Signs, Signs, Everywhere the Signs


About ten years ago, my boyfriend Ken and I were contemplating marriage. I was  as scared as a pregnant porcupine.

Back then, I was more of a “pray them up, knock em down, move em out” Christian, and I really put a lot of stock in signs. I would pray for them all the time. “God if you really want me to marry him, please have someone stand on their head in the middle of this convenience store.” Stuff like that.

I fasted several times for the relationship, begging for signs  from God. I did one especially long fast. I started out with water only. Soon, I was throwing cherry pie into the blender.  I was on the verge of trying steak smoothie when I finally got my answer in the middle of the night.

I had a dream that I opened my bible to Fourth Chronicles. That was the whole dream.

I woke up the next day, and being the astute Christian scholar that I am, realized that there was no Fourth Chronicles. So I looked up I Chronicles 4 instead.

These were the shocking words that I read that day:
“The sons of Judah: Judah begat Pharez, Hezron, and Carmi, and Hur, and Shobal. These are the families of the Zorathites.”

Bingo. That was it. I was supposed to marry him.

Okay, that’s not really what happened. I was more like “what the heck is this? Come on God. I wanted a sign and I got a bunch of begets?”

Almost as a joke, I said, “God, if I’m supposed to marry Ken, put a version of his name in here.”

I turned the page and there it was, clear as day.

“These are the men of Rechah. And these are the sons of Kenaz.”

Kenaz certainly sounded like the Hebrew version of Ken to me. I had my answer.

What happened next? I will give you one hint. I am still the sexy celibate and it is ten years later.

Many years passed. Another serious boyfriend and I, let’s call him Gavin, were praying about whether or not we should get married. During the course of our relationship, he had really struggled with whether he loved me or not. We had separated into different cities for a season, (you know, the whole “we’re taking a break to pray” deal that actually means “we’re freaking out.”)  We had met together to reevaluate and he said that he wanted to move to my town and pursue making a long term commitment. I was worried that he would still struggle with whether he loved me or not and was very hesitant for him to move.

Soon after, I went to visit my mom. She said “Kate, I saved this for you.” She handed me a game of boggle she had been playing. If you haven’t seen boggle before, there are little dice with letters on them that you shake and they randomly come up on the playing board. Then you compete to find short words. Clear as day, the words “Gavin is in love” were on the little squares. I mean, out  of 16  letters, those were the ones that happened to be rolled. I have the picture to prove it.

What are the odds of that?

I had my sign. And my mom had 20 more boggle points.

Gavin and I broke up three weeks later.

I have a new philosophy on dating now, one that makes a lot more sense to me.

Step 1: Dating is about getting good information on whether or not this is a good match. Try to get good information every day.

Step 2: As you get more information, be very conscious of “your truth”- what is going on inside of you emotionally and logically. Remember that it is very wise to try to look at the fruit of something when it is still a seed.

Step 3: Don’t ask yourself whether you should get married too fast. Just ask yourself whether it sounds fun to spend the next holiday with him or her.

Step 4: Over time, when you get enough good information, prayerfully make a decision about whether the best thing is to get married or to break up.

Marriage, my friends, is serious business. And many of us in the believing community have created a culture where we feel pressured to know if we should get married within the first few dates. (I will post more on this later.) This can be dangerous. A decision this important deserves respect and time.

The truth is, if you get a sign, that may be good information, but it is not even close to all the information you need. If you “just know” the minute you go on a date with someone, that is good information, but it is not all the information you need.

I do believe God can use signs as part of your journey towards a decision, but you should’t depend on them. You have to remember that He can use other means to speak to you as well.

Sometimes he can use answers to practical questions. How does your boyfriend treat his mother? How does your girlfriend handle stress? Is he kind to people even in difficult circumstances? Does he talk well about me in front of other people, even in private? Do we love each other even when our projections of each other have finally been lowered, a process that can take months or even years? Would she be a good mother?  Do we communicate well? Do we have fun together? Are we a good match?

These are questions that take time to answer. Do not rush answering them.

