do (1 Corinthians 7). So let us seek the Kingdom. And if marriage will help me to serve better together than alone, then that would be my reason for getting married… Otherwise, I will remain single. (In all urgency of heart) we MUST be about the Father’s business.

    • Brittany Burge says:

      *I would also like to note (to finish a thought) that in His sovereign knowledge of what we need, I think God guides us to people we need along the way, not just ones we are compatible with… to say that God is unconcerned with which spouse we choose, so long as we are choosing someone compatible and are committed, is like suggesting that God was unconcerned which family you would be born into. The Word says that He knew us before our parents, He knit us in the womb. I think His hand (and His grace) has a huge part to play, even in our daily decisions.

      • Shauna says:

        EXACTLY. If who we marry is the biggest single decision in our lives, the God I know would not regard our selection as arbitrary. To liken “just choose a college so you won’t be an idiot” to this topic is implying God’s attitude is “just choose a man so you won’t be lonely”! I agree with the general principle but the approach of this blog I do not agree with. God may not be a micro-manager, but make no mistake, He has a plan.

    • afwe says:

      I still think God prefers you to marry the person, you are more compatible with.

      • MikeInSanDiego says:

        I can think of many women I’d be more compatible with than my wife. The difference is I love my wife and because of love have learned to become more compatible with her, which in turn I have learned to love her more and more. We are actually not compatible according to those pre-marriage tests the counselors give you to help you decide. If “compatibility” means that she loves me back for my love for her, then I agree with your assertion. We have learned to grow with each other, care and provide for each other, press through the storms together, and submit to the principles of God’s design by believing in His promises and His Word regardless of how different my wife and I are. “Love is not a feeling, it is an act of the will.” In fact, love is rarely a feeling. We are now coming upon 40 years marriage and have 3 children and 11 grandchildren. The testament to our love and life and God is that our three children were willing to marry spouses they’re not very compatible with, but love very much, and each having a many and more children than we did in this seemingly hopeless time in the world. Why? Marriage and family is about Faith, Hope, and Love… and commitment. Compatibility varies with circumstance so it is not a good metric. A vision for family and generations is the best metric… not personality, not career, not ambition, not perfect teeth or any other physical attribute, not idealism, not education… God shows favor to those who believe in family and generational life and especially His Son Jesus.

      • afwe says:

        Yeah but if there were a thousand women you could have chosen, why did you chose her? What was so special about her? Were you just lonely and needed someone to marry? I’m not trying to be rude or anything but why did you choose her if you weren’t compatible with her? If you can’t base it on compatibility there has to be something that made her stood out from the rest of those thousand of other women. Why choose her?

      • afwe says:

        Basically what I’m trying to ask her is. Why did you choose her?

      • MikeInSanDiego says:

        Thank you for the questions…
        The point is that “compatibility” as a measurement of success in marital relationships has been morphed from its biblical basis to where it now includes pop-psychology and worldliness. My wife’s personality and mine are completely opposite. In pop-psych speak, I’m a type A and she’s a type B personality. I’m adventurous and she’s a homebody type. I love being around people and she is shy and reserved.. I’m extraverted and she is introverted. She’s diligent at completing projects and I tend to procrastinate. I like to try new things and she likes to stay with the same thing… e.g going out to eat. I can tolerate risk and she has a low threshold. I can make decisions simply based on vision while she needs a detailed plan. She can watch the same movie over and over and I have a hard time with that.
        Our personalities, skills, interests, wants, desires, etc are different and thus not “compatible”….however…
        Our spiritual values are the same… we both have courage, commitment, faith, hope, steadfastness, perseverance, integrity, love life, love family, believe in generational values, believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, fear of God and not man,….etc. which are the important factors. We are properly yoked and God provides for all of the issues that arise from the “incompatible” soulish factors.
        This blog is about “soul-mates”… when it comes to marriage, the “soul-mate” condition is a deception from the world. It’s a trap to get people to focus on carnal values rather than spiritual values. My wife and I are “spirit-mates”. When we got married we became “one flesh” as the Bible explains, whereas her nature is completing to my lack and my nature completing her lack. Of course, we were young and owned nothing. Our families were not the models we based our ideas of family on. We suppose that we weren’t basing our life on anything but what God put in our hearts. It was a challenge then, but filled with great joy and it is still a greater challenge now and daily filled with greater joy.
        I am willing to work hard and provide for her and pursue things beyond my desire just for her. Of course, even though we fail each other at times, that number is not a variable in the God’s formula for success in marriage. Grace makes a way where we cannot.
        What values are you willing to live for and die for? What provokes eternity in your heart? What gives you joy? It’s the transcendental values that define the measurement or standard of compatibility.
        Is the reason one gets married the same reason one stays married?

      • Peter says:

        I dated a girl with whom I had almost nothing in common. Her parents were “incompatible” so she thought we could work out, too. It didn’t, though, and I married someone alot like me.

        How are you and your wife “incompatible”? I use the quotes not to mock your use of the word, but minimize the incompatibility in light of the overpowering love in your marriage.

      • MikeInSanDiego says:

        Peter,
        Our spiritual values are the same… we both have courage, commitment, faith, hope, steadfastness, perseverance, integrity, love life, love family, believe in generational values, believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, fear of God and not man,….etc. which are the important factors. We are properly yoked and God provides for all of the issues that arise from the “incompatible” soulish factors.
        This blog is about “soul-mates”… when it comes to marriage, the “soul-mate” condition is a deception from the world. It’s a trap to get people to focus on carnal values rather than spiritual values. My wife and I are “spirit-mates”. When we got married we became “one flesh” as the Bible explains, whereas her nature is completing to my lack and my nature completing her lack. Of course, even though we fail each other at times, that number is not a variable in the God’s formula for success in marriage. Grace makes a way where we cannot.

  304. Jill says:

    Hannah…I have been married now for 15 years and I am so glad I have been able to discover your post! Many illusions have been created by well-meaning people regarding marriage, but I, like you, prefer to believe that God offers us a life full of rich experiences and it is up to us to make wise choices. Puts the ball in our court, which is tough (and so is marriage sometimes), but the life we glean from the work we put in can be AMAZING!!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts :).

  305. Heather says:

    That is hilariously true. Every bit of it. Thank you for the fresh outlook on it. I am in my 40’s and still waiting for the “perfect soul mate” my parents and I have prayed for my whole life. It has been a long, arduous wait!!! Maybe I can relax now and give some of the not so perfect guys a chance. Problem now…times have changed so much, just finding one that is not crazy, with three kids and a crazy ex wife is the challenge. All the best to you in a long, happy, fulfilling marriage!!!

