THE ONE: part two
A couple of weeks ago I wrote my take on the concept I hear bantered around quite a bit: The One. And since my answer rambled around quite a bit, with no iron-clad-chapter-and-verse-verification that what I’m saying is RIGHT!! I think I frustrated a few black and white thinkers. Some of the questions I encountered via email the following week revealed lots and lots of misunderstanding of this whole idea— and all the worries and pressures a lot of people are feeling in the midst of trying to figure it all out.
There seem to be two sides:
On the one hand, those free thinking folks who believe that God is gracious enough to give us generous room to choose for ourselves. This group generally views God’s will as less specific and more conceptual. Their advice tends to be somewhere along the lines of “just pick one” and go for it. Their only clear guidelines would have to do with overtly biblical mandates such as a shared faith and good character.
And I agree… sort of.
The other side of the compendum is much more mystical about the whole thing. Soul mates and perfect fits and “just knowing” when you meet him/her and other such nebulous ideas. These folks are constantly asking the question, “Is this The One?” The danger here is that whole game of trying too hard to be a perfect fit instead of relaxing into the rest that comes when we fully trust God to use even marriage to shape us into His image.
But I don’t think either view is quite right.
Most of us, when we “fall in love”, are so ferocious about our feelings that we’ll do about anything to convince God and everyone else that THIS IS GOD’S WILL FOR MY LIFE!! We believe that first and foremost, God’s will is to make us happy. Very happy. And so if this one makes us happy, then of course, he/she is most certainly the one for me. So help me God.
But since after years and years of delving into the stories of Scripture and God’s commentary on those stories, I just cannot quite see God’s will as a the Happiest Place on Earth, that theory just doesn’t work for me.
I don’t think marriage is actually so much about me being happy as it is about me serving my Savior in His unique role for me in His story.
And maybe that’s why opposites so often attract. Because what he lacks is the very thing I bring into the relationship to make him better equipped for carrying out his part of God’s story.
And visa versa.
Just this week both Phil and I had encounters with a couple in our church. Their marriage caused no small amount of controversy and conflict within their extended families just because these two couldn’t be more opposite. He’s driven and scholastic and intense. And so is his mom- an amazing woman who rose to the top of her career by determination and drive. But the woman he married is neither driven nor intense. Her education didn’t extend beyond high school. Her goal in life is to make her husband successful by creating a home that is a place of refuge- and by giving him full freedom to pursue his dreams even if they cost her. She has no intention of making a name for herself or impressing anybody.
The family finally gave their consent, if not their wholehearted blessing, and now a couple of years have passed.
What Phil and I both saw when we talked to them was an unusual and delightful sense of rightness about this pair. They laugh and tease and look at each other with that secret “I know what you’re thinking” sort of snicker. They know exactly where they’re headed- together. There is this sense when they’re talking that they have learned to pull in the same direction without insisting that they be the same. So right.
It is their very differences that make oneness possible.
Their personalities and giftings are vastly different, but their goals are the same.
And that, I believe, is the key to this whole THE ONE question. Finding a person who shares your goals, or whose goals you share (and yes there is a difference) is vital to making a marriage work the way God originally intended.
Two people pulling in tandem is a beautiful and rare sight.
The One, then becomes the person you can embark on this journey towards oneness with. And for most of us, that journey involves no small amount of hard work and effort to achieve- and will most certainly take the rest of our lives.
From my heart,