I am a sucker for romantic comedies. I love watching the perfect clichéd love story unfold with everyone living happily ever after. Unfortunately this isn’t the experience for many of us. Love is messy. Difficult. Hurtful. And often a waiting game.

And yet, despite the messiness of love, deep down we still desire it. There is a reason we feel this way: we as humans have an inherent desire to love and be loved. It’s been this way since the beginning of time. In Genesis, God says “It is not good for man to be alone,” so he made Eve. But many of us find ourselves in this gap of knowing what we want and what we think we deserve, and knowing that its out there, but not seeing or experiencing it yet.

So, we are left with one of two options:

1. We try to muster up enough patience to wait, hoping the right person will come around; or
2. We settle. We lower our standards until we find someone who can fill the gap.

So how do we navigate this middle space? How do we find faith to believe we can find love after being hurt? How do we find patience to wait for the right person when it seems the clock is going to keep ticking?

Below are four truths about finding “the one” that I hope will give you the strength and the tools you need to do just that.

 1. His job isn’t to fulfill you—it’s to love you.
Often times, we never truly find “the one”—not because we haven’t found the person, but because we expect that person to be something for us he was never meant to be. We are looking for him to give us purpose when only God can do that. We are looking for him to fill spaces and voids in our heart that was only meant to be filled by God. If we are looking for joy and fulfillment in a relationship, we will always come up short and will never truly be happy, because God is the only person who can bring “fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). People are never going to be perfect. At some point, they will let you down. Even the best spouse in the world messes up and has flaws.

Until you are content enough with yourself that God is enough for you and your fulfillment is found in Him, you will not find true joy in a relationship with someone else. You will be seeking from man what can only come from God. Only when you can find your fulfillment in God can you truly experience love as you were meant to receive it from another person.

 2. Stop making other people’s experiences your expectation.
It is so easy to see another’s relationship, the timing and the way it happened, and idealize it to the point where you have decided “that is how God works”. But what we don’t realize is God may have worked in that way, but that is not the ONLY way God works. God is a unique God, and you are a unique person; stop trying to put God in a box, and let your story be unique.

I am blessed to be happily married to an amazing, godly man. I also know many godly women my age and older who are living faithfully single, trusting in the Lord’s plan, and hoping for a God-fearing husband one day. That doesn’t mean they did something wrong, or they’re being punished because they haven’t found it yet. That doesn’t mean I have done things right because I have. It simply means God in his sovereign wisdom is choosing to work differently in each of our lives.

The stories of others should be a constant reminder of how gracious and powerful God is, but should never discourage us or make us think that our story must look the same. Let your story be your story!

*Side note for all of my single ladies: singleness is a precious gift from God! You have the time, freedom and opportunity to pursue dreams and callings that those of us who are married do not. How can God be glorified in your singleness? What can you pursue now in your life that you will not be able to when you are married? What adventures should you be embarking on in this season of your life as you write your unique story?*

3. While God is preparing him, prepare yourself.
God is preparing the hearts of men all around the world to steward and love his precious daughters. Often times, our focus stays so much on the “Is he ever going to come?” when in reality the question we should be asking is, “Will I be ready when he does?”If God sent you the perfect man tomorrow, would you be at a place in your life where you would be ready for a relationship with him?

The right person at the wrong time is the wrong person.

Therefore, we equally have to trust God’s timing, as well as prepare our hearts to be ready to steward the gift when God chooses to send it. If we are expecting to find godly men who can love us the way we need to be loved, we must equally prepare ourselves to be godly women who can love them as they deserves to be loved.

If you focus on becoming the person God has called you to be, then you will be ready when God does bring you “the one”. We have to trust His timing, and do our part to be ready when it comes.

4. Stop settling.
The hardest part about the whole process of love is the wait. But in the wait, the worst thing we can do is settle for less than we deserve. Stop lowering your standards. God has made it clear in his word what a godly husband looks like, therefore we should not expect anything less when looking for our husband. Here’s the secret: if we do not budge, and continue to keep our standards at the level where we know they should be, men will rise to the occasion. If we show them we are willing to accept less than we deserve, they have no reason to rise above our lowered expectations. Lowering our expectations is showing we don’t trust God to do His job in raising up godly men. We must trust Him, and we must be patient.

What do standards that aren’t lowered look like? A man who is honest, kind, faithful, and full of integrity. A man who will respect, honor and cherish you. A man who will guard and protect your heart. A man who will love you as Christ loved the Church, who will lead your family in the Lord, and who will love you in a way in which you will flourish in the woman you are called to be. That is who God designed your husband to be; don’t accept anything less.

I want to leave you with a testimony from a dear friend, not to idealize, but to be an encouragement of God’s divine grace. When He is first, in His timing, when our hearts are prepared, and when our standards are high, He writes a beautiful story:

My husband and I met because I prayed for him. The night before we met, I was tired and frustrated by the men I had been dating. They didn’t treat me well. I never felt appreciated or wanted. I got down on my knees in my parents’ basement (moved back in with them after college) and had the longest heart-to-heart with God I’ve ever had. I told Him that I didn’t want to date anymore. I explained exactly what I wanted and asked that He not send any more men my way until it was the right one. I promised to be patient. The crazy thing was He sent my husband to me the VERY NEXT DAY! It’s my favorite blessing!”  

Originally published on the author’s blog 

Justine Oertel

My name is Justine Oertel. I am a wife to Eric, new mom to Kaiyah, and a follower of Christ who wants to make his name known in the world. I enjoy using my personal experience and God’s word to help people through difficult situations that many of us face. To read more, check out my blog www.shamelessaudacity.net