  306. jeff berg says:

    It’s also good to point out two things:
    1) We are not all called to marriage at all!!
    2) Soulmates are possible (Reading this blog sounded more like a dream husband than a soulmate… Soulmates are not perfect people but perfect for you, which does NOT mean no confrontation… In fact, a real soulmate would cause us to polish more of our sharp spots!!)!!

  307. Evelyn Fuson says:

    Hannah,
    Thank you for your words. I needed to hear them but I also work in ministry here at Eastern Kentucky University and I constantly pour myself out into the women (and men) here. This post and (from what I’m reading in other posts on your blog) will be used in part of my ministry here.

    Thank you for your heart and your great courage in posting YOUR thoughts. They impact the world around you. I see you’re casting quite a ripple in the current… but judging by your other posts and pieces that I’m gathering that’s the way that you live your life.

    I feel a kindred sense of friendship with your heart through your words.
    Thank you again.
    -Evelyn

  308. dawnomite says:

    My husband is really not much at all like the “dream list” guy I imagined as a teenager – and he’s also a youth pastor, which I never saw coming. :) God has a great sense of humor.

  309. OzMumSpeak says:

    Reblogged this on OzMumSpeak and commented:
    I loved this post and rolled my eyes at the memory of my teenage self.

  310. Jimmy D says:

    I agree with the article that God doesn’t guarantee that everyone will get married. However, I disagree that there is no biblical basis that God has one soul mate for you to find and marry. In Genesis 24:14, the servant Abraham sent to find a wife for Isaac asks God to show the one He had selected for Isaac. To me, God clearly chose Rebekah to be Isaac’s soul mate. If it is God’s plan for you to be married, I think you can put it in the bank that He has one person out there that is perfect for you, your soul mate. Most likely not the one you wrote letters to in your journal, not the Chris Tomlin singing worship leader, not the youth pastor, but someone even more fantastic that God has chosen for you. You won’t even have to find your soul mate. God will bring your soul mate to you. He will not leave it to chance.

    • Lawson Stone says:

      Uh…I’d double-check that story. Rebekah and Isaac have one of the most problematic marriages in all of scripture. While the servant prayed for God’s guidance, the actual inspired narrator of the story (and remember, characters often don’t express God’s perspective, only the narrators) never once attributes the arrival of Rebekah and her fulfillment of the servant’s prayer as an action of God. Also, Isaac occupied a unique position in the history of redemption as the fulfillment of God’s unique promise to Abraham, the “point man” on the entire OT story of salvation. How can we take that account and generalize from it that God chooses everyone’s mate? In actual fact, most of the marriages in Old Testament Israel would have been arranged by parents and extended family. Likewise, “God’s will” for someone’s job was basically “whatever my father does.” People just inherited their job as part of their family, unless direct divine intervention changed things, such as the calling of a prophet. IN the Bible, mate choice, job choice, most other life choices, were undertaken with wisdom, discretion, and in accordance with the cultural options available. God’s call or choice only intervened in the rare moment when his purposes required a “special assignment.”

      • Michelle says:

        Lawson Stone, I beg to differ. Of all of the marriages listed in the Bible, Rebekah and Isaac’s are long considered one of the most loving, tender, and uplifting examples of a godly marriage. When reading Gen 24, you can see God’s handprints all over that union. Abraham himself said that the Lord would send his angel ahead of his servant and seee to it that the servant found Isaac’s wife for him (v. 7). Even before the servant had finished praying in his heart, Rebekah came out, passed the “test” and made it clear that she was to be Isaac’s wife. The servant himself attributed this union and discovery to God. If it was an incorrect attribution, why on earth would God in his sovereignty and determination to have his Word understood throughout the history of time leave this false attribution in the Bible? It doesn’t make sense to think it otherwise.

        In the Bible, biblical choices were certainly made with wisdom and discretion but the Lord says it himself, in his Word that we are to commit all of our plans to him. He’s not a God who just sets the clock and watches us spin our wheels while we try to discern what’s best and what he wants us to do. He wants an active role in every part of our lives. Why on earth wouldn’t he want an active role in something as crucial as selecting a life partner. I firmly believe God cares as much about my vocational calling as he does about my call to be a wife and mother. I don’t believe in the Platonist soul mate rubbish but I do believe in God’s sovereignty and throughout the Bible, it is clear that he is much more intentional than this author and many commentators care to give him credit for.

  311. kristoni1 says:

    I just want to say thank you for your honesty. I go to a christian college where marriage and finding “the one” is quite encouraged. I have seen countless girls sob either over break-ups or lack of a significant other in their life. It really does make havoc in their life when, heaven forbid, there is more than one super amazing guy in their life and they have to choose. Through it all I have had the mentality that if it happens it happens but I don’t have time to waste in the longing right now. It is good to know that I am not wrong in focusing on other areas of my life. For me right now it is more important that i make the daily right choices instead of getting wrapped up in searching for “the one” Thank you again!

  312. Golightly says:

    Thank you for writing this. As a Christian single, when I bring this stuff up with my married Christian friends, I often get sympathetic looks (read: “Oh, you just feel that way ’cause you’re still single. Poor thing.”) or “You just think that because you haven’t met The One.”
    So it’s refreshing to see married women thinking and writing about this stuff. Please keep it up. And please thank your mom and dad for me, too. I wish my parents had spoken that kind of truth into my life back when I was reading I Kissed Dating Goodbye.

  313. The 30-Year Old says:

    By far, this has been the best thing I have ever read about finding “the one”, marriage, etc. I am guilty of ALL of those things you wrote, and then some, and it has taken me until now (at the ripe age of 30, and STILL single) to realize this truth. I so wish that more young people came to this realization instead of wasting their time like I did. Thank you so much for this!

  314. ShalomSeeker says:

    Hannah, this is the first time I’ve heard of your blog, but I like you a lot. And I love your dad. A wise man…who sounds an awful lot like my dad. Thanks for shooting straight. :-)

  315. Lori says:

    The fact that our God is outside of time and knows the beginning from the end therefore knew the identity of your husband long before you ever met, and that he hears our prayers, knows our hearts, etc., while your journal may seem silly now, God heard your heart and answered with His best as He always does. This is true even when our marriage is difficult as a sovereign God knows that best prescription for wooing people into His kingdom, the very circumstances that get our attention and win our hearts to HIm. He is working in every detail of our lives, even in the seemingly negative things. That is why we can rejoice in all things. As the rabbi’s say, there is no such thing as coincidence….meaning God is involved in it all.

