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We’ve all met someone who married their high school sweetheart. There is something heart-fluttering about marrying one’s first love. But few people actually do. 

The rest of us, our stories include the tales of the men we {almost} married. Because of that little word in there—that “almost”—these stories are often left to crumble and decompose in the compost of time.

However, I am a firm believer that God takes us through experiences to mold us and refine us into clearer images of Him. I also believe that we need to be good stewards of the experiences we’ve walked through. I’ve talked to you some about my journey through infertility and now I’m going to talk to you about my journey to marriage.

I grew up in a home that talked about courtship but was not sold-out on the idea. In fact, my father had a habit of tossing books like I Kissed Dating Goodbye at us, along with a Bible, and saying, “Okay, what is true and what is not?” By the time my brothers and I reached dating age we had, together as a family, come to a few solid conclusions:

  • It is never wise to be in an exclusive relationship with someone unless you are looking toward marriage.
  • “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14).
  • Physical sin will leave you raw and hurting for years to come (see 1 Corinthians 6:18).

My first experience with love didn’t happen until I was almost eighteen. I walked into church that Sunday after being gone six months, chopping off my hair and losing twenty pounds. A friend looked up from where he was sitting and his gaze met mine. He smiled slowly and I blushed from the top of my head to the tips of my toes.

We remained just friends, but there was a lot “watching” going on. Eventually, he talked to my dad, but we were young and Papa said, “Take it easy, friendship is good.”

This was gentle, wise advice.

Several months into our relationship, I realized that while this guy encompassed all my dreams for my life—something was missing.

I want to make this clear: He was a good man. He loved the Lord and was attractive, funny, and intelligent.

It truly wasn’t about him (as cliche as that sounds), it was about me. It was about the things that God had called me to. The things that I ignored to chase after my dreams of love and marriage.

The Lord convicted me and I took two drastic steps back. I was young and unpracticed so my step back from our friendship that was a few months from full-blown courtship was rather painful to him and to me.

There are a million “what-ifs” that could be thrown in here, but this is how it happened and how it ended.

I suppose many could say, “Well, they were too young to be dating or thinking about marriage.” And perhaps there is some truth in that. However, I am thankful for that relationship. And I’ll tell you why.

One of the hardest lessons to learn is how to listen to God when your emotions are involved.  

This wasn’t my first crush, by any means, but it was my first real relationship. It was the first time that I could think about marriage with a face on the husband-figure. The first time that I could be in a group of people and know that someone was going to notice me.  And it’s a pretty giddy feeling. 

This practice of keeping your emotions in check long enough to hear God’s voice is an essential lesson to learn. There are a plethora of ways that God can teach this to us, but this is the avenue He used in my life. 

I didn't do it right. Just in case you're wondering. Not really. But I did it. I walked away from the relationship I wanted most for a deeper relationship with the God I needed most.

I didn’t do it right. Just in case you’re wondering. Not really. But I did it. I walked away from the relationship I wanted most for a deeper relationship with the God I needed most.

I went to college that fall and spent a few years “single”. Oh, I hung with groups of people that included many single men, but there was nothing exclusive.

My second relationship of consequence took place a few years later. I was living overseas and had met a man who loved God, wanted to start an orphanage, and wanted to marry me

I called my dad to tell him and he said he’d pray about it. And get this: when my dad called back, he said okay. Okay to a relationship. Okay to the possibility of his daughter marrying a man who lived a twelve-hour plane ride away.

I wanted it to happen. Oh, how I wanted it. I remember him arriving one day when I was napping in a hammock. He took my hand and kissed my forehead and I woke up thinking that this is everything I could ever want.  I loved living overseas. I loved the way our story came to be. I adored the idea of running an orphanage. It seemed good.

There were some things that were warning signs, but I thought I could handle them. I really wanted this to work. So, I prayed about it in an “already decided” way until God got a hold of me, again.  He said, gently, “Tasha, are you going to ask Me about this?” I was stunned. I had to ask Him when everything was laying out so perfectly? When my dad had already said okay?

I asked. I’m sure you can guess what He said.

And here was my second lesson: even if something “seems good” that doesn’t mean it is what God has for you.

Here was my second lesson: even if something "seems good" that doesn’t mean it is what God has for you.

This applies in many more areas that just finding a husband, of course. I’ve used this lesson to help decipher a career, decide where to volunteer, decide what house or vehicle to buy… the list is endless. Most of the time it really isn’t about something being “good” or “bad”.  Sometimes it is just timing or location or experiences. 

I was following God when I walked into these relationships and I was following God when I stopped them short of marriage. I needed to learn the lessons I learned. I needed to walk the road I walked. I needed to experience facing pain, hearing God’s voice and surrendering my will to Him.

And, of course, God wasn’t finished. He was carefully leading me toward the man I married.

