I was supposed to marry a tall, dark-haired, Starbucks-loving seminarian who was preparing to be a youth pastor for inner-city students. The kind of guy a good, Jesus-loving girl was supposed to marry, right? (Remember those lists you wrote in youth group about the five traits you want in a spouse and how you shouldn’t settle for anything less than all five?) The funny thing is, one month ago, I married my best friend and the godliest man I know — and Jeremy meets none of the requirements of my list.
When I first met my husband, I never imagined that I would marry him. In fact, I was determined to avoid him at all costs. When sharing our story, Jeremy often says that I grew up trying to keep all the rules, while he was breaking all of the rules! Thankfully though, my husband was relentless. My husband joined our church as a new believer, passionate about learning how to follow Jesus. I still remember the day in small group when he asked us if he was supposed to sell everything and move to China if he wanted to love Jesus (that’s what happens when you read David Platt’s Radical straight through in one night) and thinking to myself that I hoped my husband one day would love Jesus like that. But in my prideful mind, it could never be Jeremy, because he did not meet my list. And even if I failed to care about my list, a few others made sure I remembered! Like the older lady in the bathroom who asked my mom one Sunday after we stated dating if I knew he had tattoos! Umm, yes.
Jeremy didn’t care anything about my list though. Somehow, he ended up in the same small group as me and showed up as a leader for the middle school after school program I volunteered with at our church. And he took advantage of every one of those opportunities!
I still remember a conversation we had in which he shared how much he loved being able to talk about life with me, and I responded, “Well, that’s what sisters in Christ are for.” Yet the Lord was working on my heart and showing me that I was guilty of judging him, holding his past before Jesus against him. The moment I realized that my self-righteousness was the issue was when my mentor and close friend told me, “Kassie, you do not have to date him. But he is going to date someone eventually, and he is going to make an awesome husband and father.” I struggled because I had stayed pure, I hadn’t lived the crazy life he did, I thought I deserved better. But it was then that the Lord reminded me that in Christ, we are new creations. This man was loved by God and so was I. My self-righteous-rule-keeping was no better than his past rule breaking.
It was during this time that I spent a lot of time reading articles from Boundless.org and really examining if what I believed about finding a spouse was biblical or just my ideas. I still remember a blog post from Boundless.org on Facebook which said something about all it takes to know if you should marry someone is the knowledge that you both are committed to Christ and learning to love each other and that the idea of a soul mate is really just a neatly packaged, destructive myth. Those truths found in the blogs of Boundless and the words of my mentor helped me to realize I was ignoring Jeremy’s pursuit of me for reasons which had no true merit.
It is good that Jeremy does not meet my list and that we are not exactly alike. I love the words of Billy Graham who once said, if “two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary.” If the Lord did not bring me Jeremy, my blonde-headed, fishing-loving, outspoken millwright, funny, patient, and wise husband who always points me back to Jesus, I would still be running around stuck in my own head, clinging to my own plans and my own self-righteousness. The Lord knew what I needed was not my list fulfilled, but a man who loves me unconditionally and challenges me to follow hard after Jesus every moment of every day.
Are you engaged or newly married? We’d love to hear your story and how Boundless was helpful to you along the way! Email us at [email protected]. For more stories like this one, go to Engagement Stories.