  316. mandirichey says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post!! My husband is not my soul mate, either. He’s my partner and best friend, the father of our son and I, too, after 8 years of marriage (our anniversary is tomorrow), still choose daily to love him, honor him and cherish him.

  317. Pingback: I Don’t Believe in Soulmates, either! | Lordy, Lordy, Look Who's Thorty!

  318. Nathan says:

    A couple of the comments above have mentioned this already (thank you, CTRL+F), so I won’t get in too deep. I did enjoy a lot of what you said, being a (fairly young) member of that hyper-sensitive, emotional youth culture (I was 13 in 2001). One thing I was sad to read was your father’s words regarding there being no basis in Scripture for God having 1 particular person for you to marry and spend the rest of your life with. I was sad because the sovereignty of God does not allow for such negligence. God’s sovereignty means that He is in complete control of all things at all times. If He has already made the decision to save us without our input (Rom. 9:22-24, Eph. 2:8-9), why would he not be in control of this as well? What there is no true basis of in Scripture is “free will”. That falls more in line with Bette Midler’s classic tune ‘From a Distance’. God doesn’t leave things like this up to us, because He knows how terribly irresponsible we are. If we are created for His glory, I think it’s safe to say He will have us do whatever brings him glory.

    Best of luck to you and your spouse, and may God continue to bless your marriage.

  319. Daniel says:

    Your dad and I think a like. Those sound like the kind of advice that I would give.

    I couldn’t agree with your post more, I am not that kind of man that would make anyone’s list. However someone that I choose to love everyday decided to do the same almost 9 years ago.

    Thank you

  320. Pingback: The DC Decision | There & Back Again

  321. Margaret says:

    I love your perspective! And you are so right! I’m a single adult in my late 30’s and for years dreamed of “the one” and used Jeremiah 29:11-13 and Psalm 37:4 as my reasoning why God would send a Prince Charming my way! God doesn’t call us to be happy, He calls us to be HOLY. Sure, a person to share our life with would be great, but husband or not, God has called me to share His love and change the world! Thank you for writing this! Very inspiring (and a total a-ha moment for me!)

  322. I don’t comment on blogs often but this really struck a chord. Because sister this was so totally me! The unrealistic Tomlin-strummer and all in my young brain! Good read. As Tim Keller says, it’s a choice to love, and keep loving. Good blog post!

  323. Pingback: My Husband is Not My Soulmate | markchanski

  324. Lauren says:

    I understand your point that loving your husband is a choice, a choice you make every day. I do, however, think that the abundant grace of God enables you to make that choice, and empowers you to do so when you do not want to. Piper’s “This Momentary Marriage” speaks brilliantly to this point. So while I believe that the Lord allows us to make choices, we cannot understate or underestimate the power of grace, of the Lord’s great sacrifice, in giving us the freedom to do so. GRACE allows a wife to love her husband everyday (and vice-versa), left to our own devices, our own self, we fail miserably.

  325. sunshine says:

    “I wouldn’t want to imagine life without James. I enjoy being with him more than anyone else in this world. I love him more than I ever thought you could love someone, and I miss him whenever I am not with him. I wouldn’t want to married to anyone else other than James, which is good, because I plan on being married to him forever, and he has to die first.”

    Ummmm call me crazy, but what more do you need to be able to call this man your soul mate? I am pretty sure that is the definition of soul mate. WOW.

  326. Felia says:

    Hi,
    This is great. I read that “kiss dating goodbye” book when I was a teenager, but after trying to break up with my after-all-still-boyfriend to figure out what God wanted to give me… I gave it up because this was ridiculous.
    I’m happy to remind myself that I’m in a relationship because -I- want to be in it.

    Congrats on your anniversary,

    Lewia

  327. Todd says:

    Love it! I plan to share the post with my children.

  328. Joy says:

    Hey! I really like how this post highlights that true love is a choice. God chose to love us, He gives us a choice to love, and likewise marriage is about two people choosing to love each other. That’s beautiful. As a young woman (22) who wants to marry sometime, and even went through the whole I-kissed-dating-goodbye phase, it is comforting to know that there isn’t only one single person for me out there. I would however like to add a few things…you wrote that those scriptures you used were referring to the the people of Israel and not to us modern-day Christians. I strongly disagree with this. I don’t know what your ideological leanings are, but as far as I know God’s Word is for anyone who is reading it. I also feel that to an extent you discount the fact that God does sometimes give specific instructions for peoples’ lives. For example, when I prayed about what to do after high school, it was clear what and when I needed to study. It may not be the same for everyone, and I think we should all learn to exercise God’s wisdom in every decision whether He speaks ‘clearly’ or not, however we should also be careful not to take our personal experiences and use them as a blanket to discount thousands of testimonies which can be backed up by the Bible. Just some thoughts.

  329. Julia Wurst says:

    I love this post! I could have written this exactly. You put words to my life. My husband and I have just celebrated 10 years and I am so glad I chose him. Your hubby sounds like mine. I think he was listening to Pink Floyd while I was reading Passion and Purity. Ha!

  330. Pingback: Soul Mates? | Faith, Folk and Charity

  331. Audrey M. DeNeui says:

    About God “giving us the desires of our hearts”…God will give us the DESIRES to want what HE wants for US. If we go pick someone out of the “Christian Husband’s R US” catalog and then ask and expect God to give us that one, it may or may not happen. (The desires thing is courtesy of MY husband. He makes me laugh.) And also, your parents rock. Keep them. :D

  332. Interestingly and humorously written! I really enjoyed reading this!

    I agree on some points and disagree on some points, but the ones I disagree on may be semantics. First, I believe you are spot on that your mate does not have to be and may never be your soul mate. This is not why we marry and if it is, we may be sorely disappointed. Having said that, however, I do believe whole-heartedly in soul mates – in more than one, perhaps, even.

    My husband is my soul mate. He was not when I met him, and he wasn’t for many years after we married. But through the years and many fires, we have indeed become soul mates in the deepest ways. If we never became such it would not in any change the love, commitment, or joy of our union, though it does enhance the ENjoyment :)

    My mother is also my soul mate, so I believe in more than one. See, I believe SOUL MATES ARE MADE, NOT FOUND. (I don’t believe you should ever put effort into making a soul mate with any person of the opposite sex.)

