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Kristen’s Love Story with Zack – Part 2

By: Kristen Clark

“With the sun setting over the beautiful Texas hill country, Zack got down on one knee and asked me to become his wife. As a gorgeous diamond ring sparkled in front of me, I looked into his brown eyes and couldn’t imagine spending my life with anyone else. With tears of joy streaming down my face, I emphatically said, “Yes!” After a big hug, Zack put the ring on my finger and we just stood there soaking in this incredible moment.

I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that Zack Clark was the man I wanted to marry. He was the man I had been praying for since I was fourteen. He was the man I wanted to spend my life serving God with.” -Excerpt taken from Love Defined.

How Did I Know Zack Was “The One.”

In part one of this post, I shared the beginning stages of my friendship and relationship with Zack and what that process of dating looking like for us. If you missed it, take a moment to go read it here, then come back. In that post, I ended at a crucial point in my story. Zack and I had built an intentional friendship, we had asked tons of good questions, we sought outside counsel, we then entered into a serious relationship, we began asking even deeper questions of one another, we continued seeking wise counsel and praying — and then, there we were. Ready to decide whether or not we should get married.

Since this was a life-altering decision for both of us, we didn’t want to treat it casually.

I remember laying in my bed one with my mind swirling with thoughts about Zack and my our potential future together. As I thought about Zack’s character, I knew he was a man of integrity and godly maturity. As I thought about his relationship with God, I knew he was a man who sincerely loved Jesus personally and wanted to be the spiritual leader for his future family. As I thought about his worldview and personal morals, I knew he was a man who firmly believed in the authority of the Bible and who earnestly pursued purity in his life.

I thought. And thought. And thought. And then I smiled. Zack Clark was amazing.

Why wouldn’t I want to spend the rest of my life with this guy?!

I’m often asked the question, “How did you know Zack was the one?” This is a good question to ask, but I think we often complicate it more than we need to. “Although this popular question seems mysterious and complex, it’s really not. It’s much simpler than we make it out to be. The process of discovering if a man is the one is just that—a process. You won’t know right away. In fact, you won’t know until you’ve spent a good amount of time getting to know him.” —Love Defined,

Discerning the one isn’t a magical and mysterious search to find your “soulmate.” It’s not even about finding Mr. Perfectly-fits-you-in-every-way. It’s about getting to know the heart of man, and then ultimately deciding if you want to spend the rest of your life loving him.

Infatuation fades. Butterflies fade. Good looks fade. Feelings fade. But character lasts. Godliness matures. Friendship deepens. In the end, finding the one is about committing your life to another person until death do you part. It’s about choosing to live your entire life with one guy as your closest teammate.

It’s about choosing to selflessly love someone for a very, very long time.

I came to this point with Zack. I was ready and joyfully willing to commit my life to him. And Zack came to that same point for me. That’s how we knew we wanted to get married. That’s how we knew we were “the ones” for each other.

Now that I’m almost 7 years into my marriage with Zack, I am so grateful that we didn’t marry each other based on infatuation and emotions. I am so grateful that we took time to get to know one another, and made the choice to commit our lives to each other. This has been especially helpful as we’ve discovered that marriage isn’t a piece of cake.

When two sinners live day-in and day-out with one another, selfishness happens. Pride kicks in. Loving each other is challenging when you’re tired, hungry, self-focused, and just want your way. You plain don’t feel like loving them. That’s why being firmly committed to one another is crucial. Choosing to love when you don’t feel like it is essential for working through hard moments. 

What I Learned During My First Year of Marriage.

I still love Zack like crazy. He is my best friend and I’m always anxious to spend more time with him. But early on, I discovered that I needed him too much. Here’s what I mean. I desired Zack’s security and required his affirmation to an unbiblical extent. Rather than looking to my relationship with Christ for total satisfaction, I would try to find it in Zack. Rather than taking my problems to Christ first in prayer, I would run to Zack’s arms. Rather than expressing my fears to God, I would worry and complain to Zack.

This put immense pressure on Zack. I was looking to him for things that only Christ can fill. Zack wasn’t created to carry that burden. 

Thankfully, after a while of this, Zack graciously (and very sweetly) helped me to see that I was looking to him to be my Savior, and not to Christ. This realization was extremely eye-opening and freeing for me. I didn’t instantly transform, but my heart was changing.

My longings were turning back towards Christ.

As Psalm 42:1-2a says, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

As a deer pants for water, my soul was finally panting after the right God. This instantly changed our marriage for the better. 

