What should I do? (And how do I know if it’s my flesh?)
I’m being asked this question a lot lately. A lot of women believe that God has shown them who their future husband is and are unsure of what to do and how to handle it. So with much thought, prayer and reflection on the things I’ve learned from my own journey of having successfully gone through this, I’ve outlined some things to do (and not to do) and ways to know if it’s your flesh. And if you’d like to read my testimony of how God brought my husband and I together you can read it here.
[Disclaimer: Before I begin, I want to point out that – Everyone is not going to know beforehand who their spouse is (God does it differently for different people). Everyone is not going to hear an audible voice saying “that’s him” or “yes” (in fact be careful of that audible “yes” because your flesh can speak as well and disguise it as the voice of God). And everyone is not going to have a dream(s) (many people have dreams and those dreams fail).]
- It is the man’s job to pursue/find the woman, so wait.
God’s word says in Proverbs 18:22, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.” That means the man has to come pursue you. You have to allow God to reveal it to him and give him the go ahead to begin pursuing you. It doesn’t matter how many confirmations you’ve gotten or how strong you believe it in your spirit, God’s word does not change; you are to wait for that man to pursue you. God told me two and a half years prior to my now husband approaching me about being his wife. Guess what I had to do in those two and a half years? Wait. If you believe that it’s truly God then you need to have the faith that God is able to tell him just like He told you. Even if things look completely opposite in the natural, have faith.
And don’t say you’re having faith while trying to give the guy hints and get all up in his face unnecessarily. Unless you want that relationship to be founded on flesh (seduction) or you want to mess up what God has planned, don’t do it (I talk about this more in #5). God didn’t tell you so that you can go tell him and start pursuing him. Your job is to simply wait and treat him like any other brother in Christ.
- If he does know (or you believe that he knows) that you’re his wife, don’t pressure him.
Let God give him full assurance of this and let God lead him on when and how to begin pursuing you. You want to make sure that he has FULL assurance so there won’t be any flip-flopping or going back and forth in your relationship about whether or not y’all should be together. The last thing you want is a man who’s not sure if he wants to marry you; the results can be devastating. Don’t try to nudge him to go in the direction and pace that you’d like to go, give him space to LEAD as God leads him. Men are called to be the leader. As women we have a tendency to think we know better, we know what to do, and how to do it. But if we’re not careful we can take the reins and begin to lead in our relationships instead of allowing the man to lead. When you begin to do this you’re planting a seed in your future marriage that could cause a lot of chaos.
- Seek God for confirmation.
If God doesn’t give you confirmation right away, don’t be anxious about it; it simply may not be time to know more. Put it on the shelf. However, your greatest confirmation is for it to come to pass. Regardless of all the dreams, signs, and other types of confirmation you receive, if it does not come to pass all those confirmations mean nothing except that you heard wrong. I’ve heard of and know of other women who thought they heard from God regarding who their future spouse was to be, they got many “confirmations” and it turned out not to be from God at all because it didn’t come to past and/or the guy married someone else.
- Be very careful who you tell.
This is very important. Don’t go telling everybody who is willing to listen. I wouldn’t even advise you to tell all your close friends; all of them really don’t need to know. My Pastor told me during my time of waiting and knowing that the more people you tell, the more opinions you have to battle with and the more seeds will be planted in your heart regarding what you believe God told you. I’ve seen situations where a girl will believe she knows who her husband is and half the people in the church will know, not because God showed them too, but because she told them. I never understood that. There’s some people who may tell others because they want it to be known by all the other women that such and such is “taken” so they shouldn’t try to think he’s their husband too (which is silly and shows a lack of faith). But this is only a recipe for disaster. First off, if those people you tell are not mature enough to keep secrets, it will spread and eventually get to the guy’s ears. Secondly, if they’re not spiritually mature enough, you could end up getting false confirmations from them or the people they tell that you don’t know they told OR they could give hints to the guy. False confirmations will only lead to false hope. You don’t want any false confirmations; you want real confirmations from God.
Instead of telling all your friends (or half the church), choose people who you consider as wise counsel to keep you accountable and who can pray with and for you regarding it. It could be your pastor, a mentor, a lady leader in your church, or a mature sister in Christ – someone who you trust and look up to spiritually. I chose to tell my pastor and a few other leaders in my church (once I was sure that this word was from God) so that if they saw me slippin’ and trying to get too close to Davon (who then was just a brother in Christ) or saw me acting in my flesh in any way, they could tap me on the shoulder and tell me to watch myself. To me that was wise. I didn’t want to put any confidence in my flesh or give the enemy any room to play. “In the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Prov.24:6). And I told my friends when I felt led to tell them, and in fact for the first nearly year and a half of the two and a half years that I knew, none of them knew – and when I did tell them, I only told TWO of them. Trust me, when it comes to pass you’ll get plenty of chances to tell everybody how you been knew, LOL.