    As far as God having one certain person to marry, in most cases I would say He does not. But we cannot put Him in a box. He does have plans for us, and for some people, He may choose one person to be the partner and help for a certain purpose. Remember, marriage is to make us holy, not happy (though He does delight in happy marriages!), and if God knows of a certain plan He wishes for someone, He may well arrange one certain mate.

    I do not believe ALL people are meant to marry, or that ALL people have a mate chosen by God, but I wouldn’t declare that He never does choose one mate for anyone.

    Regardless, I love your heart, and I LOVE your love for your husband! I love your statement: “But now I delight in choosing to love him everyday…This is my joyous task, my daily decision. This is my marriage.” Maturity beyond your age and a wonderful inspiration for us all!

    I would caution, though, that the statement that the pressure is on you, not “on fate, cosmos, or divinity,” doesn’t sound as though you are daily choosing to place your marriage in the only One Who can ensure your marriage’s success. Your personal choice to love your husband each day MUST be strengthened and secured by the power of Holy Spirit and the empowering grace of God.

    Again, these things may be semantics. At any rate, I truly enjoyed your article, your writing style, and the truth you have set forth. God bless!

  333. Glen T. says:

    Just wanted to say that I loved your post. From what I understand of my Mormon religion, we believe the same thing. God wants everyone to marry, some in this life and others in the next, but who we marry is our choice. I’m glad I picked my wife to marry. We’ve been married for almost a year now and are still having loads of fun, especially now that we are waiting for our baby boy to arrive in about 6 weeks!

    • Casey S. says:

      There is actually a HUGE difference between the two religions. But nonetheless, congratulations on the little one. I have my third arriving in about 5 months.

  334. Flavia says:

    Hi! Friendly atheist me here, just to comment that I really like your points. I’ve been saying something very similar in a secular context for a while, but it’s great to see that a good head-on-the-shoulders stance towards relationships isn’t limited to any one way of thinking – good also to see it actively encouraged in faith communities (adolescent journal tears aside. Those hormones were killer!) I’ve sent this along to my close Christian friend who thinks very much this way too. Cheers :)

  335. Kathy says:

    I have seen “soul mates” get divorced. nasty expensive angry divorces. I guess they were mistaken! (And possibly looking for the wrong thing, as you point out.)
    Kathy

  336. megan says:

    I love this post. Truly. as a girl who grew up thinking marriage was simple,( I have two incredible parents who celebrated their 43rd anniversary) that God had my marriage planned and it was going to be great..a few bumps..but great! Well..I ended up biting into the world of I deserve to be happy. Filed for divorce, took custody of my three kids, and was soo happy with being happy. I thought..I went outside Gods plan and that’s why this marriage was miserable. I then remarried, joined an incredible church and realized..I am still not happy. Enter counseling. I love my husband. I have chosen to stay and fight this out because I know that love is a choice and one that is so much easier to do..most times..with God in the middle of this marriage. I know that God has my life in His hands I also know that love is an ability from God. When my now teenage children talk about marriage. .I tell them the truth. . Marriage is one of the hardest things you will ever ever do. But I also tell them it is the most rewarding relationship with humans that they will ever encounter.

  337. Jennifer says:

    THANK YOU! This acually made me cry a little. It is sometimes so frustrating to explain to peaple that at 35 and single I am content and even happy with my life. I have a degree, a good job, a dog, and my own place. I stugle with money sometimes but a husband wouldnt neccesarily solve that problem. I hang out with friends and enjoy being by my self a lot. Is that so horrible? Does that mean I should be out desperatly searching for the “one”?
    I think what botthers peaple the most is that it doesnt bother me. I can go to a restraunt or a movie alone without shame. I can enjoy romance in books or movies and not feel desperate. I can even attend or help plan a wedding (I am very good at this) without being envious.
    My mother tells me God has someone for me becouse he gave her a vision when I was 6. Well He didnt give me that vision. Maybe its just her dream or wish for me since she has been married for 40+ years. I admire that and hate that I am disapointing her but not enough to be desperate.
    If someone comes into my life that makes me laugh, gets my quirky personality, and knows how to keep me form getting frustrated at my computer, then maybe that might change. Maybe I could make room in my life but until then I am ok being me. Now if someone could convince my mother, that would be great.

    • AnnaMarie says:

      You go girl! I love your attitude :)

    • Peter says:

      I got married at 38. It’s hard to find a mate at church. By that time I had figured out that it was character and not excitement or romance that I needed. My wife wishes I did a little more feet-sweeping-off-of but we look forward to being together as much as possible, and its been almost ten years.

  338. Sarah K. says:

    Great thoughts. Today (the 23rd) I celebrate my 3rd wedding anniversary to the guy I met in Sunday School, but fell short of all of my expectations in high school and college and then, after a slap-in-the-face humbling conversation with my mother, I realized that he was my favorite. I also agree that there is no “one” for anyone (how depressing would that be?? – what if they died?), but instead you have to find someone you like and daily sacrifice everything to make it work. Today I found myself in tears (note that I’m 8 months pregnant and hormonal) because my husband constantly out-serves me and I don’t deserve that sort of love. Find someone who will love you the way Christ loved the church and do your best to be as awesome as them back. Marriage is awesome with whoever if you both are constantly trying to find ways to fulfill each others needs rather than trying to find someone that will meet all of the needs on your list. High school girls, get over yourselves and spend more time serving than you do journaling and daydreaming about your future. Congratulations on your anniversary – it is only the first of MANY MORE!!!!

  339. Victoria J says:

    Greetings! I just want to say that I love your blog entry, and I wholeheartedly agree with the points you’ve made. In looking at all the biblical references for how people got married, there was never a “The One” or “Soulmate” connotation. Many blessings to you and your husband as y’all go through the rest of this journey called life together!

  340. Kelsey says:

    Thanks so much for sharing and writing this post. I’m a 26 y/o single Christian wondering what God’s plan is for me. I like the truth that He desires for me to have a full life and not worry about meeting “the one.” I feel like I’m robbing myself of so much joy by wondering how long I’ll be single. Time to really change my perspective. Thanks again :)

  341. Hannah c says:

    This was so beautiful!! As a young Christian girl I’ve always thought that God had a man out there waiting for me that some day he would let me run into and fall in love with. But reading this that makes so much more sense! May God bless you in your new marriage and in all you do :) thank you for posting this ! :)

  342. Erin says:

    I have felt this way about marriage for going on four years now. In a week I’ll celebrate five years of marriage with my husband. You are so spot on with every point you make. Marriage is a choice every single day. Wonderful post!

