As a law student, I stayed away from any serious romantic entanglements. I dated, but casually, as I set my sights on a successful legal career. I’d seen my mother struggle as a single mom, and I did not want my success “limited” by where a boyfriend or fiancé might land a job.
I stayed single into my 30s, climbing the law firm rungs slowly and traveling around the country with any downtime I could spare. I’d lived all over the country growing up and I was willing to go anywhere and do anything.
Then I met my husband. I fell madly in love with this man who still lived in the same city he was born and raised in. He’d even gone to college in town and has held on to the same job since graduating. He lived a few minutes from the house he grew up in and his idea of travel meant driving a couple hours to spend weekends at the family farm.
After a couple of years of working through what those, and other differences meant, we got married. We are approaching our ten year anniversary with six year old triplets.
But I have watched my friends struggle as they feel called to move in one direction professionally and their fiancé/husband does not. Or harder still, he feels called in an entirely different direction. I can completely relate as I’ve gone through these struggles myself.
When a career opportunity arises for you, it may mean different work hours, less flexibility, a longer commute, or moving to a new city, state, or country altogether.
How do you decide what to do when the opportunity seems divinely appointed, but the person you love is not on board? From the relationships I’ve seen, this can take the form of an unsupportive partner, a reluctant partner, or a partner who would have to sacrifice his path to make yours work.
These are hard situations. And there is no simple answer. But as I’ve walked through these challenges, this is what I have found:
1. Realize God has a purpose, plan, and call for BOTH of you. Both you and the man you love have been created uniquely by God for a specific purpose. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Put his name in that verse as well as yours.
2. Pray for wisdom. Sometimes the door is opened for you to walk through now. Sometimes, it’s cracked for you to see what He’s planning for you on the other side. The encouragement of knowing He will promote you must be balanced by wisdom to seek His timing in all of it. I love The Message translation of I Peter 5, “So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.
3. Pray for God to move everything into place. One verse I cling to in times of stress over whether my choice will be the right one for us together or whether my husband’s choice will be the right one for us together is Revelation 3:7, “These are the words of him who is holy and true… What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” In case you’ve forgotten, NOTHING is impossible with God! (Luke 1:37) Nothing! If this is God’s divine appointment for this time, then nothing will be able to shut the door He opens for you.
4. Talk (and listen). Be willing to share your hopes and dreams. Share with your partner how you feel about the opportunity and then be willing to listen. What does he want and why is he worried or concerned about this new opportunity for you? If he is a believer, then start praying together about how God can develop and promote each of you. God’s a huge fan of marriage. He wants your marriage to work, and can achieve His purpose and plan for each of you individually by working in the two of you collectively.
Hang in there, you will find a way to succeed in your personal and professional life if you rely on God to direct your steps. And remember Ecclesiastes 4:9, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” (NLT)