- Be careful and mindful of your interactions with him.
This is another important one. In other words, don’t try to act in ways to give him hints and clues to get him to know. When you do that you’re pretty much saying, “God I know You gave me this word but I really think that You need my help to bring it to pass, so let me help You out a little bit. By you trying to give him tips and clues it shows that you don’t really trust God to bring it to pass.
One thing God showed me about that when I was in my waiting-doubting-faith process (yes, it was all of those things in one) was that you’re really operating in a spirit of seduction when you try to go around the guy more, try to get closer to him, and try to give him hints and clues to point him in your direction. You’re seducing (persuading) him with your charm, good looks, intellect, or whatever, to get him to look your way and notice and take an interest in you. You’re pretty much being a stumbling block to him. When you “catch” a man with your flesh, you’re going to have to continue to use your flesh to keep him. Your flesh is literally going to be the foundation of that relationship. When your good looks, charm, or whatever it was that you used to catch him fades or he no longer takes interest in them, nothing will make him stay with you; he’s disinterested now (but a real man of God would not even fall for that). You want the foundation of your relationship to be the Word of God which never fades away! The word that God spoke to you, He’s able to speak to him. Be patient. When he receives that word, he’s now bound to that word which God spoke. That will create a much greater covenant than your looks could ever create. And yes he will be attracted to you physically but you don’t want that to be the only thing that sends him your way. You want to make sure that he knows that he knows that he knows you are his wife from the Lord!
Now you may already be close to him or have a friendship with him. That’s good. I’m not saying to separate yourself from him. What I’m saying is let your friendship remain as it is and let it develop NATURALLY. Not by force. Don’t try so hard to get it to be how you want it to be. Don’t try to force your way into his heart. If y’all talk every so often, keep it like that and let your relationship develop at the pace that God wants it to develop at. In my case, I didn’t have a relationship with Davon when God revealed to me that he was to be my husband. He was honestly just another brother in the church; I didn’t know him much at all. But one of my prayers during that time was, “Lord if this man is who You say he is, then create a situation where we can become friends cause I don’t want to marry someone I’m not friends with.” That was one of the confirmations that I requested from the Lord. And sure enough, months later, I transferred to another college which happened to be his university (unbeknownst to me). My church had something back then called “Go Get Cain” which was pretty much us evangelizing together on our college campuses between and after classes. The first few times we did it, it was myself, Davon and 1 to 3 other people. After a few weeks no one else had time to do it with us so most days it was just me and him. Look at God! I didn’t force it, I didn’t ask him for his number, I didn’t try to find out where he was so I could coincidentally be there at the same time, etc. As I was being obedient to God in doing what He placed heavily on my heart to do —evangelize on my college campus – we were able to NATURALLY develop a friendship. GOD SET IT UP! I didn’t set it up, God did. He answered my prayer and that for me was a huge confirmation. And ever since then we remained friends up until the time he approached me about being his wife.
My point here is, don’t get in the way of what God is doing, put your flesh to the side, and let God lead you in your interactions with the guy. As you obey God in what He has you doing He can naturally allow you to develop a friendship. Let God write your love story; don’t take the pen out of His hands. Only He knows your ending form your beginning.
- Don’t be anxious about it and keep your emotions in check.
Don’t let it become your focal point and be consumed by it. Worrying about it is not going to make it come any quicker. He really didn’t tell you so that you could worry about it. If you really believe that it’s God, choose to have faith instead of fear and worry. And it’s natural to be excited about marriage but don’t allow it to become ALL you think about. Letting your mind become consumed with thoughts about the dress, the ring, your future home and children, how he’s going to propose, being in his arms, your first kiss, etc. will only cause you to not be able to hear from God clearly. Your mind will be cluttered. That can be dangerous especially if you’re not completely sure if he is your husband. All those thoughts are only a breeding ground for false confirmations. Your excitement will make you think certain thoughts are from God when really they’re from your flesh. And then on top of that they will be a distraction from your relationship with God. So whether you believe it’s God or you’re not completely sure, letting these thoughts run rampant will have a negative effect on your relationship with God and in your real life because you literally have your head in the clouds all the time. Those thoughts will only grow in your mind more as you feed them and will eventually lead to lust and idolatry. You don’t want that, so once again: keep your emotions in check.
