EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to He Said-She Said (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
QUESTION: I have three questions about falling in love: Is it okay to ask God for signs to understand if a girl is the right one (see Genesis 24)? How can I understand if a girl is the right one? And what is the right time to say to a girl that I fell in love with her?
HE SAID: It’s always okay to ask God for whatever you seek.
Jesus told us, “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:14). However, many of our prayers seem to go, “God, help her to like me” or “Lord, help him to notice me,” rather than “Jesus, lead me to the person you desire me to be with.”
Be careful not to “rephrase” your prayers into an appeal—“Lord, I know you would want me to be with her because ...” When you begin to make a case for being with someone, maybe that person really isn’t the “one.”
With wisdom and knowledge, you will know who the ‘right’ one is.
Many of us know what we want in a significant other, but over time those desires are often lost or abandoned in the heat of emotion. Determine and recognize what those “non-negotiable” values and attributes are, take your time in discerning if that person has those characteristics, and use your wisdom to conclude if they meet God’s desires for you.
Don’t ever think a person, or be thought of, as “good enough.”
“Love” should only be used when you mean it.
Everyone has a different significance and connotation of what “love” means as well as the timing and situation it should be used.
“I love you” is sometimes used flippantly to mean, “I love this ‘thing’ we have,” “I love how you look” or “I love how you make me feel”—all of which can and often will change over time and may be a reason why many seem to “fall in” and “fall out of” love so quickly.
I have chosen for myself to use those words very sparingly and would only consider it when I am fully committed to furthering a serious relationship, and with select “friends” who I am committed to support, stand by and are family to me.
SHE SAID: In short, my three answers are: Yes. Watch and pray. And when God says so.
Now, those really are my answers. But let’s unpack your questions a bit, because you know I do have a word count to fulfill in my portion of every “He Said-She Said” column. So let’s get to it!
Yes, it’s okay to ask God for signs to understand if a girl is the right one. Genesis 24 does give us an example of how someone asked for a sign. In this case, it was Abraham’s servant who had gone out in search of a wife for Isaac, Abraham’s son. And when he reached the town of Nahor, he stopped and prayed:
“O LORD, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a girl, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camel too'—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
Whether you want to call that “asking for a sign” or just asking for God’s guidance when making a decision, I think it’s a great reminder that we can ask the Lord for his help no matter the situation. In fact, it’s reiterated even more directly in other places in Scripture as well, such as verses like Proverbs 3:5-6:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Sometimes we are led to pray very specific prayers (like Abraham’s servant). And other times, we may pray more in general (“Lord, please lead me to my mate.”). I believe the Bible illustrates both of these approaches. But just remember this: the Lord answers our prayers according to his plan for our lives. So even though you may pray in a specific way, ask him to shape your heart to accept his will and whatever his specific (and perfect) answer is for you.
Next, how will you know if a girl is the right one? By watching and praying. Like Pastor Tony Evans of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas recently said:
“God has a plan for you. Don’t go looking for the plan, look for God. When you seek God with all of your heart, you will discover his plan. And it’s a good plan, filled with hope.”
Wow. I couldn’t agree more with Pastor Evans! I’ve found this to be true in my life as well. When I focus on God and who he is (watch), then I am drawn to communicate with him on an intimate level (pray) and everything else falls into place. Now that doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically get your answer tomorrow. Or perhaps not even a year from now. But it does mean that your focus will be more on God and not as much on your circumstances. And as you grow spiritually, you’ll find it matters less how long it takes to get your answer (Matthew 6:33-34).
And finally, what is the right time to tell a girl that you are in love with her? Well, there is no perfect man-made formula for that. When is the right time to do anything in your life? When God says so! If you are following his leading and his guidance as the Great Shepherd of your heart, then you will know if and when you are supposed to deliver your message that you have fallen in love.
I applaud you for wanting to be very cautious and careful when it comes to matters of the heart. That speaks volumes of your emotional maturity. In the meantime, may God grant you patience—and peace—as you follow his instructions and timing in the course of this romantic relationship.
HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.
SHE is … Laura MacCorkle, Senior Editor at Crosswalk.com. She loves God, her family and her friends. Singleness has taught her patience, deepened her walk with the Lord and afforded her countless (who's counting anyway?) opportunities to whip up an amazing three-course meal for one.
DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately (we think they sound eerily similar sometimes, too!).
GOT A QUESTION? If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to He Said-She Said (selected questions will be posted anonymously). While we are unable to answer every inquiry, we do hope that this column will be an encouragement to you. Click here to visit the He Said-She Said archives.