How I Knew My Husband Was The One

Both Jonathan and I are traveling for work this week, and though we’re not strangers to being apart, I really miss him this time around! I’ve gotten a couple of questions about how I knew he was the right person for me, so I figured I’d go down memory lane and share a bit of my dating history and how I knew my husband was the one.

If you’ve ever met Jonathan, or heard more than two words out of him when I can cajole him to appear in my Instagram stories, you can immediately tell that he’s a chill, easy going guy. Although he’s a man of few words, he is really passionate about his interests and is extremely devoted to his family and friends. He has a kind heart and a slightly corny sense of humor, but his hearty laugh and cute dimples make people laugh alongside his bad jokes!

Obviously I’m biased, but my husband is the most amazing man on earth. Ok maybe tied with my dad. But Jonathan is absolutely nothing like the man I envisioned I’d be married to. He likes to joke with me that I probably never expected when I met him freshman year of college that I would be married to him now (he usually says “you neva experred it”… and then we bust out laughing!). And the answer is NO WAY!! I would have bet my life savings (all of maybe $250 at the time lol) that I would never ever date him, let alone marry him, but alas here we are lol. Isn’t God funny?

The long story follows, but here’s the short version of how I came to realize that Jonathan was the right person for me. Every relationship I’ve had since high school prepared my heart to be receptive to Jonathan’s love. Little by little, God debunked my idea of who I thought I should be with to prepare me for who he had designed specifically for me. Through each relationship, I learned – either voluntarily or the hard way – that a specific trait I thought I wanted in a guy was not at all what I needed. And by the end of it all, I was broken enough to reject all my preconceived notions of what my life partner should look like, and was able to naturally grow in a friendship and then a relationship with Jonathan.

Let’s start in high school. Imagine me, 30 pounds lighter, with braces and unruly eyebrows. I went to a private high school with mostly rich white kids, and unlike my brothers, I wasn’t popular. I had two boyfriends in high school (sorry mom!), both from church or a church activity. I guess I learned relationship communication skills early on since I didn’t see them every day at school, and I had a strict no phone use after 9pm curfew. I’ll call this my “project phase”, when I dated guys who I wanted to help: with their SAT prep, with their relationship with Christ, with their family drama, etc. I think the most help they gave me was listening when I vented about how strict my parents were. But our relationships were one sided and once I got bored with the project, I started acting a fool (literally… I told a boyfriend that I was kidnapped because I thought it would be funny) and eventually the relationships ended.

When I started college, I found myself around 100 times more black men (eh, maybe they were still boys) than in high school. Ya girl was READY!! The second week of school I saw a guy in the dining hall with amazing style and an athletic body and somehow managed to get him to get frozen yogurt with me. Within a few months we were official.

From freshman year until the middle of junior year, I dated this guy who I SWORE I was going to marry. I had a 5 year plan with him where we’d graduate and he’d go work in investment banking and make tons of money while I went to med school and we’d have four kids. I think I even brainstormed baby names. He seemed perfect on paper: Harvard educated, college athlete, Christian, stylish, and well off. He was everything I thought I needed in a life partner.

Of course that relationship didn’t work out, and for many many reasons, but the biggest one was that we didn’t actually like or respect each other. I was attracted to who he was on paper – the superficial things like looks, education, and status – and how I would be elevated by being with him. Growing up invisible in high school probably fueled that desire to be with someone who seemed so established and socially secure. On his part, he didn’t respect my likes, interests, and preferences, and didn’t value my opinions in our relationship. He was controlling and made me feel like complete s**t, but I stayed for a really long time because I wanted to make my dream – the guy he was on paper – work.

Shortly after we broke up, I went to a party and ended up dancing with a slightly older schoolmate who I had a crush on. After he propositioned me, I was so shocked that I immediately came to my senses. That experience sent me running to God (literally kicked him out of my room and then got on my knees to pray), but not to be made whole, but with the idea that if I got close enough to God he would send a partner my way. The next two guys I talked to were strong men of faith, but I quickly realized that going to church and serving in church doesn’t mean you’re a good partner.

So a few weeks before senior year of college started, I made a pact with God that I would focus on my thesis and serve him and not think about boys. I really let go of the desire to find a boyfriend or a partner and just worked on rediscovering God’s love for me. Once I stopped seeking love externally, I was able to internalize my beauty and self-worth as a daughter and creation of God. When Jonathan and I started talking, it happened very naturally and he reaffirmed my beauty and my worth not just outwardly, but through the lens of Christ himself.

Jonathan and Ijeoma Kola

I really knew Jonathan was the one during our time in a long distance relationship. With other people there were always issues with respect, trust, or communication, but Jonathan was faithful, loyal, supportive, and fully invested in our relationship as well as in leading us both closer to God. He was nothing like the person who I thought I’d marry – someone with style, swag, and status – but he is the perfect person for me. His style has come a LONG way, he actually has a lowkey humble swag, and his status is a king because he’s an heir to the eternal kingdom.

When I stopped looking for the one, that’s when God put us together. And in the time between, he was shaping me through my relationships and experiences to be ready to receive the love and partnership that Jonathan and I now have.

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Comments

  1. never look for the one, its when you are most focused on yourself, that one special one comes. I loved your idea about being close to god. Very important.

  2. Thank you for sharing this story. I’m struggling with figuring out what to do with my love life, and this has helped confirm certain things that I already knew but didn’t want to admit. Thank you again, and best of love, laughter, and luck in your marriage!

  3. Such a great story. I strongly believe all younger women need to read this story before chasing for a man that doesn’t give a crap.

  4. Such a wonderful read. I love you girl. You always radiate positive energy. And I pray that God will keep blessing you and your husband. You will both win at this thing called life!! May God keep walking with you guys always

  5. God is faithful!! Such an encouraging narrative. Currently in the “I’m focused on God” phase but girl I know the foolishness that was my “project” and my “he’s christian so it can work” phases. So glad to see that the wait is totally worth it.

  6. Such a lovely story of God working it all out both for your good and His glory!!! Beautifully narrated. I never experred that video? cracked me up.

  7. ? girl! Plastic bag guy tho???!! When I look back at some of my dating choices, I definitely know that God saved me from myself many a times. God is indeed faithful. And congrats on Jonathan’s glow up. ?

  8. I loved reading this!!! Congratulations again to both of you for your union. I will gladly continue to wait to meet the man intended for me. Sorry, Mom, I’m not going to rush it!

  9. Time and experiences teaches us how to make the best decisions! Clearly Jonathan was the one for you ? blessings to both of you always!