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The Answer to all our Relationship Questions: Our Eyes

I'm Stephanie May Wilson!

I'm an author and podcaster and my specialty is helping women navigate big decisions, life transitions — creating lives they love.

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When I worked in college ministry, our office had a pink Magic 8 Ball that sat in a basket on our windowsill as kind of a joke.

During intense conversations, or early-morning meetings we’d pick it up and shake it, gazing down at the answer absentmindedly.

The 8 Ball was great like that. With just a small shake, it produced an answer. It would even answer questions that you hadn’t even asked.

And the best part of all was that if you didn’t like the answer, you could shake it again. And the trusty Magic 8 Ball would often change its mind.

Don’t we wish God worked that way?

The biggest questions we ask in our lives, I’m convinced, have to do with our hearts.

Who am I going to marry?

Should we be together?

Is that man my husband?

Those questions keep us up at night. They’re the questions that have us polling our friends—hoping that one of them will have an answer that fits.

And they’re the answers we doubt most, going back and checking over and over again for that extra bit of reassurance.

I’ve asked every one of those questions in the last several years—wanting to make a good decision, protect myself, and ultimately be obedient to God.

Our relationships have an enormous impact on our lives, and I wanted to do it right.

But as we ask each other these questions, fill our journals with their cries, and seek wise counsel for an answer that seems to work, I want to suggest a tool that is often overlooked.

It’s a tool that we all possess, and that we rarely use—depending on our other senses for answers and guidance.

And that tool is our eyes.

So often we look for answers in the things that aren’t yet seen, or that we believe to be hidden out of view.

We believe in our hearts that it’s going to work out, despite the fact that all signs actually point to no. 

But most of the time our eyes will tell us what we need to know—helping us make wise decisions if we decide to use them and believe what they see.

We want to know who we’re going to marry. But a friend of mine likes to say that she knew who she was going to marry because she stood next to him at the end of the aisle and said “I do.”

We want to know if we should be with a certain person or not. But our eyes reveal so much about this too.

Look at his life—look at the people who come in contact with him and the ways he impacts them. Look at the trail he leaves behind. Does he do what he says he’s going to do? Is he trustworthy? Is he responsible? Is he kind?

And now look at your relationship.

Does he treat you well? Do you trust him? Do you like being around him? Do you feel loved when he’s around?

We want to use our other senses—having people pray for a name, asking for confirmation, and often times receiving it. But it’s painful and confusing when the intangible signs seem to point to yes, but everything else seems to say no.

But I truly believe that God shows us much more with our eyes than we give him credit for.

If that man is your husband, a good indication will be your relationship. Does he know you? Does he like you? Is he pursuing you? Are you dating?

Yes, those things have to begin at some point. But if that man is going to be your husband—make no mistake—they will begin.

But the biggest key to relationships is not just your eyes, but trusting what they see.

So often we use selective vision—seeing what benefits the outcome we desire instead of what’s actually there. We think that this is the last train leaving the station—and we’d rather be with someone than end up alone.

We date people who aren’t kind to us and hold out for someone who doesn’t even know our name.

But the clues we most often want to ignore usually tell us the most about what we’re actually getting ourselves into.

And this is important. Because this is where our faith comes in.

By ending things we know aren’t good—or saying no when we don’t know if we’ll have a chance to say yes, we’re actually trusting God. We’re trusting that we serve a God that’s bigger than we could ever imagine.

We're believing that God is capable of creating a person who is truly good, and kind, and loving—someone who we actually like instead of settling for something less.

And so as you’re trying to make a decision—whatever that decision may be—use your eyes. Be strong and courageous and look for the facts unfolding in front of you—you will be so glad that you did.

I know I am.

What are your eyes telling you? What do you see about your relationships right now?

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  1. Meredith S says:

    Wow, God knew I needed this this morning! After getting engaged recently I feel like I have been arguing with my fiance more than ever! Which is causing me to second-guess myself. But he treats me with love and respect and he loves the Lord and I see the evidence of a good man in his life every day. Instead of asking a zillion friends I need to use what God has given me and have faith. Thank you for this blessing!

    • Stephanie May says:

      Thank you so much for reading! Oh, how engagement offers us opportunities to argue. Could there be more logistics to figure out?? I love your point here because I find myself in the same position. When I take the time to look at Carl, and to see what a wonderful man he is, my heart becomes so calm. Instead of listening to my zingy emotions that are so easily influenced by basically everything around me. Look at the man you’re going to marry, and ask the Lord to help you see who he truly is—the love that’s in his heart, and the goodness that’s within his soul. I’m praying peace and love over both of you tonight!

  2. Catherine says:

    Thank you. I wish I had known this in college, but really maybe the only way to learn this is to live it.

