How do you find the right husband or wife? Is he or she “the one”? Finding a spouse seems so easy for some, but what about everyone else? When Mr. or Miss Right doesn’t seem to be on the horizon, many are left wondering …
“What if I’ve missed the one? What if I turned down the one because I didn’t know if I was ready? What if I marry the wrong person? What if this isn’t the one God wants?”
My wife and I found that when looking for a future spouse, most people tend to put the focus on the other person, instead of themselves. The issue isn’t about finding the one, it’s about being the one.
Peter Haile, in his book The Difference God Makes, seems to agree, saying:
“To be told [by God], ‘Jim, you are to marry Nancy,’ will be very unusual. I won’t say that it will never happen, but it is highly unlikely. Why? Because, compared with whether Jim trusts and loves God moment by moment and trusts and loves Nancy moment by moment, the choice of Nancy or someone else is virtually inconsequential. The will of God has primarily to do with who Jim is every second—what his thoughts, actions, attitudes and words are.”
What my wife and I tend to believe is that any man and any woman can have a healthy marriage. It all depends on how much work both parties are willing to put into the relationship.
Perhaps God does not design a soul mate for everyone, but expects us to work toward being a good mate … because to be a good mate is to take on the character and attitude of Christ. This kind of person has the freedom to choose any spouse, not because of what they get from that person, but because of what they can give.
So how do you become more and more “the one”? What does that look like when you’re single, in a relationship, or married? In effect becoming the one means to become a healthy person (emotionally, spiritually, physically and so forth). You don’t have to be perfect, or even close to perfect, but on a journey toward becoming who God created you to be and ever more peaceful with who that exactly is. Here are some things to consider:
If you are not in a relationship …
We feel it’s crucial to realize that no matter whom you marry, you will most likely have the same personal issues you did before marriage. It can feel like marriage is the answer to making everything in your life right, but in our experience, marriage tends to amplify problems, not solve them.
Instead of believing in this romantic fallacy, take stock of where you are personally. Consider your emotions, past, family, talents, dreams, hobbies, struggles, spirituality, sexuality and employment. Striving to make these areas healthy will not necessarily lead to finding a husband/wife. However, exerting yourself toward wholeness brings confidence, peace and contentment. These traits are very attractive and if you do find a relationship, they will go a long way in making that relationship thrive.
If you’re dating or engaged …
Focusing on yourself can be difficult when you’re dating or engaged. It’s so easy to see the ways your significant other can change. Instead, take time to identify how you can better be the one within a relationship.
Explore what Scripture says about being a husband or wife. Head to BibleGateway.com and do a search on the words “marriage,” “husband” and “wife,” and see what comes up. Understand God’s expectations of you personally, as you prepare to be a husband or wife.
It would also be wise to consult friends and family. Get their assessments on how your individual strengths and weaknesses present themselves in your relationship. Ask what they foresee as the biggest challenges you will face in a future marriage. We’d recommend finding perspectives from people of different ages and in different kinds of relationships.
A few more suggestions for dating/engaged couples are:
– Read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman to understand giving and receiving love.
– Take the Myers-Briggs personality test.
-Watch one another’s family dynamics. Talk about what you want to be different or the same in your relationship.
If you’re married …
Marriage tends to spotlight how self-absorbed we really are. Myself and my wife included. Selfishness rears its ugly head when our spouse hurts us, disappoints us or otherwise falls short of what we expected them to be. This is the toughest place to be the one.
Still, there is hope if we put effort into living out our own marriage vows instead of forcing, nagging or coaxing our spouse to live out theirs. It’s as simple and as complicated as that. Take responsibility for yourself and take your heart first to God, then to your spouse. Allow God to be your rock, the One who will never disappoint you. You’ll find it’s easier to forgive as well as see areas you personally might need to work on.
Keep in mind, things won’t necessarily be easy once you’ve done all this work at being the one. You and your spouse will have days where you’ll look at one another and ask, “What did we get ourselves into?” When that happens, you can remind yourselves why you got married in the first place. It wasn’t because you found “the one” but because you decided to be “the one.”
Jake and Melissa Kircher write about marriage and relationships at holymessofmarriage.blogspot.com.