“I know she wanted to fall in love. I just hope she fell in love with the right guy.”
I was looking at an acquaintance’s engagement photos on social media recently, and found myself thinking that very thought.
If you follow my blog posts or my relationship podcast, you’ll know that I’m not an fan of the philosophy that says there is “just one person” out there for each of us to marry. I don’t believe in finding “the one“, but I do believe that once you choose someone to marry – they become “the one“.
So, when I say “I hope she fell in love with the right guy”, I’m not referring to the theoretical needle-in-the-haystack. I’m not hoping that she stumbled across, “the one and only one” for her life. No, that’s not what I mean at all.
When I say that I hope she fell in love with the right guy, what I mean is that I hope she fell in love with someone who’s a right match for her life. Someone who is a good match for her life.
Finding someone who is a good match for our lives is something people don’t often think about, especially in the wake of the hangover of “feeling in love”.
But when we follow our feelings into love, we can also follow our feelings right back out of love.
There’s got to be more keeping us than feelings.
Do you believe it’s possible to fall in love with the wrong person?
I get that question thrown at me often. So, I will go ahead and wholeheartedly say, YES – I do believe it’s possible to fall in love with the wrong person. In fact, I think it happens all the time, every single day.
As a professional counselor, I work with many couples who come to me with major problems and issues that have surfaced through marriage.
They might have differences in their communication abilities, problems with how they manage conflict, deep seated issues or traumatic experiences they’ve never dealt with, personality differences, etc. But other times, there are much bigger problems. Honesty issues. Trust issues. Addictive behaviors. Character problems. Power struggles.
There are so many red flags that get ignored or shoved under the table in the name of “falling in love”. Yet if we’re actively looking for them, the red flags of marriage often trace back to the red flags in dating.
So many times, we look to chemistry to tell us what works in a marriage rather than looking at compatibility.
But when chemistry wanes, all that’s left is a lack of compatibility that brings people to the harsh reality that maybe, just maybe, they fell in love with the wrong person. That maybe, just maybe, they didn’t make the wisest marital choice when it came to finding the things that really matter in a relationship: character, connection, and compatibility. (READ MORE: 5 People You Should Never Marry).
The majority of my audience at TrueLoveDates.com are Christian singles, looking ahead at marriage. I write this article primarily for you. I want you to realize that it is possible to “fall in love” with the wrong person, and when you let feelings lead the way you will end up getting hurt every single time.
Feelings have got to be part of the equation, but there’s got to be more than feelings. Because there’s so much more to a healthy, life-long marriage than how we feel about someone in the moment. Take a few steps back by understanding who you are, so that you know the type of person who fits into your story from the type of person who doesn’t.
But even as I write these words, I am fully aware that there are those of you reading this who feel like you’ve made a bad marital choice. You ignored all the red flags and warning signs, and married the “wrong person”. You committed your life to someone who wasn’t the best match for your life – worse yet, someone who wasn’t a match at all.
You rushed into love on the wave of feelings, and now the wave has crashed and you find yourself drowning in its midst.
My encouragement to you is this: even if you didn’t choose a good match, you can still become a good match.There are choices that you can make TODAY, to build a better marriage for TOMORROW. Choices to get you healthy, and move your relationship toward healthy as well. It’s possible. It’s achievable. And it’s absolutely worth the process.
I have seen God take two people, so far from my expectation of a good match, and weave their broken lives together in a remarkable way. He is the Healer of all things, and as He begins to heal you from the inside out, He can also heal your relationship. The process won’t be easy, and it won’t be without it’s fair share of work. But the outcome will be worth it.
If you’re struggling to know what makes a good match in dating or how to become a good match in marriage, pick up a copy of Choosing Marriage: Why IT Has To Start With We > Me, and start making the choices that will change your life and in turn, your love life. Because a huge part to marrying the right person, is becoming the right person.
A version of this post originally appeared on True Love Dates on December 5th, 2018. Used by permission.
DEBRA FILETA is a Licensed Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of Choosing Marriage and True Love Dates. She’s also the host of the hotline style Love + Relationships Podcast. Her popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, reaches millions of people with the message of healthy relationships. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twi