This post was written in response to a reader question. Did you know that you can contact me? I do my best to respond personally to every message and e-mail.
One of my beloved readers wrote to me recently to ask, “How did you know Abouna was right for you?”
Now that is a question I am rarely asked. Those who have met Abouna, for some strange reason (insert wicked grin), never need to ask that question.
He is everything I wish to be
Though I am tempted to spend many pages expounding on his virtues, I will instead focus on the one that sealed the deal. He is rarely ruffled.
I am an emotional whirlwind of ups and downs and torrential tears and loud laughter. The slightest praise fuels me and the slightest insult wounds me. I had heard about the lesson to react as the dead do to insults and praise, but I knew at the time I was very far from such a virtue.
He was so at peace with the world and with God that he was not at all temperamental. His poker face just killed me. How does he do that when my heart is so on my sleeve?
There’s a saying that you are the five people you spend the most time with, and I knew that maybe just being in his orbit for the rest of my life, my temperament would get a little balance. I could grab hold of that peace, that emotional strength. I hungered to be “like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever” (Psalm 125:1 NIV). In my husband, I would have an example to look to every day.
He is an excellent father
I knew I wanted children. At the time, I wanted 10 of them. I wanted a whole soccer team. I could see how he behaved with the children in Sunday school, and I knew that it would be the kind of relationship I wanted for my kids with their father. He didn’t rely on bribes or tricks. He was just real and vulnerable with them, and so they trusted him fully.
He had Sunday school kids calling him for advice YEARS after he had stopped being their servant–and they STILL call him. That pointed to a kind of relationship maturity that I felt was critical to a strong family unit.
Now at this point you might be thinking, “You didn’t really think through all this, right, Laura? Like you’re just looking back with 20/20 vision and laying over it what you know now.” No. I really did think through all these things. People are miserable in their marriages, and I knew I wanted to be married for life. So, no, I didn’t just wing it. I was very deliberate in thinking through these things. I looked at the relationships in his life and analyzed them. I looked at how he reacted under stress and appreciated it.
His love for Christ is sincere
I once showed my own father my “list” of things I wanted in a husband, and at the top of the list was “Loves God above all else.” My father pointed out that it didn’t say anywhere on my “list” that the man should love me.
To my way of thinking, if his love for Christ was sincere, he would not seek to harm me. If he loves me, too, that’s a great bonus. Those are very practical words coming from a hopeless romantic, but I figured that if God was at the center of our relationship (and we were both loyal to God above all) that marriage would be a piece of cake.
How did I know his love for Christ was sincere? Because he lived life in accordance with Christ’s teachings. “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). He wasn’t a Sunday morning Christian. He lived a Christian life every day and at every moment. His icons were on his desk in the engineering department at the University, and he talked about God with anyone who asked him. He wasn’t ashamed of the gospel or of his heritage, and he didn’t hide his faith even in a dank basement full of nerdy atheists and agnostics. He put true virtue above cultural image. I wanted that kind of life.
How did you know it was God’s will?
How did I know that God was down with me marrying this guy? I took a step, and God blessed it. I took another step, looked up and around, and saw God bless it. I took another step, and again God blessed it. Until it was the day of our marriage and the Holy Spirit consecrated our relationship.
If it’s not God’s will, I have seen crazy things happen to keep two people apart. Keep your eyes and your heart open, and God will speak loud and clear. Then it will be up to you to obey Him.
Is He Right for You?
I can’t really tell you if someone is right for you. Only you know that. Look at yourself as honestly as you can; look at him/her as honestly as you can. Then take each step in prayer.
It is awfully hard not to break out into “How Will I Know?” (Whitney Houston)
How will I know if he really loves me?
I say a prayer with every heartbeat
I fall in love whenever we meet
I’m asking you what you know about these things
I’m sure many people reading know more about these things than I do… How did YOU know?
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