As you think about your potential future marriage (or if you’re already married), I can’t encourage you enough to place your hope in God. Even now, be intentional to find your satisfaction, identity, and fulfillment in your relationship with Jesus Christ. No man, no matter how cute he is, can meet the deepest longings of your heart like Jesus can. We were created for intimacy with our Savior. That is how we thrive.

My love story with Zack is just a snippet of God’s grace in my life.

God has used both singleness and marriage to reveal my need for Him. I am so grateful for that.

As God writes your love story, I want to encourage you with the same words I wrote in Love Defined, “Always put your hope in God above anything else. Find your full satisfaction in Christ alone. Before you commit your heart to one man, make sure your heart is fully devoted to the Man. By keeping Christ at the center of your heart and wisely marrying a man of godly character, you will lay a strong foundation for glorifying God in your marriage.

I hope you’ll grab a copy of our new book Love Defined: Embracing God’s Vision for Lasting Love and Satisfying Relationships.  If you preorder by April 30th, you’ll get an entire package of free bonuses too (which includes the full audiobook and coloring book).

I’d love to hear from you below!

  • After reading this post, has your perspective changed about how to “find the one?” 
  • In what ways do you need to pursue a deeper relationship with Christ instead of looking to guys/marriage for your satisfaction?

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17 Responses to Kristen’s Love Story with Zack – Part 2

  1. Malgorzata Kleczkowska says:

    Thank you, Kristen! I’m 18 and I always wanted to be married young, but I live in the UK and there aren’t many godly guys I know well (come to think of it, there aren’t many guys I know well either!!) Lately I had been thinking about whether it really is that important to marry a guy carefully and only a guy who is really passionate about Jesus… your post encouraged me to keep on waiting and NOT compromise. Thank God I have never been in a position where I was really tempted to do that. I’m convinced now that there are godly guys out there and that I need to keep my standards high.. even if it means I don’t marry early. Thank you!

    • Heather says:

      I have the same problem Malgorzata! I live in the U.K. and don’t know any godly guys, so I sometimes get really discouraged that I’ll never get married. I’m 23 and single, and have never dated, and I’m happy with that…for now. I have the fear that I’ll be single forever…and that’s the part I struggle with.

      • Malgorzata Kleczkowska says:

        I’m scared of staying single too. It’s like so few of us in the UK have churches which have more than a few young people, and usually those who are there aren’t the kind of guys we’d want to actually marry and spend the rest of our lives with. I know I’m only 18 so I haven’t had to wait as long as you… but knowing how few godly guys I know now I can’t see a huge chance of having a husband anytime soon. I also feel like most guys my age are going to university now so they’ll meet girls there or our paths won’t cross anymore.

        • Heather says:

          Yes to everything you’ve said! I completely relate! There’s so few guys to start with, but either they’re not our type, or they’re not single haha! I think I’ve found you on Instagram – I followed you with my personal account as my blog account. If you ever want to talk, I’m here 🙂

          • Kate says:

            Dear sisters!! I can totally relate! When I was little I thought the ideal was that I would be married by 18 years old, just like my mama, and it would be just perfect my man would be exactly 2 years older than me. Between my years of 12-20 of course I had “crushes” and infatuation like most girls, but nothing was serious. I must add, I am homeschooled too. When I was 20 I determined that there were no good guys around. Living in a rural part of the US, we don’t really have too much social interaction with folks anyway, and there aren’t any good prospects at church. So I decided to just give it to God. To just serve Him and trust Him whatever it takes. I truly found peace in that decision and knew only the Lord could fully fulfil me. Well! A year later, I met a great guy… The Lord moves in mysterious ways!! I brought my horse 4 hours away to get bred, and come to find out, the people who own the stud is an awesome Christian family who had a very well mannered son who I was impressed with! Well, I didn’t let myself become infatuated. I prayed a lot and just waited. Well, I’m just about 23, and we just started courting!!
            So, ladies, I encourage you to just wait on the Lord and serve him by serving your family. ANYTHING is possible with God and if he wills, he will bring a wonderful young man! I encourage you to find your contentment and fulfillment in Christ and focus on serving Him in your current situation right where He has you right now.

            And… I have to add, my gentleman is almost 4 years younger than me…. I joke that God was just making me wait until the one He had for me grew up. Haha!!! But the Lord works in mysterious ways!! Just have to completely trust Him with everything.