And no, it is NOT ok to have lustful thoughts about him even if you’re sure he is your husband. Lustful thoughts unchecked will lead to even more lustful thoughts, sexual dreams, and will lead you to eventually want to act out the thoughts through things like masturbation and may cause you to start being a stumbling block to your brother. Put absolutely no confidence in your flesh. One advice that a wise woman of God gave me concerning the issue of lustful thoughts was to see him as my brother. In actuality, until you are married, he is still just your brother. Seeing him in that way will help you to keep the thoughts in check. 1 Timothy 5:1-2 says, “…appeal to older men respectfully as you would your own father. Treat younger men as you would treat your brothers. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.”
- Put it on the shelf and continue to seek and serve The Lord
Put it on the shelf and leave it there. If it be of God He’ll bring it to past in due time. Like my Pastor says, “you do not have to police it.” Meaning you don’t have to monitor the word, watch over it, or anything like that; it’s God’s job to watch over HIS WORD. Isaiah 55:11 says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” It’s His word so it’s His job to perform it (bring it to past).
So rest; continue to be about your Father’s business. Don’t waste your singleness waiting for or worrying about a husband. Put the time to good use. There’s so much more God wants to do in your life in this season of singleness. Go on some trips, have some sleepovers with your sisters in Christ, have group Bible studies, have hours and hours of uninterrupted worship time, evangelize, minister…be about your Father’s business!! There’s sooo much you could be doing right now. Your life isn’t all of a sudden on hold once God tells you who your husband is only for it to start back up when you get married. No. If you don’t know what to do, ask God what He wants you to do in this time. Most likely it will involve you getting closer to Him because whatever He wants to pour into you now you will need for your next season. Once you get married you’ll have less time to yourself, so use the time wisely.
- If you’re not completely sure, keep an open heart that you could be wrong.
Don’t have a tight grip on it; we’ve all missed God at one point or the other. When you’re not sure about something that you believe God told you it’s wise to keep in mind that you could be wrong. When you have an open heart about it you’re more likely to hear the truth about it from God because you’re not fixed on it and you don’t have a tight grip on it. It’s better to err on the side of caution and say in your heart that you may be wrong until you’re sure, than to immediately assume you’re right without solid assurance and to later find out that you were wrong all along. And if you find out that you were wrong don’t beat yourself up, learn from it so you don’t repeat the same mistake and move on.
How to know if it’s your flesh:
- You have a pattern of thinking one person is your spouse, which proves to be wrong, and then you move on to another person, then another, then another: Stop!! There’s a deep rooted issue here. You’re trying to force yourself into a season of marriage when God is clearly saying it’s not your time. Marriage has become your idol. You’ve had dreams, received words, saw visions, and got “confirmations” about all these guys that you thought were your husband at one point and they ALL proved to be false. Clearly there’s something wrong here, your flesh is deceiving you. Let God take that issue out of your heart and teach you to be content in the season that you are in.
- You are desperate to be in a relationship and desperate not to be alone: You keep finding yourself in the arms of some man. You can’t seem to be able to stay single and enjoy it. This is a huge issue because often times when you’re desperate the enemy will send a counterfeit — an Ishmael to fulfill your desire for a man and you’ll end up walking right out of God’s will for your life and acquire all these issues because of it.
- You’re willing to compromise just to be with someone: So you convince yourself that this is who God has for you. When you’re willing to be with someone at all costs (even a particular person that your heart is fixed on), your mind will literally LIE to you and tell you that God “said” this man is your husband. And because you want it so bad you’ll run with it. Mortify your flesh. Put your desires on the cross. Fast and pray for God to remove it; it could end up ruining your life.
- You’ve gotten several red flags but you’ve been ignoring them: I know this should be obvious but some people really do ignore the clear red flags. PAY ATTENTION to the red flags!!
- Insecurities: Your insecurities constantly drive you into the arms of a man or constantly have you thinking about a man. Chances are that God wants to heal you of those insecurities before He begins to deal with you about a husband.
- God has not been dealing with you about being married to an earthly husband and it’s clearly not your season for it: Sometimes God will deal with you about marriage but it’s in regards to being married to Him, not to a physical husband. But some of us when we first hear Him talking to us about marriage we run with it and start trying to guess who our husband is, then end up with all these false dreams, false confirmations, and soul ties. Sit down and get further clarification from God because if you have not yet learned to be a faithful wife to God, you will not know how to be a godly wife to your earthly husband.
- God clearly told you he ain’t the one: (I know, I know, this should be sooooo obvious, but there are actually women out there who will disobey the voice of God when it comes to this.)Oh he’s so nice and so fine, he’s such a man of God and he fits perfectly into your “list.” That still doesn’t change what God told you. HE AIN’T THE ONE!! And if that list is mostly carnal stuff then you might want to get rid of it ‘cause it’s leading you astray. If you’re willing to disobey God even after He clearly gave you instructions, you have bigger problems than wanting a husband. If you’re disobeying Him with this I’m sure there are other areas where you’re being disobedient. Don’t let your flesh override what God has told you.