  343. I was definitely raised with a similar philosophy as your parents, and I definitely see the values of not overly romanticizing love. I’ve also never been terribly sentimental about love (I think you said I was the calmest person you’d ever seen on their wedding day). However, my own experience has been quite different, and I’m not sure how to reconcile that with the philosophy you describe (which, as I said, was what I was raised to believe). My experience in finding, dating, marrying, and being married to Philip has been one of the most explicit and dramatic displays of Providence in my life. I see no way of interpreting our relationship other than as God bringing Philip into my life for me to marry him. Definitely food for thought.

    • I probably should have finished thinking through my thoughts before commenting. Here’s more: I think what we’ll call the unromantic theory of marriage is trying to combat is the idea that God has a soul mate picked out for you and that finding him/her is the key to locking down earthly happiness. Fair enough. But if the end of marriage is sanctification, is it so far-fetched to believe that God would exercise providence to bring the best sanctifier into our lives? Just as we believe that trials are sent to strengthen us and blessings are sent to encourage us, couldn’t our specific spouses be sent to strengthen us?

    • Lynn :O) says:

      I agree with you completely. The only way my husband and I met is because it was God orchestrated. No other explanation is even possible. That being said, our decision to marry was very logical and very low on the emotional scale. Because of the assurance that this union was (dare I say it?) ordained by God, I have confidence and strength to walk through the difficult things marriage bring, without ever second guessing my decision. Satan can NEVER throw at me the temptation to even think that perhaps it was a mistake.
      27 years and counting.

    • bonny says:

      I think that if you don’t believe that God was involved in the choice of your spouse, you can’t call on God in the really hard times to show you a path through the darkness. You don’t adequately thank God for the good. Profound highs and lows happen and it’s better to hold on to the notion that God is both transcendant and imminent in the good and bad. After twenty eight years this is my experience.

  344. Pingback: Do You Believe in Soulmates? | Heather Lea Campbell {.me}

  345. Mary Ann E says:

    I disagree with how you say God doesn’t have someone for us…
    I think he knows perfectly who we should be with..

    • Indeed, but I think the point is that there isn’t just one absolutely perfect person out there for you that must be the one you marry or else you’ll be miserable. I think the point is that, by God’s grace and the Holy Spirit given to all of us, there are multiple people with whom you could have a beautiful, God-honoring marriage, and you don’t have to worry about missing out on “God’s Perfect Plan” if you don’t marry one particular person.

      • Betsy says:

        Or what if your “perfect person” isn’t listening to God and marries someone else….

  346. Staffaction says:

    Hey, great post, Hannah! I saw this earlier today and it had 200 some comments and now it has nearly 500. whoa. Came back to it again because another (totally random, unrelated to you) blog had linked to. Anyway, well written. Good words for sure. Keep up the good work.

  347. missy says:

    This has some really interesting points. But, I disagree with the premise that God doesn’t have your husband picked out for you. I prayed for my husband when I was eleven. God showed me his personality and who he was with six to seven children dancing around his legs. God foreknew who he wanted for my life when I was young. I would never have picked him out because he didn’t have blonde hair. God had to rebuke me for looking for blonde haired men and tell me to not look with my eyes. In fact, I told closest friends (only) that he was not at all attractive, but he was who God had for me. So, they laughed so hard when they met him because they were prepared for the worst. Today, I laugh about why I thought he was so unattractive because he is a very attractive man (and that is why my friends laughed so hard). I married him because God said he was the right one. I still laugh about the “test” that I gave him to be sure I heard from God right. I told God that I would not marry any man that looked at other women (so too much of that growing up). So, when he went to the bathroom, I put my roommates girly magazine on the table. I watched carefully to see what he would do (trying to not let him see I was watching). He went over to the magazine and said, “I rebuke you, Satan” and flipped it over. He later told me that he made a covenant with his eyes to God. He wanted to be like the prophet who never let his words fall to the ground. He also wanted to never look at anything that causes his eyes to cause him to sin. Since he was eleven he has habitually turned his head with half dressed women. I will sometimes ask him why he turned his head, and he has no idea. He just has done it so long (he is forty six now). He has now encouraged our boys to learn to do the same thing. I could go on for hours with our story of God’s hand involved in bringing us together (such as him saying he saw me when he was a teenager and if temptation was to sin with a young girl, he would see my personality-he said he knew I had dark brown hair). But, I say this to explain our story is different than the one mentioned. God did give me the man who he wanted me to marry, answering my eleven year old prayers. I would later walk with him on this path of serving God with seven children and homeschooling (the same vision in his heart was also in my heart). I can say that my husband is truly my best friend. I can’t imagine not having him in my life. That doesn’t mean everything is roses and peaches. There has been selfishness on both sides that has had to be worked out of both of us, which includes painful lessons. I guess everyone’s story is different. I would have liked this author to just share her story rather than making general statements of her truths like God doesn’t pick out soul mates (which is true and pagan) but gives the impression that God can’t find a spouse that will have the same heart or vision for your life that he has for your life. When I read the story of how Isaac got his wife Rebecca or Jacob and Rachael, I see men praying for a wife, and God being very involved just as he was in my life.

  348. Sarah says:

    I burned my ridiculous, over the top, sappy husband journal about a year into my marriage and never let my husband see it! I too grew up with all of “The One” mindsets. When I met a guitar playing, Jesus loving, worship leader, I almost thought that it was going to work; until a break-up with “The One” devastated me and my relationship with God for several years. I am totally on board with you, as is my husband. My first year of marriage absolutely destroyed any and all illusions I had about the institution. Marriage is about choosing to love someone you like, admire, and with whom you can grow though life. My husband is such a person, and we enjoy each other every day. Glad to see someone is spreading the word! I had thought to myself to write about this issue. It desperately needs to be corrected in the church. I have a pastor for a father, and though I love him so much, he also fed into this lie because of his experiences with meeting my mom (dreams, coincidences, the whole shebang.) Thanks for the blog!