    • Erika says:

      Same, only I’m 20 and from Austria (Yikes! I’d almost forgotten I was this old already). When I was younger my ideal was to get married at 16 (which is legal in Austria if you have your parents’ consent), but then as time wentt on that didn’t seem realistic anymore, so I changed it to 18. Well that age has come and gone and at 18 I’d decided to at least know who I was going to marry by the time I was 20 …. Well here I am, still single, never even had a potential boyfriend and don’t even have anyone at church that is my age. I pretty much have to rely on God just sending me someone or letting me meet soneone from another country. And that kind of trust is kind of hard.

      But then I look at the apartment I share with my father and brother and am kind of glad my future husband doesn’t know what a terrible housekeeper I am. (Though I intend to improve, which will be easier once I’m done with school)

      • Malgorzata Kleczkowska says:

        Goodness, you sound so like me:) For a long time I was going to get married this summer, just before I turn 19. I guess I was naively hoping somebody would appear right after I turn 18… and it kind of hurts that my dreams came crashing down like that. I’ve never had anybody who liked me and none of my three older siblings are married, so you kind of start wondering what’s wrong with us!
        Because I’m homeschooled (finishing this summer), I always spent a lot of time with just my family, and now I only see guys who are at least three years younger than me at our monthly homeschooling families meeting. I’m also the only one in my church between 16 and 21 and there is only one other young person between 16 and 37, besides me and my older brothers. I’ve had crushes on this guy in the past, but there’s no way I could have this kind of relationship like Kristen described.
        I think that since our circumstances are obviously far different from Kristen’s, we need to read articles like this to learn and see what a good friendship-dating-marriage relationship would look like, but we need to remember to let God write our love stories (if it’s His will)… to have high standards but not necessarily everything planned out and a bunch of pet ideas that things HAVE to go like we want them to!

  2. Lucine Boloyan says:

    This post and Part I have been so helpful to me. To be honest, I know that watching too many romantic comedies has tainted my understanding of Godly love in dating and marriage relationships. I became obsessed with the idea of love at first sight: seeing someone and just knowing that he is “the one”. However, you showed me through this post that love is a choice, not a feeling. It’s about actively deciding to love someone because God has guided me to do so. I love how you said that knowing someone is “the one” involves getting to know them and not infatuation. Reading that just brought peace to my soul because the Godly approach to growing in intimacy is so much more pure, disciplined, and meaningful. I know that I need to work on spending time with the guy (and girl) friends, as well as my family, who bring me closer to God instead of focusing on the guys I meet at college that I know are not for me. This can be difficult when the butterfly feelings start to arise, but it is something that I am currently working on and praying on. Thanks, Kristen!

  3. Bentley Miller says:

    Thank you Kristen and Bethany for always pointing us to Christ! I always thought it would be good to totally trust and follow the lead of my future husband, which I still do, but you have helped me realize that I was putting too much trust into that idea that would lead me to idolize my future husband, and not make following God my first priority. I was making getting married and following my husband my life goal and not following God. Thanks for all you do to always point back to God, and helping me realize I can’t put so much expectation in my future husband being perfect and all-that-I-need.

  4. Shanae B says:

    Thanks Kristen for the encouragement towards intentionality in romantic relationships and for being an example of sticking to it with Gods help! 🙂

  5. Molly Creaser-Ogden says:

    Thank you so much for this blog post. I loved reading this and seeing how it is that you have built such an amazing relationship with both GOD and Zack.

  6. Grace says:

    This really changed my perspective on finding the one. I think before reading this post I had my own beliefs on who the one was. And although I’m not planning to be in a relationship anytime soon . This was really helpful . Thank you

  7. Melissa L says:

    What a beautiful love story. This gives me hope and makes me truly want to wait for the right one. I know God has a plan for every aspect of my life including my love story, and yours is another encouragement to keep trusting Him.

  8. Catherine-Anne says:

    Truly inspirational :D!

  9. Ann Mathews says:

    Kristen, I’m so glad you came to this great realisation. My mother also came to this realisation very soon after marriage. And hence in spite of the immense difficulties and persecutions she is going through, she is still together with my dad, loving him unconditionally because of the unconditional love poured onto her from Christ.

  10. bethany pottinger says:

    I love that even though i can’t afford the book they still bless us with guidance from it. Truly appreciated.

  11. Nola says:

    Omg!! The man does not have to be the spiritual leader!!! We are ALL called to be spiritual leaders and both the man and the woman should be leading one another closer to Christ. What does being a leader even mean?! I don’t think you even know.

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