20 Comments

  1. Natasha, am so encouraged by the articles that I’ve so far read here! ..am 21 and am currently dating a 33 year old guy. ..I’ve come from broken and hurting relationships before but I always thank God when I look back because I now realize that it was all part of the process. …I cannot say, however that I do not have my fears about the kind of relationship that am now in, that I so much believe is truly by God’s grace . sometimes I have my doubts and little fears creeping in but as time goes6by, God is reassuring me of my being here, against all odds and beyond all circumstances. .like society’s expectations, my parents and friends. .to getting married young and not only that but to a much older man!…but you know, like you said, it’s God who actually ‘chose’ your husband for you! ..and I was like wow! ..coz i look at my situation and I go like, this really is God’s doing and not mine, coz on my own, I could have probably opted for someone else, probably better educated, better looking, younger, financially stable. .etc….but I’ve been growing more in grace and learning to know what matters most in a relationship and even in marriage! and I thank God for this relationship because it constantly builds me into christ-like person and brings me so much joy. ..I believe this is God’s best for me! …thankyou so much Natasha! πŸ™‚

    1. Hey tasha, it’s me again. … I thought I’d get married to this man, but shock on me, he broke off our relationship yesterday. .something I never expected, am in pain, broken apart but deep down I know that God works all things for our good. ..and I can’t wait to see how he’s gonna turn these ashes into beauty

  2. I would have married my first real love, except that the Lord decided to take him home in a tragic accident. I never questioned the Lord..went on to marry a Godly man and 40 later we are still happily married. However I have never stopped loving that first love of my life and miss him so very much

  3. this is exactly what I needed to hear. I just walked away from a 6 year dating relationship that I knew would never end in marriage. Of course, I thought I could change him. I have taken a leap of faith by walking away from the man that I love and trusting God for the man he has set aside for me.

  4. Rogerine Miguel says:

    thank you for this post. i realized i am not alone in the waiting. though it is painful but this exactly is what i should consider. now im giving it up for God…

  5. Katherine says:

    Thank you for sharing! There are so few articles where people share about the struggles on the way to marriage…I appreciated hearing this very much.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    Over the last year, this is more or less a summation of something I have and still am learning. In my case, I let myself get too emotionally involved and only sought God when circumstances didn’t go my way which led to me getting very hurt. It all goes to show that God knows what He is doing and that his timing and his plan are perfect!

    This was encouraging for me in so many ways! Thank you again for sharing!

  7. Natasha,
    I wanted to thank you for sharing your story because it really inspired me.
    I have reached the point in my life where I no longer care about getting married. I’ve been hurt by men who were not faithful or honest with me. My first love only saw me as a sister and the other man I dated dumped me for another woman because I wouldn’t give my virginity to him or move in with him after our first date. I doubt that marriage is something God would have in store for me, but I’m still going to college and am seeking His will to be done in my life. I look forward to reading more posts from you.

  8. You are such a good writer, Natasha, and I always appreciate your posts. (())

  9. Oh, girl. You are the best. I loved reading this. It comes at a perfect time for me when I’m in an incredibly blessed relationship yet having echoes of past men and relationships in my mind and heart. Thank you for reminding me to use the lessons of the past. Do you have any advice on how to hear God’s voice when what you have is both ‘good’ AND ‘what you want’ (my situation right now)? How did you feel that the second one with flags was not for you? Was it prayer or in the depth of your heart? Thanks for any thoughts, sweet friend!

    1. Honestly? When I prayed about him, I realized that I was trying to “force” God’s hand. God told me, very clearly, that if I continued on that path I would be “creating an Ishmael”. It wouldn’t be God creating a miracle in my life- it would be me trying to make this available man into the promise God had given me. Much like Abraham and Sarah tried to make God’s promised son come into existence.

      Does that make sense?

      1. Samantha R says:

        Natasha, you described this so well… I can really see the correlation and how easy it is to “create an Ishmael” in various areas of our lives if we aren’t willing to listen to God and heed Him.
        Thank you for your insight and wisdom!

  10. RacheL H. says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your story, Natasha! God bless you for allowing your experiences to advise others in this journey of life. Many, many girls/ladies need to read this… I pray they do!

    Can’t wait to read the rest of the story! πŸ˜‰

  11. Samantha R says:

    “One of the hardest lessons to learn is how to listen to God when your emotions are involved. ”

    I couldn’t agree more πŸ™‚

    We need to be willing to ask God about it and be ready for the answers He gives us… and truly listen to HIM.

    Proverbs 11:14 is a great verse to remember when pursuing relationships; it’s always wise to seek counsel from others- esp. parents, older mature adults and those that have “been there and done that”. πŸ™‚

    Thank you for sharing with us, Natasha! I’m anxious to read about the man you did marry!

  12. First time in a long time that I actually want to comment! This was a breath of fresh air. I look forward to reading the rest. I feel like I could have almost written this entire post. πŸ™‚

  13. Lynette Allcock says:

    Thanks for sharing this. It echoes my own story in several ways, and highlights lessons that I am still attempting to learn!

  14. Very helpful article, thanks for posting! You caught me off guard by “calling me by name”! My name is Natasha too, and I go by Tasha! πŸ™‚ Too funny!
    Great reminder to always ask the ultimate Wisdom-God-before making any decisions.
    Natasha

  15. You are a very daring woman, Natasha. And this is a very beautiful story! Thank you for sharing!

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