“With the sun setting over the beautiful Texas hill country, Zack got down on one knee and asked me to become his wife. As a gorgeous diamond ring sparkled in front of me, I looked into his brown eyes and couldn’t imagine spending my life with anyone else. With tears of joy streaming down my face, I emphatically said, “Yes!” After a big hug, Zack put the ring on my finger and we just stood there soaking in this incredible moment.
I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that Zack Clark was the man I wanted to marry. He was the man I had been praying for since I was fourteen. He was the man I wanted to spend my life serving God with.” -Excerpt taken from Love Defined.
How Did I Know Zack Was “The One.”
In part one of this post, I shared the beginning stages of my friendship and relationship with Zack and what that process of dating looking like for us. If you missed it, take a moment to go read it here, then come back. In that post, I ended at a crucial point in my story. Zack and I had built an intentional friendship, we had asked tons of good questions, we sought outside counsel, we then entered into a serious relationship, we began asking even deeper questions of one another, we continued seeking wise counsel and praying — and then, there we were. Ready to decide whether or not we should get married.
Since this was a life-altering decision for both of us, we didn’t want to treat it casually.
I remember laying in my bed one with my mind swirling with thoughts about Zack and my our potential future together. As I thought about Zack’s character, I knew he was a man of integrity and godly maturity. As I thought about his relationship with God, I knew he was a man who sincerely loved Jesus personally and wanted to be the spiritual leader for his future family. As I thought about his worldview and personal morals, I knew he was a man who firmly believed in the authority of the Bible and who earnestly pursued purity in his life.
I thought. And thought. And thought. And then I smiled. Zack Clark was amazing.
Why wouldn’t I want to spend the rest of my life with this guy?!
I’m often asked the question, “How did you know Zack was the one?” This is a good question to ask, but I think we often complicate it more than we need to. “Although this popular question seems mysterious and complex, it’s really not. It’s much simpler than we make it out to be. The process of discovering if a man is the one is just that—a process. You won’t know right away. In fact, you won’t know until you’ve spent a good amount of time getting to know him.” —Love Defined,
Discerning the one isn’t a magical and mysterious search to find your “soulmate.” It’s not even about finding Mr. Perfectly-fits-you-in-every-way. It’s about getting to know the heart of man, and then ultimately deciding if you want to spend the rest of your life loving him.
Infatuation fades. Butterflies fade. Good looks fade. Feelings fade. But character lasts. Godliness matures. Friendship deepens. In the end, finding the one is about committing your life to another person until death do you part. It’s about choosing to live your entire life with one guy as your closest teammate.
It’s about choosing to selflessly love someone for a very, very long time.
I came to this point with Zack. I was ready and joyfully willing to commit my life to him. And Zack came to that same point for me. That’s how we knew we wanted to get married. That’s how we knew we were “the ones” for each other.
Now that I’m almost 7 years into my marriage with Zack, I am so grateful that we didn’t marry each other based on infatuation and emotions. I am so grateful that we took time to get to know one another, and made the choice to commit our lives to each other. This has been especially helpful as we’ve discovered that marriage isn’t a piece of cake.
When two sinners live day-in and day-out with one another, selfishness happens. Pride kicks in. Loving each other is challenging when you’re tired, hungry, self-focused, and just want your way. You plain don’t feel like loving them. That’s why being firmly committed to one another is crucial. Choosing to love when you don’t feel like it is essential for working through hard moments.
What I Learned During My First Year of Marriage.
I still love Zack like crazy. He is my best friend and I’m always anxious to spend more time with him. But early on, I discovered that I needed him too much. Here’s what I mean. I desired Zack’s security and required his affirmation to an unbiblical extent. Rather than looking to my relationship with Christ for total satisfaction, I would try to find it in Zack. Rather than taking my problems to Christ first in prayer, I would run to Zack’s arms. Rather than expressing my fears to God, I would worry and complain to Zack.
This put immense pressure on Zack. I was looking to him for things that only Christ can fill. Zack wasn’t created to carry that burden.
Thankfully, after a while of this, Zack graciously (and very sweetly) helped me to see that I was looking to him to be my Savior, and not to Christ. This realization was extremely eye-opening and freeing for me. I didn’t instantly transform, but my heart was changing.
My longings were turning back towards Christ.
As Psalm 42:1-2a says, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”
As a deer pants for water, my soul was finally panting after the right God. This instantly changed our marriage for the better.
As you think about your potential future marriage (or if you’re already married), I can’t encourage you enough to place your hope in God. Even now, be intentional to find your satisfaction, identity, and fulfillment in your relationship with Jesus Christ. No man, no matter how cute he is, can meet the deepest longings of your heart like Jesus can. We were created for intimacy with our Savior. That is how we thrive.
My love story with Zack is just a snippet of God’s grace in my life.
God has used both singleness and marriage to reveal my need for Him. I am so grateful for that.
As God writes your love story, I want to encourage you with the same words I wrote in Love Defined, “Always put your hope in God above ￼anything else. Find your full satisfaction in Christ alone. Before you commit your heart to one man, make sure your heart is fully devoted to the Man. By keeping Christ at the center of your heart and wisely marrying a man of godly character, you will lay a strong foundation for glorifying God in your marriage.
I hope you’ll grab a copy of our new book Love Defined: Embracing God’s Vision for Lasting Love and Satisfying Relationships. If you preorder by April 30th, you’ll get an entire package of free bonuses too (which includes the full audiobook and coloring book).
I’d love to hear from you below!
- After reading this post, has your perspective changed about how to “find the one?”
- In what ways do you need to pursue a deeper relationship with Christ instead of looking to guys/marriage for your satisfaction?