I have learned that the reason I asked God for signs is because I was scared. I wanted Him to make decisions for me. Now, I have grown up. I want to make decisions with Him.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you have your own stories of signs gone right or wrong? Do you think dating this way makes sense? Have you ever been as scared as a pregnant porcupine?

16 thoughts on “Signs, Signs, Everywhere the Signs

  1. Hey Kate. Great post. I’ve had so many signs over so many years I couldnt begin to name them. It doesn’t matter anyhow because I’m still single. Let me give you some real signs Ive noticed with people who actually got married. Do you get to talking and completely lose track of time? ( What? It’s four am? No! It was like 11 ten minutes ago!) Do you make each other laugh? Laughter is good medicine. Does your community assume you belong together? Is it obvious to everyone you are good together? Does your dad like him? Your dad is your covering until you are married. Is dad willing to give this guy the job or does dad think he’s a bozo? Do you have anything in common? Enough to fill a lifetime? Are you in the same place in life? If he plans to trek across Asia for five years and you are 40 and want babies you are not in the same place. Are you crazy attracted to each other? One of they best couples I know has been blissfully married for forty five years. They say you just have to be crazy falling over in Love. May all of us who seek it find THAT!

  2. Hello Katie! I just stumbled across your highly entertaining writings and I just had to leave you a comment. What blogger doesn’t love comments? I read a few of your posts and found them to be beautifully authentic, charmingly witty, and filled with wonderful nuggets of truth. There were many moments, in reading your words, that I thought to myself, “we would SO be friends.” On the page, that statement makes me sound like a Valley Girl, but I assure you that’s not the case.

    Though I am not struggling with my own single status (I’m rather overjoyed by it), I have in the past, and it’s amazing to see that God teaches the same lessons to each of us if only we’ll listen. The classrooms couldn’t be more different, but He is the same. I can only imagine how many women have been encouraged, challenged, and empowered by your blog. I look forward to reading more!

  3. So absolutely true, and such great advice. I’ve been guilty in the past of doing the “signs” thing not just in the area of relationships. Now I realize that God gives us common sense for a reason, and we’re supposed to interact with and observe REALITY, not some mystical thing that almost always simply turns out to be the whispering of our own desires and the projection of our own minds! Human beings are superstitious and we’re prone to seeing meaning (the meaning we want) where there is none. Be guided by the Spirit, common sense and wisdom, keep your eyes wide open, and ask the important day to day questions. That will be a far better guide.

    Thanks for your great blog!

  4. Wow, this post ‘spoke’ directly to me. Can’t tell you how many lists I’ve written and signs I’ve been on the look out for. Yet, single I still remain. There are so many games that folks play and being that I’m an honest/open girl, many times I just don’t get it. Why is it so hard to just have lighthearted fun, respect each others truths and just go from there. What is so hard about being honest about the desire to be loved? It is a natural human need. But in all of this, I am determined not to allow what I don’t have [a hubby] consume me. Yet instead enjoy the journey of this season of personal growth and touching the lives of others lives as I pass through. I once read that dating should not be looked upon as an appointment to screen a potential spouse, but more so an opportunity to add value to someone’s life. Growing up in a Christian home with parents that married very young, whom are still married 30+ years later, it has been difficult to adjust to dating without the focus being on … could this be ‘the one’? I used to be caught up on the ‘idea’ of being married, which can be quite a dangerous place to be in. The more experience I’m gaining as a singleton, not only has my list narrowed down to characteristics that are important long-term, but I’m beginning to be a bit more content and patient with myself during this whole dating thing. I haven’t gotten to the place where I’m ecstatic about it, but I’m better. Learning how to have fun with putting myself out there to become more available to at least make friends and enjoy life. The course of how relationships progress now days are much different. But through it all, I try to hold on to the fact that no matter how times change, God remains the same; He knows what’s best … when and how to bless.

  5. After a year of knowing my husband and two months of dating I really thought we would get married. I freaked! We didn’t get married for three more years.

    I am glad I took the time to freak out. My parents divorced after 21 years of marriage and I think I had a good reason to freak. Lots of people thought my freaking out meant we should break up. And I considered that wholeheartedly.

