What If God Told You Who You're Going to Marry?
Growing up in a Slavic community, I was raised on a steady diet of stories of miracles and God-written love stories. Our ancestors grew up in the Soviet Union, persecuted for their beliefs; gathering at night to pray - blocking windows with pillows so the neighbors wouldn't hear their prayers and call the KGB; and seeing their fathers, spouses, and pastors shipped off to Siberian work camps. Safe to say, dating or finding a Christian man to marry was truly a miracle. I've heard dozens of stories of women (and men!) praying and fasting for a spouse and then praying for God opening to them or the other person who they should marry - and God did.
It happened to my dad. He knew of my mom but had never spoken to her - they went to the same church and had friends in common. But as he prayed for a wife, God showed Him through prophecies and signs that my mom was to be his wife (i.e.,, if she shows up at this bus stop at this exact time, then it's meant to be...and that worked). He wasn't attracted to her, he didn't know her, she wasn't his "type," and he already had his eye on someone else. But he obeyed and 27 years and 10 kids together later, they are still incredibly in love and so blessed.
Now, don't we all want something like that? At least the part where God shows us exactly who we'll marry? Let's be honest - all of us girls have had the thought God was pointing us to person X, Y, or Z as "the one."
I had one of those experiences once (or twice!). It's like the stars aligned, and I got it in my head that this guy was the one for me. He wasn't my type and I never even looked at him that way, but then there was this dream and a whole lot of other signs and here I was - I thought he was the one but he seemed not to know I even existed; and I believe the man should pursue the woman, so what do you do then?
What is a girl to do when she has her eye on a guy, but he doesn't know she exists and she believes the Biblical approach is for the man to pursue the woman?
Pray, pray, pray and pray some more.
Because God knows. God knows your story and his story. He has chosen someone for you to marry and if you choose the same person He designated for you, then your life will be blessed. When I was in this season, my prayer went something like this:
"God, you see my heart and the feelings that are growing in my heart for a man that I don't know, don't have any interest in or haven't even considered in this way. If these feelings are from you, may they continue to grow and may you give him courage and wisdom to pursue me when you deem the timing to be right. Lord, work in His heart and if your intention is for us to be together, I trust you to work in his heart and to take the lead. Help me to wait patiently until then. If these feelings are misguided and not from you, then may these feelings fade away and send this man the wife that you designated for him."
And so God did. These feelings of infatuation lasted for only a short while, and as I prayed, I felt the answer deeply and clearly in my soul: he was not mine. But even knowing this, it was still hard to just ignore the "signs" and the feelings, but as I continued to pray for strength to live out God's will, the feelings faded like there was nothing ever there.
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. -James 4:3 (ESV)
Note that this type of prayer is a prayer for God's will to be done - not yours. If you pray persistently enough for a certain guy - even if he is not in God's will for you life, God may allow you to marry him because our God is a God of free will. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Pray to grow spiritually and for God to prepare you to be a Godly wife to the man God has chosen for you. Pray for your future husband, whoever He may be. You may even pray that God will open to you exactly who your husband will be - and He may. But always pray for His will be to be done above your own. And then be obedient to that will.
O My Father...nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will. -Matthew 26:39 (ESV)
Even Jesus, the son of God, prayed in Gethsemane - making His specific requests known to God, but always ending with "Your will be done."
Be friendly, open and available, but do not take matters into your own hands.
This is hard for me. I'm a go-getter. When I want something or need it, I work hard for it and make it happen. But since the Bible indicates the man should pursue the woman (more on this some time later!), my hands felt tied. I would reply when he messaged me, but I didn't initiate a conversation. Something always held me back and for that I am grateful because once I did get the clear answer from God that this guy was not for me, I didn't have any regrets about opening up to a man that (a) was not my husband and (b) in God's eyes, was someone else's husband.
I've had several young women write to me asking for advice on this exact topic. She had grown close to a guy at church and then that friendship turned into infatuation for her; or she spotted the most Godly guy at church and God told her he's the one but he doesn't know she exists. So, of course, we as women want to take matters into our own hands and get his attention.
On the other hand, I know several Godly men - married and unmarried - and each one can testify to the fact that multiple women have approached him or his sisters to tell them God told each of the girls that he is supposed to marry her. Every single one of those women couldn't have been correct - otherwise each man would have multiple wives at this point. :)
If God showed you this guy is the one, then He can and will also show the guy the same thing, including giving him the desire to pursue you. Because that's how God designed it to be.
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever he will. -Proverbs 21:1 (ESV)
Now, I won't tell you to never tell a guy that he is God's chosen one for you or not to ever initiate a conversation with a single guy (friendly > flirty). Because that would limit God and all the different love stories He writes (and I have heard of a few stories where God told the young woman first before he told the guy, but even in those stories, the guy always did the pursuing in the end!).
A Godly man will always choose to pursue a woman, and only the woman God tells him to pursue. This will set the tone for your marriage with your husband as the head of your household.
Girls, there are many ways we can let guys know we're interested and available without throwing ourselves at them (our Proverbs 7 devotional covers some of the ways we can use our feminine wiles in a negative way). There is great power in a friendly smile, five second eye contact (the eyes are the windows to the soul!), a listening ear or an encouraging compliment/word. But use these "tools" wisely and only if you're certain your feelings towards the man are God-inspired, and not lust, infatuation, a confidence booster, or entertainment for yourself or your friends. And please, pretty please, don't use these tactics on every single guy in your path (ideally, you should only be this way towards one man!). And really, God can write a love story without our subtle (or not so subtle!) manipulation.
So, how do you know if God is telling you that guy is The One?
Trust your love story to the One who wrote it. His words never fail, and His plans are so much better than ours. Yes, God may tell you clearly who to marry or it may be just a dream, infatuation or lust. The only way you'll know for sure is by having a close relationship with the Lord so you know when it's Him speaking and when it is your own desire.
Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! -Psalm 31:19 (ESV)
I'll be honest, a few years ago, I wouldn't have heard God's answer clearly and lived with the infatuation and lust in my heart until the guy eventually chose someone else and I was left heartbroken. But these last four years as my relationship with the Lord grew stronger and more intimate, I learned to hear and understand His voice. Because He and I talk daily - through prayer, Bible study and even in my thoughts. I learned to seek His advice first before getting my feelings involved or making any big decisions.
My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. -John 10:27
So, work on that. Seek Him first. Glorify His name in your life. Get to know your Savior and learn to hear His voice. Pray your future husband is doing the same thing. Pray when the time comes, each one of you will clearly hear His voice and be obedient in choosing each other.
Because girl, you are already loved - unconditionally by an amazing God. One day, He will put a portion of that love for you into the heart of a man. Just like Christ pursued the church, this man of God will pursue your heart with godliness and intention. Don't settle. Wait on God. Because no one who waits for Him shall be put to shame (Psalm 25:3).
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a [wo]man that [s]he bear the yoke in [her] youth. Let [her] sit alone in silence when it is laid on [her]; let [her] put [her] mouth in the dust—there may yet be hope...For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men. -Lamentations 3:25-33
In conclusion, trust but verify. Run after God with all your might and if one day He points out a man to you, pray for wisdom and discernment. And then pray some more until the answer is clear to you and to the man in question. Give the man the opportunity to pursue you - even if it takes years, and if it's from God, wait on the love story to unfold. If not, keep waiting, because the one God chose is always the right choice.