I was raised in a Christian home during the 80's and 90's. By the time I hit my teens one of the biggest topics was the purity topic. Joshua Harris' 'I Kissed Dating Goodbye' was on every shelf and in every youth room. I read all of his books, I had a purity ring, a purity pledge card, a diary to my future husband and I prayed for him incessantly. I prayed that he would come from a good Christian home, that he too would be a virgin and that he would love God with all his heart. I knew that if I followed the Christian triangle (you know the one you look up to God, he looks up to God and then somewhere when your both at the top, you two meet) I was bound to meet the man God had destined for me.
Flash forward to high-school, I fell in love and was left brokenhearted at the end of it. After that relationship my view on love became a little jaded. However, I still believed that somewhere God was saving this perfect man for me, how could he not, I had done everything by the Christian Dating book, you know it's somewhere between Genesis and Matthew [insert sarcasm]. That thought helped me get over my heart ache and kept me moving forward. However entering into my early twenties I was a little more lax; I began to date. I would go on many dates and most ended up with me saying, "I really like you like a friend." You know that dreaded, you've been friend-zoned conversation. But nothing ever serious really came along. Then I met my husband.
Some people say that love at first sight doesn't exist... I completely agree. However, 'Wow this guy is freaking hot and I want to be with him for the rest of my life, based off of our first five minutes talking with each other' totally exists! Here is the problem though, he wasn't perfect. Shocking, I know. He had received Christ a month before I met him; he knew nothing about Christianity. He was not the man I prayed for. He wasn't living for God, didn't even know what that meant. Oh and did I mention we met at a bar? Ya not very Christian like. Our moral views on pretty much everything at that moment were polar opposites. Where as I had saved myself for marriage, he hadn't even thought that was a real thing. I mean really in the non-Christian world who actually does that? He didn't read his Bible every day, he didn't even own one. What in the world was I thinking?! Immediately I was bombarded with the "do not be unequally yoked" from a million different voices, with mine being the loudest. But there was something I really liked about him that I never saw in Christian guys. You ready for this?
He took responsibility for his feelings. Yep that's right he didn't ever think about blaming God for how he felt. Let me break it down. Many of the Christian guys I dated, were, lets say... passive. They wouldn't straight out tell me if they were interested in me, they had to pray about it, A LOT! Then even once we started dating, if things weren't going well, they would pull out the God card. "I feel like God is saying you're not the ONE for me." or "I really have to focus on God right now." And for most of my early years I believed that as a legitimate answer. But I always felt like it was a cop out. Especially because I never heard God say anything about any of them to me.
Rob was different, when we met, he came up to me and said, "You're beautiful. Can I have your number." There was never any question if he was interested in me or not. He was decisive and he chose me. I remember sitting in my room about two weeks after we started dating feeling so stressed. I kept asking God, is he the ONE for me, should I stop dating him? And in that moment I have never heard God more clearly. He said, "Ailina, the choice is yours. If you stay with him I'll bless it. If you don't, I'll bring you someone else." And just like that the weight lifted and my eyes were opened. I chose to stay with him.
In that moment I realized that God gives us free-will for a reason. We are to take responsibility for our choices. And sure that's easy when your trying to decide between going to first service or second service. But when it's the fate of your future life with someone else, that's a lot of pressure. As Christians we have an easy out, blame it on God. Now here me out I do believe God can speak to you directly about your relationships, etc. However, often times we use "His Voice" as a cover up for how we are really feeling. We don't have to own our feelings if "God told us." And in addition we cancel out any counsel by saying God told us, because now, no one will want to argue with God. So we could be in a bad relationship, but because we say God told us to stay, we block out any sound counsel where others might see red flags.
I remember in that moment thinking, I'm going to choose this man. And if this relationship fails it's no one's fault but my own. Let me tell you that has saved my marriage time and time again. Because here we are 6 years later and it isn't always easy breezy. If I had the mindset that God chose this man for me: 1. I would either be resentful to God during hard times. 2. I would think that I didn't hear God correctly and the 'One' is still out there waiting for me. This is where someone can start to justify considering divorce or infidelity.
Think about Adam and Eve, God made Eve for Adam, what happened as soon as something went wrong in their relationship? He immediately blamed God, "The Woman YOU GAVE me..." I chose my husband, I choose everyday to love him, I choose everyday to give 100% to our relationship. I take full responsibility for our relationship failing or being successful. I believe in partnering with God to make our marriage successful, but ultimately it is Rob and mine's choice if our marriage succeeds. We both chose each other at the altar 6 years ago. God has blessed our marriage and is at the center, because we chose to have him in our marriage.
I love the fact that my husband chose me. He pursued me just as Christ pursues us. There was never any question in his intentions for me and he never had to "pray" about it. He was open and honest about his feelings, which has continued in our marriage. It has set the foundation of an open and honest marriage. He doesn't mask his feelings or emotions, he owns them and takes responsibility for them. Again, I'm not saying you can't pray for guidance. But even if God does speak to you about someone, don't tell that person. Just own your own feelings. Let the other person know that how you feel about them is your choice, whether that is you wanting to pursue them or not, take ownership. Stop blaming God for a way to avoid being honest. Using the "God Card" will cause more damage then good. God's plan is to be involved in our lives, not in control of them... he gave us free will and trusts us to be powerful people that take responsibility for our choices.