What is it about Whitney Houston’s songs? As a youngster I remember cruising our suburban streets in my father’s convertible jamming out to her pop-jam melodies, the passionate lyrics serving to preview the fervent emotion of upcoming love relationships. She wanted to know If he really loved her.
There’s an intensity emanating from this song. A prayer with every heartbeat. Feeling weak and having difficulty speaking. Wondering if he really cares for her to the point of shaking with anticipation. Her emphatic plea to share what you know about “these things” resonates with our deep need to understand our commitment level in real-time. Whitney sang from an earlier point in the relationship, but the refrain rings home. We need discernment to make decisions.
When I first started working I remember co-workers telling me that the first time she went on a date with her husband, “she just knew.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all received that type of clarity?
So how do you know?
Dating involves a series of progressive checkpoints where each individual has the option to consent to increasing levels of commitment and exclusivity. Therefore, a major component of marriage pursuit is timely decision making. Wise determinations are integral in securing a life long relationship so active synchronization of your expectations and evaluation of your significant other is vital.
A male friend recently asked whether he should proceed to next level with the woman he’s been pursuing. He sought confident assurance that he was on the right track with the woman he’d been in relationship with for a few months. Here are some evaluative questions for everyone preparing for this juncture:
- Do you thirst to be around this person?
Is there a pull, a palpable current drawing you together? Marriage bound men and women unconsciously seek to be together. They like being in each other’s presence (within healthy bounds, people) and look forward to the next time they are able to be together. They sense the mysterious hand guiding them together, and generally override opposing currents. Bottom line, you should yearn to integrate this person in your life and have a sense of destiny. If you find yourself angling for solitude as a regular practice, or find getting together becoming a grind then you may have the answer you’ve been looking for.
- Do you trust them?
We’re talking about granting someone the most intense human access to you. Your time, resources, energy, body, heart. They will have prime influence over your children. Therefore, it is exceedingly wise to ask yourself, “Do I trust this person to lovingly and permanently guard the well-being of myself and my children.” Have they been upfront with you, confessed transgression and given you plenty of positive reason to have full faith in them? If this question gives you pause then your relationship needs much more time to clarify. It may need to end!
- Do they have the character that you envision for your life companion?
As a whole do you see character and spiritual flourishing indicative of a man or woman who you would be proud to call your spouse? This doesn’t mean unleash a litany of faults and grievances. The art here is to gauge their internal fortitude, emotional intelligence and project future patterns. What do you foresee? Is the heart foundation in place for you to be confident in their continuing growth. Do they burn inside when they transgress? Are they respected by peers and associates and regarded as someone who reflects the fruits of the spirit?
- Would they make an excellent mother or father?
You’re looking to fill two massive positions with one person here. One key to making the critical decision is to factor parenthood into the equation. Will they willingly talk about intentions for children? These roles are far to serious and significant to not be discussed by mature adults. Do you see the innate qualities of good parenting, patience, kindness, commitment, and maturity? Are they ready to allow another to be the center of their life? How comfortable are they in social interactions with young children? Does anyone currently trust them to care for their children? They key element is desire. We all need to grow in this area!
- Do you want to marry them?
That’s right. Straight up, do you want, desire, yearn to merge and irreversibly connect your life with the man or woman in your life right now? Have you identified something so worthy, a connection so strong that you would gladly forsake all others? This is not a matter of qualification, or character, it’s a question of your will. If your will is not strongly swaying you forward then you would be well served to give serious consideration to redirecting your pursuit elsewhere. Facing two choices (go all in or get out) at a critical juncture, my wife asked herself this question and answered “no.” This led to a remarkably poignant discovery, she did not want to marry him. Even though we were several years away from meeting, she was waiting to marry me!
Do You Know?
By now you should have a growing sense of your path forward. How easily and comfortably you answered these questions gives you an internal awareness of where you stand. These are major decisions, but you’re not in this alone. The greatest counselor in the universe, The Holy Spirit, will advise you. Set an appointment with Him first. Then involve the council and color commentary of trusted friends and married advisors. You’ll get the answer that Whitney Houston and countless others have yearned for! You’ll know!