Finding the One
“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22
Have you ever heard a married couple share about the moment they fell in love? Most married couples can remember the exact moment they met and enjoy sharing about their betrothal and their wedding day.
I was twenty two years old when I got married. I clearly remember when my father and I walked down the aisle and he handed me to my love, Leon, on the day of our wedding. I recall looking into Leon’s eyes and seeing him wipe tears as I approached him. Like a gift, I was being presented to my future husband. Our relationship of course, started several years earlier.
I met my husband, Leon, when I was nineteen years old. The year was 1985. Leon had been invited on a missions trip to Ecuador by a good friend. On three or four different evenings, we managed to make eye contact and smile at each other. On the last night of the missions conference, he approached me. My heart pounded as our conversation started.
In broken Spanish, he said " Tu eres muy simpatica." In Spanish this means, “I think you’re very cute”. After a few more spanglish words and formally introducing each other he asked, “ Could I have your phone number and address? I’d like to write to you.”
After our conversation ended, I gave him a very Ecuadorian kiss and hug good bye. Upon further reflection, I realized that a connection had begun even earlier when we first exchanged glances. I knew in my heart that a spiritual connection had started while we were trying to wave to each other during the previous days. Talking to him that last evening of the conference was the beginning of the second most important decision that I had to make in my life. What if I would have not talked to him? Would God intervene? I totally believe that God planned this moment for Leon and I.
In the months that followed, Leon wrote to me both in English and broken Spanish. We shared about our everyday life activities, work for him, college for me, church for both of us and our desire to see each other again. I cannot remember at what point I told him my age, but what I remember a lot is asking him in several letters to tell me how old he was. It took him several months until he finally told me that he was eight and a half years older than me. To me that was not a big issue at all. My dad was ten years older than my mom, so I probably thought that age was never an issue in a relationship. I used to think that guys my age were very immature, and I really wanted to meet a more mature person if I were to have a romantic relationship. To him, I discovered he thought I was very young and that was one of the reason he wanted to date longer so I could basically mature and make sure I knew what I really wanted. Our friendship grew closer through letters correspondence and a few phone calls.
In August of 1988, a year and half after the first time we met, Leon came to visit me again in Ecuador. This time, however, he wasn’t on a mission’s trip. He specifically came to pursue a deeper friendship with me. As you can imagine, I felt nervous knowing that he was ready for a more serious relationship and had come all the way to Ecuador to get to know me. Talk about pressure!
I asked myself several times, “What if I don’t feel anything for him?” I told myself, “He is coming all the way to my country with serious intentions to marry me. What if I don’t feel a connection?”
Trying to understand what I went through those first days after he arrived in Ecuador reminds me of how God was in control and had an amazing plan and story that I would be telling many about. At first, I forgot about the spiritual connection I felt the first time I saw him. I was so scared of not knowing what the future would look like with someone from a different country, culture and background that I could not have any feelings of reciprocity for all the attentions and care that he had for me. I was very kind and polite with him, but I did not have absolutely any feelings for him (besides seeing him as a brother in Christ). I thought I was more concerned about him having hurt feelings and going back home without a girlfriend than anything else. I even asked my cousin to date him because I had a feeling she really liked him. God has a great sense of humor, and He even used my cousin to let me know that the day I felt this very special and romantic connection with Leon was when it started bothering me that she was actually trying to get Leon’s attention. Later, I found out that my cousin was praying for me and was hoping God would do something so that I could fall in love with him. God used it all to help me understand what “true love” from Him towards that someone special was going to be about.
I had to start praying so much for what I was feeling and not feeling for Leon. I remember getting on my knees and literally crying out to God to give me His special kind of love for Leon, but only if he was the one and only that God chose for me to marry. And that is exactly what happened to me. After almost a week of activities and family outings with Leon, God spoke to me. All of the sudden, after a few days of being sure that Leon was not the person I wanted to date for life, I received the most amazing gift of knowing that he was the one for me. That Saturday morning when we went on a boat ride with all my family around, I knew deep in my heart that God answered my prayers and that I truly found my beloved prince. That evening Leon asked me formally to be his girlfriend. He had to use a Spanish dictionary, and I had to help him to say all the words that I wanted to hear. It was a very sweet, funny, but very romantic time for us. Leon was my first boyfriend. I could have had a couple of boyfriends before but they did not ask the way I wanted to be asked to be their girlfriend. I was very particular about this kind of things. I have always been a dreamer and a romantic person, and I did not want to settle for something that was not God’s will.
Looking back, I believe that I chose a man after God’s heart, but I’ve often wondered how I knew that Leon was God’s perfect choice for me. I’ve reflected on this time in my life for countless hours. I’ve never questioned the choice that I made, but it has made me wonder how God chooses to put couples together. How do unmarried men and women choose the right one?