Estimated reading time: 6 minutes:)
It was the day of our engagement.
I laid on my bedroom floor, waiting for Nathan to show up at my house. I knew tonight he was going to propose – there were too many clues. I wore my favorite black dress with a sweater; hair curled, makeup done. And now I was just waiting.
Laying there, God prompted me to surf through some of my old blogs. I stumbled across this one, “Qualities of a Godly Man,” written almost exactly a year before. I chuckled to myself. What did younger Annabelle think of her future person? Was she accurate?
As I read through my old blog, I was shocked. Every sentence, although mostly general, described Nathan to a tee. It was like before I was describing a faceless ideal, and now my description had a face – and he was real.
My eyes brimmed with tears as I read through my year-old words. If you only knew Annabelle. If you only knew.
Looking back at my old thoughts on what makes a godly man, it made me think about how I knew Nathan was “the one.”
I hear it from couples all the time: “When you know you know.” I hated that response, because I didn’t know what “knowing” felt like, and it seemed like a pretty dumb concept to me.
Now on the other side of this, I understand what couples mean when they say “when you know you know.”
But there were also a lot of tangible signs along the way that told me Nathan was the man God wanted me to marry.
Before I begin though, I want to preface: the real reason why couples say “when you know you know” is because the whole process is impossible to generalize, standardize, or truly explain.
One person’s story cannot apply perfectly to another. God’s a better storyteller than that;). And today, I’m simply speaking out of my own experience, the only experience I have to share.
These signs are not universal, and should be read with a grain of salt. This isn’t a blog about “how to know you’ve found ‘the one’.” It’s a blog about “how Annabelle knew Nathan was ‘the one’.” There’s a big difference.
Another thing worth mentioning: “the one” doesn’t exist until you’re actually married. If there was only “one” in the whole world you were destined to marry, you wouldn’t have a choice in who you spend the rest of your life with (which is why I believe God designed us to be compatible with several people, allowing us to choose as we go).
But once you’re married, that person truly is “the one.” There’s no other option at that point. You’ve made your decision. Hopefully that makes sense?
If you’re single, I don’t want you to be locked into the idea that God has one person destined for you and it’s your job to find them. God will bring people into your life in his timing, and you still have the power to choose.
So with that cleared up, let’s dive in. This is how I knew Nathan was “the one.”
1. Peace that Passes Understanding
I believe this is #1 on the list. If you’re with the right person, God will affirm with a peace that passes understanding, it’s crazy.
After our first date, both Nathan and I remember driving home with a sense of peace we’d never experienced before. In all our previous relationships, they’d been coupled with a sense of confusion, uncertainty, and mild stress at the beginning. In fact, we’d experienced that unease so often we thought it was normal – every relationship starts off with anxiety, right?
The truth is (at least in our case), starting a relationship with those feelings is never a good sign. And with Nathan and I, there was no stress, no anxiety, no confusion. Just this indescribable, gentle, Abba-stamped peace.
2. Confirmation Through Jesus
I talked with Jesus a lot. And I learned a prayer about 2 years ago that has majorly helped me with relationships. It goes something like this:
“God, if this is the person you want me to marry, keep opening the door for this to continue. But if this is not the person you want me to marry, I don’t want to waste time. Close the door quickly. Make it clear you want me somewhere else.”
That is a scary prayer, let me tell you 😂 Because God takes it seriously.
I’ve prayed this prayer over several different relationships. And without fail, every time I prayed it, within the next week we had broken up.
So to say I was nervous praying this over Nathan at the beginning is an understatement hahaha. I was like, “aw man, this guy is so cute and amazing and I don’t want to lose him too.” But I didn’t lose him. This time, God responded differently – he showed me little signs I was on the right track. A deep conversation, finding out we had yet another thing in common, a sweet moment shared.
I prayed this prayer for 5 months, from the very beginning of dating Nathan to nearly the end. Every time I prayed it, God kept opening doors.