    I used to pray that God would tell me whether or not I should marry my husband. Then, one of the people I looked up to the most (a Christian who has an amazing marriage) told me she never asked God. That blew my mind.

    I think as Christian, and esp. as a Christian woman, I want to spiritualize everything. But, even non-Christians can have very good marriages. That is a fact.

    AS I considered all this, God only told me one thing: How about YOU choose who you marry. And then, stay married for life. That’s the best plan. I will help you with the second half. But, you get to make the choice.

    So, I did. And while I have had challenges in my marriage (like everyone) I am happily married after 12 years. No signs. Just a choice to keep my vow with the strength of Christ.

  6. Kate,
    I too am a sign fanatic, but like you I have also come to realize it inst going to be clear as day. I have been given many “signs” about guys over the years, showing me he would be “the One” and yet like you I am single ….over 30…staring down 40 and wondering why I was given those signs and they didn’t hold true. I know now that I think I was looking for confirmation of something I will never have, an absolute. I was afraid to fail at relationships so before I entered one I would look for a sign that would say yes this is the one.The last relationship was a real gut check to me when it ended abruptly. I had seen all the signs which lead us down happily ever after and ignored the one’s I should have been paying attention to instead. Now I am trying a new approach similar to the one you listed, listen to the information you are given about the person’s character and then decide if the things you hear make you want to know more or make you less interested. I also take the signs with a grain of salt…mainly because I am fully aware of this crutch I have and am fully convinced that the devil is to and likes to play with me.

  7. Pingback: Don’t Let A Boggle Game Tell Your Future « The Sexy Celibate

  8. “I was as scared as a pregnant porcupine.” HILARIOUS! I’ve never heard that before… too funny. (and ouch!)

    Signs from God aren’t so easy for me to see. I wish they were… I wish he’d write something across the sky for me to make my decision making a bit easier. But alas… I just have to pray and trust my gut.

  9. Well absolutely phooey on my computer – had a lovely response typed out before it decided to go on the fritz and erase my comment. Awesome. Either way – I can echo so many of the sentiments you described and have worked my way through so many of the steps, continuing to do so. I think I’ve had to pay special attention to Step 2, which I think is so vital. We can’t kid ourselves about what we see in ourselves or other people. If I’m looking for someone who wants to be invested in a ministry together as partners, then I shouldn’t kid myself about whether that person has any interest in doing something like that or not. Listening to the sounds bytes of my own heart is important. Thanks for sharing yours –

  10. Pingback: On Trying To Follow My Own Advice « The Sexy Celibate

  11. You have no idea how timely it is that I am reading this right now. God and I have been having recent, mind-boggling conversations about my obsession (not anymore!) with signs. He pretty much said, yeah, those are signs and you don’t have to completely discredit them since you were able to recognize them; however, maybe we should stop playing games, you should stop writing your own love story, and just let me take over. And then I said, WHAT?! I mean, okay…
    and now we are on a beautiful journey of me trying to figure out this big “trust” word. It’s really good.

  12. Wonderful post! (I love your blog so much.)

    I have two instances of signs:

    (1) Heartfelt prayer at 4am, after 3 years of singleness, asking for a Christian man to date and marry. 10 seconds later, a guy I’d been interested in, whom I hadn’t heard from in months invited me to come visit him (via text). I took that as a sign, and willfully ignored all of the other ‘signs’ (aka red flags) that showed he was very wrong for me!

    (2) My 10-year prophecy. God told me to wait 10 years. Other people have repeated this prophecy over time (including as recently as January this year). I calculated dates, figured on 18 months from meeting to marriage, and waited to meet my husband last October.

    It didn’t happen, so I told myself it was wrong and I was delusional and gave up. In March, I met someone very special.

    Of course, now I am FREAKING OUT because he’s Right On Schedule, only I don’t want to be in love because of a prophecy, I want to be in love because he’s the right man for me! It’s kind of the opposite; because I put so much faith in Signs my entire life and now I don’t want to, because what if it causes me to marry unwisely? But if I DO marry this man, then how amazing, what an incredible testament, of God’s promises this will be!

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