  349. AnnaMarie says:

    YES!!!!! You are so right! Thank you for this refreshing and insightful post. I read “I kissed dating goodbye” and came to the conclusion that it is primarily meant for those who are trying to leave the dating scene, not necessarily those who have never dated and are happy to wait for a while- for those people, it tends to make them overly conservative and idealistic. I also tried the letters…also found them later…and threw them away because they were so embarrassing! LOL. I go to a Christian university where chapel speakers love to communicate the exact image you talked about- a guitar strumming youth minister is out there for you, and if he doesn’t go on mission trips and lead worship, he is not truly a man of God and not meant for you! (I do love my school, but that bit gets old!). It is so beautiful to know that my husband chose to be with me and chooses that every day…and even if he may not fit that list, he loves God and helps me grow spiritually. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, this post made my day!!!

  350. rachelallord says:

    A friend reposted this on FB and I simply had to respond. I’m a novelist and this is very topic is the impetus for my latest work… challenging the notion of soul mates. Yep, the very idea can mess with your head, your heart, your marriage, your expectations. Enjoyed your thoughts!

  351. Brandy says:

    As a 21 year old single Christian woman, this is such an amazing article to read! As much of the talks between my single girlfriends and I are of who do we think God has for us. Thank you for sharing your advice! I will have to keep this in mind as I’m trying to figure out the crazy dating world!

  352. r_stricki says:

    I ADORE this post, thanks so much for sharing!

  353. Erin Lamb says:

    Thanks for such a great post! I pray your marriage is filled with bliss. I was so delighted to see a post like this. I have too many friends and heard too many singles scolded for either not wanting to be married or not waiting for “the one.” I love your statement that God’s plan is for us to become more like Christ, because truly it is. I think marriage can be a socially acceptable idol in church which leads to loads of disappointment. No one other than God can completely satisfy the human heart. Thanks for this post!!! I shared it on Pinterest. Love the pics too!

  354. Bryan Rayner says:

    I think from experience that we can ask God to do the choosing for us. Yes, there are any number of potential compatible partners. But I have a relationship where God spoke SO clearly through a lot of “coincidences” that He was okay with us choosing eachother. We both asked Him to only let us go with the best, before we knew eachother and after. And I couldn’t see anyone else!

    I think that God honors our desire to let Him give us His best. Getting into the mechanics is funny, wouldn’t want to try, but I have experienced His hand in my relationship with Nichole. I can’t deny that He is good at helping us choose!

  355. mjscrogg34 says:

    This was well written. I have been married 3 years and often wonder if I married who God intended, but then I think but I wanted to marry Michael!! So this validated my thoughts and feelings!! Thanks Hannah for sharing you helped me a lot!! I choose to love Michael and I chose to marry him, and it was one of the best choices I have ever made!

  356. Bridget says:

    Great post!. I am a 52 yo African American woman who can so relate to this article in many ways. I have been happily married for 28 years to a man I met while part of a christian organization at our HBCU college. We were taught to write down our idea husband/wife (I would laugh if I read it now), date only with the intent of marriage (my family thought I was ‘going too far’ with this ‘religious’ thing), ‘wait for your soul mate’, and many of the things mentioned in your article. I’m not sure if he was the only one or ‘THE’ soul mate, but what I do believe/know is he is my best friend and I am grateful to be spending my life with him. I believe God loved us and knew us both so well that He helped us to meet and marry so we could encourage, love, build up, and do life with each other. The strong stance the christian ministry leaders took on dating, abstinence, and ‘scriptures’ (erroneously, at times) on Christian relationships kept us out of trouble, focused us and helped us to expect great things from marriage….. All the while falling in love with God and having a great time as we grew and learned as young, baby Christians. Again, thank you for the article to let me know my experience was not unique.

  357. Pingback: Stop Boiling Jesus | GBChurch

  358. Reblogged this on and commented:
    As many of you know, I am a Christian.
    I stumble-trip, stumble-trip through christianity because I am a flawed human being who is bent out of shape and dented by the rough edges of a world I didn’t get asked to be a part of and at times I wrestle with my compatibility with God to the point where I have about the spirituality of a lamp post, but it remains my core and so this whole ‘single’ journey has a very spiritual element for me. Today a friend referred a piece of writing that meant a great deal to me and I am breaking tradition by re-blogging the work of another as I feel this is a very important read for anyone who considers that their spirituality plays a significant part in their love life.

    I have always maintained a very similar perspective on love/marriage to this woman and never bought in to the ‘soul mate’ idea and yet always questioned my spirituality and faith because of it. My very wise mother told me in my early years that ‘given the right environment and circumstances you can fall in love with damn near anybody’ and that choosing a life partner should involve wisdom and maturity, more than fantasy and our unreliable and every maturing emotions.
    This was very reassuring to me and I think this piece is very realistic.
    I could write a thousand words more on this topic but feel that this down-to-earth, centred woman has said it better than I ever could, so take it away Hannah…

  359. I am not easily moved to tears when it comes to relationship blogs, cynic that I am, but this one succeeded. You got it figured out, my dear. Thank you for enlightening the rest of us.
    I consider stumbling across this blog as a gift that arrived at the very time I needed it to. Thank you.

  360. Pingback: A response to “My Husband is not my Soul Mate” | A Different Story

  361. Helena says:

    This was amazing and I wish this was taught to more single christians everywhere. When I first head this idea my sophomore year in college I was distraught. But I’m glad I see the truth. I am also in a relationship where if I look at my list from years ago…he does not fit. But he is everything that I need and he definitely brings out the best in me and I couldn’t ask for anything more. We definitely have our ups and downs, but we choose to be with one another it is something special! I too am glad that God did not give me the desire of my heart when I was in high school and in my early college years. Thanks for sharing!! :)
    ~Helena

  362. khalf says:

    Reblogged this on They call me "Sophisticat" and commented:
    Right perspective!

  363. Mariah says:

    I loved this! Thank you so much for posting! Also, I love your wedding dress!

  364. Reblogged this on The Rainbow Theory and commented:
    I feel like I wrote this myself… only I didn’t. Awesome job, Hannah!

  365. Pingback: The AH HA moment | faith vs. fear

  366. This is beautiful. I am very thankful for this reminder that it is our choice to love everyday but in my case I can choose to let go and stop loving someone who is not good for me. Thank you for the AHHA moment of the day.

  367. Spitfyre says:

    I am not a Christian, but I really appreciate this article. There is a truth behind this that is important despite religious affiliation. We have to put effort and work into love. We can’t just sit back and hope it all works out. Thank you for this. It was beautifully written.

  368. huw005 says:

    This post made me think a lot but I did want to point out one thing – can’t He use a relationship as part of his plan to make us more holy? It sounds a bit callous to say that God doesn’t care about your love life – which is why some Christians use it as an excuse to date whomever they want, saying that God will bless their choice AFTER they made it.

