It’s interesting, deciding the person you’ll marry. Many people, myself included during my teen years, get caught up trying to find “the one”.
I heard people suggest making lists of what you’re looking for in a partner. If you find someone who meets a certain percentage of those characteristics, say yes.
I’m so glad I never made a list. It would’ve included things like “must be musical” and “has good feet”.
When I met Mark, a guy who doesn’t have a lick of musical ability and showed me his knobby toes on one of our earliest dates, I liked the guy a little more for it.
I didn’t know if he was “the one”. I’m not even sure I believe in “the one”. But I knew I liked him. I knew I was comfortable with both him and his driving (definitely would’ve been on the list), and I knew that though our beliefs were somewhat different, our moral compasses and values were the same.
Mark was right next to me when I got the call that my dad was killed in a car crash. There’s something to be said for a guy who drives to your house in the middle of the night because you can’t stop sobbing and don’t want to be alone.
I was right next to Mark when he got the call that his dad didn’t have much time left. We booked a flight and made it to his dad’s New York bedside within hours of his last breath. There’s something to be said for a guy who’ll let you say a final prayer over his father.
Mark and I are very different people. We’re almost exactly ten and half years apart in age. I’m very black and white, he operates in gray scales. He’s laid back and messy. I’m uptight and fastidious. He likes to get to airports in time to board the flight; I like an hour buffer. I love rules; he loves breaking them.
When he proposed on a beach in Hawaii, I wasn’t sure if he was serious. He pulled the ring box out of his pocket and couldn’t figure out which end opened. Consequently, he pulled the box apart.
He looked at both ends of the box – one in each hand – to see which held the ring, and extended his arm to show it to me.
“Will you marry me?”
“Really?” He’s not kneeling and his friend is a few yards away and if I say yes and he’s kidding I’ll look like a fool!
“Seriously?” I think he’s actually serious.
“Okay. Well yes.”
Are we hopelessly romantic or what?
While one part of me debated whether Mark was serious, another part checked in with my gut to make sure I gave an honest answer.
I wanted to say yes, but I also wanted to make sure that my logical mind (it’s a no brainer Jamie) and my feeling heart (I like this guy!) weren’t outshouting my gut.
I trust my gut instinct – that little voice within – as much as I trust God. I believe it is an extension of God. So before saying yes to Mark, I checked in and asked, Are you sure?
The response – more of a feeling than words – was a simple, definite “yes”. I asked a second time – Are you sure? – to be certain I heard correctly.
Less than seven months after the proposal, we stood on the ninth hole of a golf course getting married.
My nerves caught me off guard. My trembling legs caused my heels to sink deeper into the grass. The occasion felt serious. Enormous. Life changing. In front of all our guests, as my childhood pastor recited a marital message, I checked in with my gut.
Are you sure? You don’t have to do this. There’s still time to walk away. It’ll suck. It’ll be awkward and uncomfortable, but I can do it. Are you sure?
That feeling of a response was once again simple and definite. “Yes.”
We’re six years in. On the one hand, it doesn’t seem possible that that much time has passed. On the other hand, it seems like an under-representation of what we’ve experienced together.
There’s something to be said for a guy who remains by your shoulders during an emergency cesarean whispering encouragements to you even though he’s equally terrified that the baby won’t make it.
There’s something to be said for a guy who’ll take over infant and toddler and kid duty so you can take some time to do whatever you want, including retreat to the bedroom for an evening or leave for the weekend.
There’s something to be said for a guy who stays by your side through secondary infertility, willing to go to extremes to have another, if that’s what you want. Willing to go to extremes for the pain to cease, if that’s what you want. Willing to say, “Whatever you want,” and then following through.
There are things I couldn’t have known of him when I said “I do” or when we stood on a Hawaiian beach or when we compared feet not long after knowing each other.
I never would’ve known to include qualities like dependability, loyalty, or trustworthiness on a list as a teenager.
But I know now. I know that I love this man more than ever before. I know that if I had to go back and do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Is Mark “the one”? I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. It’s not the right question to ask.
For me, the question is “Are you sure?” And when I check in with my gut? The answer remains.