Ok, we’ve all heard the, “I just knew” line when asking someone how they knew they found the person they were going to marry, and if you’re single, you’ve probably spent some time wondering what in the world that could mean. So I’m going to try to put it into words here. I’m sure it might be different for everyone, so if you are married I’d love to hear your feedback on if your experience was similar.
Now Travis and I “knew” pretty early on. I’m sure that not everyone knows as early as we did, and in some ways, knowing that early freaked us out a little.
This is what it boiled down to for me:
First things first, I had a list of what I was looking for, everyone does whether they admit it or not. My list was not written down by any means, just some things I knew I had to have. Here are some of the major ones:
- Loves God and loves people. Travis does this better than anyone I know.
- Has a heart and life mission for ministry. I knew based on how God has captured me, and wired me that I had to have this in someone. (Amos 3:3 – Can two people walk together, without agreeing on the direction?) This didn’t necessarily mean full-time vocational ministry, but it did mean intentionally living a life that’s about serving and ministering. Travis lives and breathes this, it is his heartbeat in so many ways, and he does it with authenticity. He’s not so concerned about what his “job” is, although right now it is ministry, he’s concerned about living a life that matters.
- A great question I’d ask myself is, if I had a child that grew up to be like ______ (the person I was dating) would I be okay with it? A big YES on this one – I’d love it. Essentially this boils down to good character.
- Shared sense of humor
- Similar ways of handling money
- Could fight fairly, and wasn’t opposed to the idea of counseling should our marriage or one of us ever need it.
- Spiritual Leader
I’m sure that’s not it, but those are the big ones.
Obviously Travis had these things, but that’s not how I knew. In reality checking off the list only gets us so far, and quite honestly finding someone who meets the things on our list is in some ways the easy part. For me how I “knew”, had a lot more to do with how comfortable I was in the relationship and with Travis, and I think they have to do with a confidence in how I knew he felt about me. It was things like this:
- I could/can easily tell him anything I was thinking/feeling/wanting/needing, etc. etc. It wasn’t effort at all. I never had to gear myself up to talk to him about something difficult, even the difficult conversations happened naturally.
- I’ve really never wondered how he felt about me, never felt the need to have a DTR, cause he always made it so obvious. He was the first one to want to tell people about me and our relationship. I don’t sit around and think, oh I wish he would do xyz (bring me flowers, give me a card, cuddle, or whatever) for me, then I’d feel good about things. He did all those things, and didn’t leave me wanting, and I know that if there ever is something I want from him, I just have to ask, and he’ll do it gladly.
- There was a sense I had/have that I couldn’t possibly screw things up. That it would take something completely out of character for me to make him question things, stop or slow down the relationship. There was no fear on my part of being too needy with him, and I think that’s a two way street. It comes from me being grounded in Christ, knowing and putting my hope in God as the one who meets my needs, and not having unrealistic expectations of Travis. Travis in turn isn’t overwhelmed with an “I can’t possibly be enough” feeling, and therefore is ready and able to be God’s way of meeting my emotional needs when I have them, even when I’m being overly sensitive or emotional. At the same time, Travis isn’t afraid of loving in a sacrificial way – I mean come on, the boy gave up his iPhone for me! Now that is L-O-V-E!
- I can and do accept Travis for who he is right now and I know he does the same for me. I don’t need him or have expectations of him changing. I think this is a big part of the “knowing”. Finding someone that you are genuinely that comfortable with. Even with the other guys I dated, there was kind of always that one thing, that I’d think, I would really need for this to change for things to work out.
Now, I’m not saying either one of us is perfect, we are both definitely not! There are things about the other that frustrate us at times, we’ve had fights, and I’m sure we’ll have more, but we are both comfortable with who the other person is, and what they struggle with. For me it wasn’t about finding someone with no struggles, it was about finding someone who could admit to the imperfections they did have, and was actively pursuing Christ, and sanctification, and willing to grow and change as Christ lead them. I also accept him for who he is right now, not who I want him to be, or think he will be.
Again, I realize this looks different for everybody. And I don’t think that “knowing” like this happens for everyone as quickly as it has happened for Travis and I. These are just my own thoughts and experiences for what it’s worth to anyone else.