    I fully believe that God had a hand in choosing my partner because it happened to me. This guy wasn’t my type yet God told me that he would be the one to help me grow as a Christian and he did. I was shown a whole new side of love I never had before and was able to heal and grow and repent in ways I never knew I could. Maybe he’s not my soul mate but I know for sure that God had picked him out for me.

  369. Logan says:

    I know you are not replying to comments anymore, but I just had to pop in and say thank you! I think this is so spot-on… something I’ve tried to explain to people before, but I’ve been unsuccessful, whereas you have expressed it beautifully! Thanks so much for sharing. I even talked my husband into reading… that’s saying something! So perfectly written!

  370. Kathie says:

    Stumbled across this on someones Facebook… This is wonderful, and is a great confirmation to a single person, like myself, that you can have the same perspective on the other side. It’s easy to say that all that matters is that “he loved the lord, made you laugh, and was someone to whom you were attracted” when you’ve been single for awhile. But for you, being married to the man you will always be with and to still say that that is all that matters and the rest is frosting is huge… it gives me hope that there are other people, and men out there who understand the commitment that marriage is, the commitment that love it, and that marriage is work every day, and is not contingent on how many things you have in common or which movies you both like. Not being married yet, I know that I’m not fully aware of the extent of these commitments my self, but it’s wonderful married couples in my life who’ve helped me to understand what I do know. So, keep sharing your wisdom, even with the short experience with marriage you have… you’re wise beyond your married years.

  371. Thalyta says:

    Hello Hannah. May I translate this text to portuguese and post on my facebook with your name on it? I really would like to share your wise words with many christian girls from my city in Brazil, but most of them don’t speak English.
    God bless you

    Thalyta

  372. Well said! Thank you! It seems that everyone I meet either views marriage as a search for the Disney Prince Charming or the Evangelical Youth Pastor husband. It is great to finally hear someone talk sense into the situation!

  373. Cori says:

    Thank you very much for posting this. It always frustrated me when my mom shoved purity books and other such resources because I felt like something was off, and recently I broke up with my Christian boyfriend because even though I was dating a good Christian guy, I really felt like something was off. And I didnt quite realize what it was until a week ago, after I broke up with him, It was the fact that even though we were both Christians, We werent growing closer to God. I broke up with him with the full intent of changing my priorities from “dating a good christian guy” to “Being the best Christ follower I can be.” and I honestly believe this will make the difference for my life. I’m extremely glad I’m figuring this out before college. And I’m very glad I’m seeing so much evidence that I made the right choice.

  374. Abby says:

    That was great. I am 14, and I have to admit that I have often dreamed about “the future man for me”. You popped my bubble, but thanks. It needed to be popped.

  375. Stephanie says:

    Much of what you say is true, but not all of it sits well with me, at least in my understanding and belief. God is sovereign and once He has saved you and sealed you for all eternity, He is interested in the details of your life and He does have specifics planned for you. You see it throughout Scripture. God doesn’t randomly give people directions, He is specific: how to build the ark, which tree not to eat from, when Jacob found Rebecca, how many times to march around Jericho, which star for the wise men to follow. God is specific and His plans for our lives are too :) I do believe He has THE person picked out for you, whether you think you are the one who actually did the choosing or not.

  376. Ashley says:

    I LOVE this!! When I was in my early 20’s my mother was talking about how my dad is her soul mate. I regretted to inform her that there is no biblical basis for a soul mate, and that “God is our soul mate.” She brushed it aside until I told her dad felt the same, and for a split second she was a little hurt. We try to romanticise faith so much we lose sight as to why God came down to save us.

    Oh, and I’m glad I didn’t marry that obnoxious youth-leader imaginary husband I dreamed about. My real husband is 1000x better. :)

  377. Megan says:

    I’m a 35 year old single woman and I have to work so hard to squash the facetious comments when people opine on my singleness….”Don’t worry, there is one for you out there.” REALLY? DO YOU KNOW THE MIND OF GOD? YOU WILL GUARANTEE THAT FUTURE ACTION FOR ME? Or, “I’ll pray for a spouse for you,” often said to me by older divorced women. AND I WILL PRAY FOR ONE FOR YOU…occasionally I have dared to say that out loud and they are shocked. WHY CAN’T I PRAY FOR A SPOUSE FOR THE 55 YEAR OLD DIVORCEE? MAYBE GOD WANTS TO BLESS HER ENORMOUSLY, LIKE C.S. LEWIS…Or, “Sally married so-and-so, and you are much prettier than Sally…” WHAT? MY MARRIAGEABILITY IS BASED ON MY BEING PRETTIER THAN CERTAIN WOMEN? And it goes on and on….

  378. yolanda says:

    Such a blessing this blog was to me!

  379. Luke says:

    10 years ago, I was a youth leader in a small, yet fantastic church in Florida. We had a question and answer session one night, where my wife and I tried to give advice/encouragement to the group on an “anything goes” kind of question/answer thingie. When asked about finding a mate, I answered with this same point, nearly word for word. I’ve never been in so much trouble with a church in my life :) I have stood by this for years, and I am completely happy to read this from you. This kicks ass.

    BTW My wife and I have been married for 13 years now, and things are still amazing.

  380. yen says:

    WOOOOOOW! What a beautiful powerful post you have here! So blessed, Hannah! This totally made my day. I’m glad a friend recommended it to me. :)

  381. While I do believe in “soul mates” I have found that they come around at the most inconvenient of times. He’s married, you are not. You are married, he is not. I married a man I thought was funny, witty, intelligent and interested in a wide array of subjects. After marrying him, he kept up the facade until he met the Internet. Now, the Internet is his bride, and what started as a happy marriage of two people is the unhappy parting of two people who are trying to be civil to one another while one moves out of the house. I chose to marry him because I loved him, and I still do. It’s just that he doesn’t love me nor am I completely sure he ever did. I am happy that your marriage has worked for you because it does take daily work on both people’s parts to make a partnership flourish and last. Thank you for the message in your post. I found my way to it on another blogger’s site.

  382. Beulah says:

    What a blessing to read this post! I can’t even begin to explain the impact this has had on me personally. Definitely something I needed to hear! THANK YOU!!!

  383. Jama says:

    My husband and I have always believed this way! Glad to see someone else believes this way too! I love my husband more than air; but i dont believe thier is a ONE for me. I choose my husband everyday! Love this blog!

