God is longing to write your love story. Will you pass God the pen?
This is my story of how God shaped my idea of dating and marriage.
Since I came to believe in Jesus in early 2010, my life started taking on a whole new direction. I was a single Christian and enjoyed the freedom and flexibility of being single. To me, the thought of being with another person was not attractive at all, and at times I even reasoned that I could serve God better as a single person.
I first met Andrea when she came to our bible study care group back in late 2010. I thought she was attractive, but didn’t think any further than that. Over time, we got to know each other a little better but were never close and never saw each other alone or outside of a group.
As much as I tried to shrug off the “initial” attraction to Andrea, I couldn’t, and I soon found myself still attracted to her after over a year. At that point, I actually prayed on several occasions for God to take away those feelings as I was actively involved in various ministries and took delight in being able to spend my time freely doing whatever I liked. I wanted to remain single because I never saw anything good about being in a relationship.
A brother of mine was engaged to Andrea’s sister in 2011 and shared with me his joy and excitement about anticipating marriage. I just listened to him – not sure what to think but every time he mentioned marriage, I always thought about Andrea. It was weird and I tried to shrug it off.
One day, a thought came to mind, “What if God didn’t want me to be single?” – that thought scared me a little as I had maintained a comfortable routine and way of life. There was stability and security, I felt more in control, and the thought of having to be with someone put a completely new spin to the comfort of familiarity. I wanted to wrestle with God on this point, but finally gave in by praying that if He really did want me to be with Andrea, then He had to give me signs and confirmation, otherwise, I would continue living single. The next morning after I had prayed that prayer, I received an email from my care group leader saying:
“Hey Bro, we probably wont be having dinner la. Just you and Andrea….”
In all the one and a half years of care group there was never a time when dinner was not required and now only Andrea and I had signed up for dinner. I was reminded about my prayer the night before, but I quickly dismissed it as a sign from God because it felt so sudden and impossible. I even put my hands over my eyes and said out loud, “This is not happening God, it is just a coincidence”. As I lifted my hands from my eyes, I caught a glimpse of some scripture written on a cross which was given to me by a friend several months ago – the words I caught hold of at the corner of my eye happened to be in bold print compared to the rest of scripture and it said “this is a gift from God”. I stared at the cross for a long time, feeling a little surreal and not knowing what to think. I just kept quiet and didn’t want to think anymore.
A few months went by, I had ignored the signs but I still felt drawn to Andrea yet not convinced that a relationship was in God’s mind for me. Then another thought came to mind “Why did you ignore the signs? Do you really believe the signs were a coincidence or from God?”. I felt a little convicted and had the urge to pray about it seriously one more time.
I told God, he knew me through and through (all my faults, limitations and past), that I trusted Him and only wanted to bring Him glory through my life and I would listen to Him the next time, if He were to point to Andrea again. Nothing happened for the next month or so. I was a little confused. So I prayed again to God, apologising to Him if I had ignored His voice earlier and asked if He would tell me one last time, yes or no, so that I might finally put the matter to rest. He did.
In February 2012, I remember one of the leaders at our church prayed for me at a Christian conference. I was expecting some kind of wisdom or powerful life changing words, but all he said was that he felt that I would start dating in March or April of 2012.
At around the same time, I was involved with the Alpha course at church and was invited to share my testimony with the guests one night. Andrea was not involved with Alpha at the time, but had heard through some mutual friends that I would be giving my testimony that evening and asked me if she could also come to listen. It almost seemed like God was arranging for Andrea to listen and know me better and for me to open myself up to her.
Shortly after, I stumbled across an online Christian article that caught my attention because of the provocative title “Stop Test Driving Your Girlfriend!”. The article spoke right into my heart. It talked about how guys often ask, is she the “right” one for them, rather than asking if they are the right ones for her. I realised that though I did want to trust God, there was another reason why I didn’t want to date, it was because I feared that we might realise later it was a mistake just like many others who ended up in a divorce. The article also spoke about marriage being the reflection of the gospel, of a man learning to love someone like the way Jesus would. Not looking to love only when times were sweet, but also in times of difficulties and especially when we “don’t feel like it” or think it was a mistake to marry that person. I realised the act of loving someone was a choice, just like how God chose to lay His life down for us, I had to choose to love. This shattered my fear of finding the “right” one, because I knew that it was not so much of Andrea being “right” for me, as it was about me being “right” for her and choosing to love her with all that I have, sacrificially, like Jesus which was not conditional upon anything good that she would do or not do. I felt God was asking if I would love someone radically like the way He showed his commitment to give His life for me. I felt an almost immediate excitement, freedom and courage that came with that thought. It shattered my fears and gave me a freedom to love, a freedom to go after the person whom I would choose to lay down my life for, not just physically, but also in terms of my pride, my self-centeredness, my own ambitions, in order to live out a reflection of the gospel in our marriage. God totally changed my view about marriage. A marriage based on the gospel was radically different from a marriage based on Hollywood and romanticism.
I decided to ask Andrea out the next week. I was so nervous I had apparently told her that I wanted to marry her on the same night. Good thing it didn’t scare her away and she actually said yes (to dating at the time, not yet marriage). We were both thrilled beyond words. She told me she had feelings for me since we met but didn’t notice any interest on my side. She then told me about a prophecy she received from two Christian leaders at her sister’s wedding in 2011 (which I also attended) that someone in the ballroom was her future husband and one of them even indicated it was me and that we would be together in March 2012 (it was 22 March 2012 when I asked her out, and I didn’t know anything about these prophecies). She refused to believe it at the time because she didn’t see any chance and didn’t want her heart to be broken. Then I suddenly remembered the prophecy I had received back in February 2012 that I would start dating in March or April and I shared that with her too. We were a little awe struck at that point as we discovered God’s finger-prints were all over the events leading up to that evening. I am still in awe.
Six months later, we got engaged (yes, she eventually said yes) and we’re due to be married this year in 2013. When we first started dating, we really didn’t know what to expect, we didn’t really know each other either. But we knew that we were committed to a gospel marriage (yes, even at the start!) and that commitment became the foundation on which I came to fall completely head over heels for Andrea over time. The world tells us we must be head over heels for someone before we know if he or she is the one, but I believe that a relationship built on the gospel is what will cause you to continually grow in love with the person.
Check here to read Andrea’s side of the love story!
在2011年，我有位弟兄跟Andrea的姐姐訂了婚，他跟我分享這婚事為他帶來的喜樂和興奮。我聽著聽著 － 不是太知道應該想什麼，但每當他提及婚姻的時候，我總是想起Andrea，很奇怪，我嘗試不想它、不小題大作。
Image credit: flickr.com/from_linda_yvonne