Q+A: the one

Over and over I get asked the same question: how will I find the one? And as if that isn’t worrisome enough, a whole host of queries come tumbling all over the unknown.

What if I miss him?

What if I marry the wrong guy?

I don’t think I’m worthy of THE ONE anymore, now that I’ve messed up with that one who is so obviously not it. What now?

Don’t I need to go ahead and marry this guy now that I’ve given him all of me?

What if THE ONE marries someone else? Am I destined to singleness for the rest of my life?

I’ve met my SOUL MATE but he is unhappily married to someone else… doesn’t God want me (us) happy?

THE ONE has been elevated to superhero status in many of our minds. He’s the romantic hero, the spiritual giant, the perfect specimen of physical beauty.

Confusion and unrest reign in this realm of fairy tales and happily-ever-after endings.

And so women create their lists and cross men off at an alarmingly confident rate. They turn down coffee dates because he certainly couldn’t be THE ONE. They snub young-men-in-the-process before knowing much more than the unfortunate fit of their not-skinny-enough jeans.

He doesn’t have style… he’s too awkward… gross, he has acne!

I wonder sometimes if THE ONE eludes these idealistic romantics simply because of bumpy skin and unfortunate taste in clothes.

And so I’ll attempt to give my answer to the question every girl seems to be secretly wondering: is there really THE ONE?

Yes… and No.

Yes, I do believe that the Bible indicates that God has so pre-written your story that He’s got a plan for even such events as the rest of your life.

Take the story of Rebekah and Isaac.

Isaac’s dad (that would be Abraham) sends his best friend/faithful servant off to do a little bit of pre-internet searching for a soul mate for his son. He doesn’t need to fill out questionaires to know what kind of woman the boy-man needs— the guy has known Isaac since he was in diapers. He knows all about the career Isaac is being trained for, the calling on his life, the complexities of his personality.

So he sets about to find THE ONE, confidently believing that “the God of Abraham” has this fully arranged already.

Abraham has given his friend scant criteria for finding a wife for Isaac. Basically two things: 1. Not a woman of a different faith. 2. Not a woman who will divert Isaac from his calling. (see Genesis 24:1-9)

This matchmaking man stumbles upon a well somewhere in the vicinity of what he believes will be a likely spot to find Isaac a bride. And then he prays a crazy-let’s-get-this-over-with-quickly prayer. (So like a man! A woman would have let the search go on and on, adding all sorts of romantic tension to the story…)

Yet his prayer is curiously insightful. This servant knows that Isaac’s career and calling is far from the ordinary house in the suburbs kind of life.  He’s going to need a woman willing to work hard alongside him, someone with initiative and drive who sees what needs to be done and hops to it without a lot of prodding.

Bingo! Rebekah comes along and “she’s very beautiful” and obviously available (vs. 16) and she fits the profile perfectly. The next thing you know, she’s on her way to Isaac’s honeymoon suite (actually his deceased mother’s tent!) with this blessing ringing in her ears,

“This matter comes from the LORD…

Behold, Rebekah is before you, take her and go

and let her be the wife of my master’s son,

as the LORD has spoken.”

And the story just keeps getting better and better…

“Then Isaac brought her to his mother Sarah’s tent,

and he took Rebekah,

and she became his wife;

and he loved her…”

(and that, for all my naïve young friends, is Scripture-speak for saying they had a humdinger of a honeymoon!)

So… what’s all this have to do with THE ONE?

Take a look at one easily overlooked phrase in the story: “let her be the woman whom my LORD has appointed for my master’s son.” (vs. 44)

The woman whom my LORD has appointed for my master’s son can mean only one thing:

She’s THE ONE.

And so, yes, I do believe that there is ONE appointed to be the wife/help meet/counterpart for a man.

And of course, the opposite must also be true.

Every Rebekah has an Isaac in the wings, ready to sweep her off of that camel and into his tent when the time is right.

HOWEVER… I also believe that most women and a whole lot of men have some pretty messed up notions about how that story is supposed to play out in their post-camel lives.

I do not believe in soul mates or happily-ever-after endings or perfect fits.

I believe that God brings two people together in order to show the world what it looks like to be loved well despite unfortunate flaws and a life time of failures.

I believe that God brings two people together who will rub up against each other, filing away sharp angles and re-forming both into beautiful and usable souls.

I believe that God brings two people together for the express purpose of advancing His Kingdom plans through their union.

I believe that God brings two people together with the clear intent to make each of them holy… but not necessarily to make either of them happy.

And yet with all of that I remain a hopeless romantic!

Thirty-three years ago, Phil swept me into his world and offered a life unlike anything I’d ever imagined. At times it has been hard. And lonely. And choked with people’s needs. At other times it has been exhilarating and satisfying.

But over the years God has carved a unique oneness out of two stubbornly individualistic people. We are headed in the same direction, we have the same goals, and the same spirit.

Phil has pushed me way beyond my comfort zone. He’s widened my world and led me compellingly. He’s created for me a rich life in which to grow and flourish. In turn, I have calmed Phil down, brought a semblance of order and beauty into his sometimes frantic lifestyle. I’ve made a safe place for him to rest.

We have both had to choose to lay aside our selfish ambitions and idealizations in order to get to this place in our lives.  We do not “fit” perfectly together. In fact, we clash and rub each other wrong and hurt each other’s feelings. We work hard to understand each other’s viewpoint… and we fail frequently.

Does that sound like soul-mates? Or more like two people fully committed to the LORD and to bringing Him glory by loving each other well at some very real cost to ourselves?

Phil and I could have had a terrible marriage. We could have dominated and dug in our heels, grown bitter and apart. And at times, we’ve done all those things. Yet there is this One whom we call our Redeemer who, when invited and listened to and obeyed, creates oneness and beauty out of the thousands of fragments of brokenness we bring at His feet. His name is Jesus, and when it all comes down to the nuts and bolts of real-life romance…

He and He alone is…. THE ONE.

From my heart,


EtcIntentional Parents