  384. Mr. Moonshadow says:

    It was a blind date; it was magical; it was love at first sight, yet impossible—this phenomenal young woman could never want me…but we mesmerized each other with warmth, intelligence, humor, sincerity, thoughtfulness, caring, selflessness—the list does go on. Turns out that love isn’t easy and it takes work—we put it in; it takes commitment—we persevered; it is a choice—especially when times get difficult. I agree with your father, Hannah—-God gives us wide latitude to make life’s choices and calls it Free Will—it’s what makes us human and it is our test if we are to develop into the creatures with whom God wants to share His eternity. I do believe in love at first sight; I also believe we can learn to love somebody, choose to love somebody—and isn’t that really the meaning of “falling in love?” I don’t believe in most “miracles” as commonly understood. In our times I believe God whispers to us, helps to show us choices, helps to offer guidance and consolation in our choices—as well as forgiveness for some of them. I see miracles not in an unexplained cure of a disease, but in a doctor trying a little harder, maybe stopping to offer non-medical support—like a prayer or a commitment to just be there for someone. God doesn’t prevent accidents, but He may whisper to a passerby to stop and look more closely and offer a hand (sounds a bit like the Good Samaritan story?) —-I don’t really believe God affects outcomes, but instead offers choices to influence people—take those or leave them, being wholly up to the individual. Are we whole without our spouses? Were we less than whole before? No, we are not whole without our spouses, for together we shape who we are. Were we less than whole before? Yes, because human life is best lived in “community” whether with one or with many. My darling wife died much too young—yet she’s the only one, ever—sorry to disagree with you on that, but that indeed was OUR relationship. After her death, I joined the Catholic Church (she was Catholic and we attended Mass for all of our years dating and married together). A priest said to me—“if you want to avoid pain in life, don’t love; once you have loved and lost that person to death, it is astounding how many other people and things to do in your life it takes just to allow you to traverse the abyss that seeks to swallow you up as you walk without your loved one.” In short, whether the closeness of a spouse or the arms of a community, it takes others for us to fully develop and live. Interesting that you would want James to die first—-you’ll not begin to appreciate how difficult that circumstance is until you face it—-I thought I could survive it, had more resolve, other “things to do to keep me busy”—-I can only tell you that you’ll need more strength, and help, then than you need today in your choice to love James. I find music has become a great part of my life along with other elements of art (if we are created in the image of God and can create and appreciate art, then shouldn’t we believe that art pleases God? teaches us, too?) A favorite “popular” song of mine is from the musical WICKED—-it is called FOR GOOD…peruse the lyrics and think about whether paths cross because of some whisper from God—what we do with those events is up to us—God offers us opportunities—and sometimes it is to find people who make us better….happened to me—she made me so much better than I ever would have become on my own; it might have happened with someone else, but once we both made the choice our relationship and love became inviolate….just an observation from further down the path….and blessings to you, Hannah, on your future with James.

  385. J.R. says:

    Great wedding photography! Whitney Neal Photography did an excellent job, and you and your husband make a beautiful couple.

  386. Deana says:

    Reblogged this on Deana Louise and commented:
    I LOVE this. I remember the whole “I kissed dating goodbye” era of our youth group days -I was a youth leader back then and I remember thinking, something was amiss- what a smart young woman– I watch too many people get all wrapped up in paralysis afraid to make a decision because it might not be “what God wants.” — Love is a CHOICE. Don’t get wrapped up in who you are going to marry as if that is the be all and end all of existence. LIVE YOUR LIFE.

  387. Lynn :O) says:

    I do believe there is an example in scripture of God having that “certain one” for us.
    Genesis 24:14 May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.” 15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder.

  388. Wanda Goode says:

    I understand what you are saying, but I think you link up things that don’t have to be linked up. I do believe God has a person in mind for you–how can He know the hairs on your head, when you rise up and sit down (Psalm 139), the fact that even a sparrow doesn’t fall to the ground without his will–and not care who you spend your life with? That doesn’t add up to me. At the same time though, I agree with your rejection of the things you used to say about the person you would marry. And once married, it’s definitely a daily moment by moment choice to love, and to stay married, because you’re basically choosing whether you’re going to obey God or not. FYI, I have been married 22 years, was 36 when I got married, and am in full-time Christian work.

  389. Terisa Clark says:

    So true!!!! I love and appreciate this post so much!!

  390. hattieadel says:

    I’ve read through this a few times, and I still don’t fully understand this post, could you put it into other words?

  391. Ami says:

    I loved this! True and funny!! After being divorced and feeling completely shamed by that, it’s refreshing being reminded that my “one and only” didn’t leave with my one and only chance at being a Godly wife (and hopefully a mother). Love is a choice, NOT a feeling. A person has to chose to love their spouse just as they chose to follow Christ… When those things stop, your marriage will crumble. Good words!!!

  392. Stacia says:

    You must have been born in 1984. Because everything about this post was my exact experience. Gotta love being a teen in the late 90’s…. I love your theologian dad’s comments. He speaks to the side of me who minored in Biblical studies. And I more than once have told my unmarried friends all that matters is if the guy loves God, makes you laugh, and you are semi- attracted to one another ( I also say he needs to have a stable job). I never comment on stranger posts. But this spoke to me and made me laugh. So, thanks for the blog!

  393. Beautifully written. Thank you.

  394. sammi2010 says:

    Thank you for writing this. It is so true and honest. I needed to hear this- thank you.

  395. Pingback: Soul Mate | look beyond the imperfections

  396. albrechtmba says:

    Reblogged this on Laying Foundations and commented:
    Oh wow, this post was too awesome not to share. God absolutely wants us to make decisions based upon principles in life. Even things as important as a spouse, where to go to school, what to do in school, what to do for work, where to live, etc. But yeah, being single is also another reason why this resonates with me.

  397. Wendles says:

    Love it chica, Might be time to look again at the faith I’ve been running from for the past two years.

  398. Deb says:

    Thank You… Well said!!
    Mother of three daughters<3

  399. Katie says:

    Hi! I am 22 years old and you just described my life! Well ya know without the husband and well..umm..boyfriend thing too lol!
    Thank you so much for writing this! It has helped me so much, to get out of my imaginary Christian fairy tale bubble and back to how God wants us to do relationships, or to even ask God if He wants us in one in the first place! Okay, all finished :) just wanted to say THANK YOU!

  400. happyinhim says: