Hollywood, romance novels, and media drive us to an over-romanticized version of love, dating, and marriage. This version all too often sets us up for relationship failure rather than success. In reality, love, dating, and marriage are vastly different from what media makes them out to be. Romance sells and there’s a reason for it. We long for the romantic version of the story.
We take what we’ve seen in movies, books, and media and set out in search of “the one”, our soul mate. I’d like to offer that this concept of “finding the one” is a relatively new one. It’s new on the scene from when it appeared on the screen. Before scripted and printed stories, we mostly married out of necessity for provision and procreation. Love may have been a secondary hope but was often not the primary factor in the early version of marriage.
The reason you will never find “the one” is because “the one” does not exist.
Our quest to find “the one” is a myth. Think about it, if you marry “the one” that would mean there’s only one person for you. What happens if you get married and you start questioning your decision? If we’re honest, we all do that at some point. If you chose “the one” then why would you question them? What happens when your spouse passes away or leaves? Are you destined to be alone for the rest of your life? Is God’s plan for companionship for you over? We know that’s not the case. Many people find love again after divorce or death.
“A good marriage is not something you find—it’s something you make.” – Gary Thomas, A Sacred Search
If we were to find “the one” how would you explain arranged marriages that thrive? I realize some don’t survive but many of them do. Arranged marriages have been around much longer than our 21st century version. Point in case, Adam and Eve.
Gary Thomas proposes, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” This goes hand in hand with the faulty theory of finding “the one”. God created marriage for provision and procreation. (Genesis 1:27-28) God didn’t create marriage for us. He created marriage for Him. He intended for marriage to fulfill the gospel and to illustrate His love for the Church. Assuming that God only has one person for one person is way too limiting for His creative purpose. What if you married the wrong one? You would be taking away someone else’s “the one”? And then whatever is God to do??? *insert sarcastic gasp… God is bigger than that.
Finding “the one” or our “soul mate” would imply that love is selfish because you’re all about looking for someone to complete you. To fulfill you. To make you happy. That is not God’s purpose of marriage or love.
“Finding a ‘soul mate’ — someone who will complete us. The problem with looking to another human to complete us is that, spiritually speaking, it’s idolatry. We are to find our fulfillment and purpose in God . . . and if we expect our spouse to be ‘God’ to us, he or she will fail every day. No person can live up to such expectations.”
— Gary Thomas
About 30 years ago when my now husband and I first met, I wasn’t looking for my “the one”. He wasn’t either. For the few years we knew each other before we decided to marry, he would jokingly (but somewhat seriously) say, “I’m not getting married until I’m rich or 40.” We, along with our friends, would all laugh. We went about our lives until God started drawing our hearts together. We married at 21 and he was not rich. We are probably as opposite as they come but we confidently know that we are meant to be together. Is it easy to stay together? No. Because he is not “the one”. We could have probably had a good marriage with someone else but God saw fit to draw us together to fulfill His plan. We’ve been married for 27 years now. By man’s standards we shouldn’t still be married but by God’s design, and by our obedience paired with His grace, we are. What we have realized in our marriage and so many others is that “the one” truly is a myth. Love doesn’t keep a marriage together, commitment does.
If you think that all I’ve written so far is a “pile of hooey” (as us old folk say) and you’d like to continue the quest of finding “the one”, here are a few suggestions to at least head you down a good path:
*Don’t expect perfection. – No one is perfect. Profound, I know, but we seem to trip ourselves up on this one.
*Look in the right places. – Do you want to find someone in a bar or in church? Run towards God and look to either side to see who is running with you.
*Stop looking for you. – If you want someone just like you then what’s the point? You don’t want to marry yourself. And if you do, then again, what’s the point.
*Listen to your godly friends. – Don’t listen to your “bad idea” friends. You know who they are. Listen to those you respect and trust. Often they see things we don’t see.
*Don’t choose the wrong one. – Don’t make choices with someone that could take you down the wrong path and keep you from finding God’s best for you.
*Pray for “the one”. – God hears the prayers of our heart. Pray for the desire of your heart to line up with His. It can’t hurt.
And most importantly…
*Love God first. – If you’re hung up on finding “the one” then I strongly suggest you choose THE One. Marry God first. Then let Him help you find your #2. You’re going to want to be their #2 also.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 (NIV)
Andrea Stunz finds joy in her family, grace in her friends, beauty in a story, purpose in the sunrise, wonder in her travels, and hope in Colossians 1:17. Find more from her at AndreaStunz.com.