    • Stephanie May says:

      All I have to say to that is, Amen. I really do think we have to learn it. But if someone can learn it the easier way, I really hope they do! Thanks so much for reading. 🙂 Your comments are such a blessing to me.

  3. […] Read more over at The Answer to all our Relationship Questions: Our Eyes. […]

  4. Julia says:

    I like this. The question I keep thinking of though is how emotions play into this and doubt and even grace (up to a certain extent, without condoning obviously unacceptable behavior.) Because negative emotions or even a bad day can blind us from seeing the good that’s right in front of us. Isn’t it possible that our eyes can deceive us as well, causing us to focus on someone else’s flaws instead of the qualities that make the relationship worthwhile and good? I guess it’s a balance. I remember one of your posts where you talked about telling Carl your doubts and he said he wasn’t scared of that, and that what he said was an important component of a relationship. If he just trusted what he saw then would he have been having faith inthe relationship? I’m just sorting through my thoughts here, that’s all 🙂

    • Stephanie May says:

      Hey Julia,
      You brought up really good points here. Thank you so much for taking the time, and for making me think!

      There is such a place for grace and for giving each other the space and the permission to have bad days and doubting moments. I’m thankful for grace every single day, because Lord knows I need it.

      I think that more of what I was referencing were the behaviors and traits that are real deal breakers. Sometimes I think in our quest to stick it out, or to show unconditional love, we attach ourselves to people who really don’t treat us well, or who just aren’t good for us. And this is what I’m advocating for noticing.

      We want the relationship to work out, and so we choose not to see the glaring red flags that are waving right in front of us. Or we worry that we won’t have another chance and so we hold onto things when it’s best for us to let go.

      You’re absolutely right that our emotions blind us. I find that happening in my life so often. But I find that when I focus on what my eyes can physically see—on Carl treating me with kindness, or my friends making an intentional effort to be close to me—when I focus on what’s happening around me, it clears up the foggy vision of my emotions, and helps me see the reality of what’s there.

      And in all of this, I really do believe that time reveals a lot. The more time we spend with people the better we get to know them—the more we understand what’s a blip and a bad day, or something we should be legitimately concerned about. We find that place where grace exists, and where fighting for ourselves—our emotional, physical, and spiritual safety begins.

      Thank you for your thoughtful questions. They’ve caused me to dig even deeper. Email me if you’d like to talk about this more! I would love to hear from you!


  5. Christina says:

    Hi Stephanie! Thank you for posting this — this was such a well-timed word. I am struggling to reconcile what my eyes see with trying not to “lean on my own understanding” (Prov. 3:5-6). When I look my relationship with the guy that I like, we are good friends, we understand each other , and we both care for one another. What I see is that our personalities and passions intersect, and that our hearts are moving towards the same ministry. What I don’t see is that he likes me back and he isn’t pursuing me. I fear that I lead myself on when I look at the good things that seem to point to a “yes” and I have trouble dealing with what I don’t see that points to a “no.” What do you think?

    • Stephanie May says:

      I hear you Christina. That’s so tricky. I know exactly what it feels like to see someone and go, “but God… this would work out SO WELL!” And I think that’s totally fine. I’ve given him more than one suggestion along the way, although he hasn’t necessarily taken them. But I think it gets tricky when we allow ourselves to see things that aren’t there. I know that I’ve been so guilty of misinterpreting signs, or seeing signs that definitely weren’t there. Seeing a guy and noticing how great he is is one thing. But you’re absolutely right. The hard part is dealing with the “no’s” we really don’t want to see. But here’s the thing, and I’m learning this as we speak. God says no so many times, because he honestly has a greater yes in mind. I’m so, so glad that he said no as often as he did. Because this yes is better than anything I had in mind for myself. Email me, and we can talk about this more if you’d like! 🙂

      • Christina says:

        That is so true. There hasn’t been a time when God said “no” and didn’t pull through with a better “yes” in the end, even if it meant a painful in-between. In fact, Jesus faced the ultimate “No” on the cross when he reached out for his father’s guidance, so that we could receive an emphatic “YES!” whenever we ask God for help. How can I not trust this beautiful God?! 🙂

  6. Joanna says:

    This was exactly what I needed to read today. I just went thorough a situation like this that actually came to a crashing end last night. I only wanted to believe what my heart was feeling for a guy as opposed to the obvious signs that were clear as day in front of me. Thank you so much for this. It gives me hope that if I can trust in what God is showing me and trust in his no’s I will find a greater yes thats waiting for me!

  7. Lennart says:

    Thanks Stephanie for your insightful thoughts. They very much resonate with the situation, I am currently in. Never knew that choosing a mate, would make one introspect and grind you to the core. Above all, the hope of overcoming one’s trepidations by trusting in the Lord, that’s the crux.

  8. […] A great tool for figuring out what kind of guy you’re with […]

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