3. Stronger Attraction
I thought I knew what physical attraction felt like before I met Nathan, but I did not. The attraction I feel with Nathan is so much stronger – like, I genuinely think he’s the most good-looking guy alive.
In my previous relationships, I always felt a mild “yeah, he’s cute” vibe. But I get butterflies in my stomach around Nathan. I could look into his eyes for hours (no exaggeration).
In previous relationships, I used to think I just wasn’t into physical touch. To be honest, I never really wanted to kiss or hold hands or any of that gross lovey stuff.
I thought it was normal, especially for girls, to have physical touch at the bottom of their love languages.
The truth is, physical touch is a huge love language for me – with the right person. I was always worried about not being able to love my future husband well because I wasn’t into physical touch, but it’s not even a problem with Nathan.
Seeing physical touch as a love language become important for me was a huge sign I was with the right person.
4. Fighting Temptation Together
On the flip side of attraction, there’s also temptation. I’ve never wrestled with temptation so much in any other relationship.
But we truly wrestled through it together. We supported each other’s convictions and searched together when we were confused. We talked with God about it constantly.
Even when we weren’t on the same page, we talked about it and came to a unified conclusion. Neither one of us felt like they were dragging the other up to righteousness or conviction. We supported one another and did what we believed God thought was best, even if it sucked.
It was comforting knowing Nathan supported my convictions, and would follow through with what we thought was wisest. There were times we set difficult boundaries. He never complained about them, blamed them on me, or pushed them. I felt safe with him.
5. And Him… Duh
I have a hard time putting into words all the things I admire about Nathan, there are so many.
Obviously, this is individual to each person. But so many little things tipped me off along the way that this was the kind of person I want to spend the rest of my life with.
To name a few:
- He works incredibly hard to get better every day. He pushes himself at work, at home, in his mind, body, and spirit, and with his relationships. I know he won’t slip into complacency easily.
- He cared about the little things. He always made sure I got home safe, always picked up trash when he saw it, always got me a glass of water at his parent’s home, always asked me how my day was. A man who is caring in the details will be caring in the big things, too.
- He is forgiving to those around him, and apologetic when he makes a mistake. He offered grace (and I often needed it), and admitted when he was wrong. His humility is remarkable.
- He wanted to have fun with me! He wasn’t afraid to try new things, and didn’t take himself too seriously. He could laugh at himself and be silly.
- He is always honest. He’s vulnerable with how he’s feeling, genuine with his emotions, and honest when something needs to be said. His word is trustworthy, and he doesn’t avoid conflict. I know I can trust him to share if something is bothering him so we can work through it together. He doesn’t hide.
- He is gentle. Self-controlled. Generous. Sweet. Patient. Strong. Diligent. Selfless. I could go on and on…
The point is, when you think about your person, you should be overwhelmed with gratitude for who they are, flaws and all.
I noticed all these qualities of Nathan as we were dating because I paid attention. I listened to how he talked with his parents, watched how he kept his room clean, listened to how he talked about work, paid attention to how he talked about God.
I kept my standards fresh in mind when I spent time with him. And here’s the thing: Nathan didn’t just reach the standards I held, but soared above them. He made no compromises to my core standards. He exceeded them.
That day, laying on my bedroom floor, I never felt more ready to say “yes.”
Ultimately, you can pay attention to all the signs, which has value and purpose. But what truly told me Nathan was “the one”? Being in relationship with THE One first.
The closer I get to the Father’s heart, the better I see what a loving man looks like, and how I can learn to love better myself.
It was never about “the one.” All this time, I wasn’t preparing to get married. That wasn’t my end goal.
My goal was always a relationship with Jesus. Just being with him. Trusting him. Talking with him.
God brought Nathan and I together along the way, but the focus was always the same. The God was always the same. Be with Abba, just be with him, and God will take care of the rest. God alone creates the circumstances that will prompt you to say, when you know you know;).
Happy last day of 2022!! Jesus loves you, fam. 2023 is about to be dope 😎