the beauty of not Knowing.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard anyone say something to the effect of the following:

“I just knew so-and-so was The One after only {X amount of} dates!”

XXL 3d render of a cartoon character thinking about a solution.Not long after I graduated from college, I heard those phrases all. the. time. People would frequently tell me, “I knew my wife was the one I’d marry after six weeks!” or, “I knew the moment I saw him that he was the man I’d marry! I was right!” These happy statements were, of course, followed by cutesy glances and endless giggles as the couple instantly runs down their memory lane back to that moment when they just “knew”. That is all well and fine for those people, but those phrases always rubbed me the wrong way (and they still do, for the record). What they imply is that if you don’t know as soon as they knew, then your relationship is a failure, it isn’t as love-filled, and/or it won’t work out in the end. Their tales of happily ever afters and knowing the first second they laid eyes on their mates made me wonder about the guys I’d date. If I didn’t “know” after two dates, was I doing something wrong? Did I need to end it? Wouldn’t I just magically know? If I didn’t know, was that lack of knowledge my answer? Furthermore, did these people ever “know” before (with someone they didn’t end up marrying) and just hide that, or did they really know?

Time has taught me that everyone’s story is different. I know that sounds like something we should know, but we often forget that. We have a tendency to hear someone’s story (especially when it comes to love stories) and think that our story should be like theirs. If I’m being really honest I dated someone that I could have sworn up and down (and in fact, I did swear up and down) was “the one”. I would have told you that I knew after only a few days. Then it ended. My “knowing” was all wrong. In the wake of the end of that relationship I figured out that maybe we don’t all know. Maybe we think we do, but we can be wrong. It was then that I decided it might be better not to know, or perhaps not to “know” quite so quickly.

You see, this not knowing opens us up to God’s will and God’s direction for our lives. When I thought I “knew” who my future husband was, I simply stopped discerning a relationship with him. I set myself on a future with him, wrote his last name with mine on all of my notebooks during staff meetings, and dreamed about the future without bothering to ask God if this really was His will. I also realized that if I stopped worrying so much about knowing or not knowing I could enjoy dates and getting to know someone without having to rush to find that “knowing” feeling. So what if that seemingly perfect, this-one-is-it-for-me clarity wasn’t there after a few dates? Love takes time to grow and it takes time to know. Maybe when my real future husband comes along I’ll know and you’ll hear me tell that tale some day, but maybe not. Maybe he’ll come along slowly, we’ll get to know each other, fall in love, and live happily ever after, without ever being that couple who brags about how quickly they knew. The truth of that matter is that we’ll know when God is ready for us to know, whether it is after two dates or two years. If we’ve got the rest of our lives to spend together, what’s the rush anyway?

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