Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The One, and Signs

I was talking with a friend about romantic relationships the other day and thought, why not post some of this on my blog? So you might be getting a few posts about various aspects of dating/courting/whatever you want to call it. Unfortunatelyish I tend to go down bunny trails and I'm not sure if the way my mind connects things makes sense in writing, so neither am I sure if I'm talking about the same thing at the end of the post as I am at the beginning, but hopefully you can follow okay.

-I have been in a relationship for a whopping total of one year, so I am clearly an expert and qualified to tell you how to do everything. In a few months, I'm getting married to the only man I've ever dated. Multiple views I held have been stretched and turned upside down and sideways during our relationship.They probably will be again. So please don't take this and whatever follows as anything more than my current, personal thoughts and opinions born out of my limited experience and observations. My only hope is you may find it helpful in some way or another.-

I'm starting off with the concept of "the one." You know, the idea that there's one specific person out there written into your destiny for you to marry and you just have to figure out who it is. It's popular among Christians, but it seems kind of messed up to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for seeking and following God's will to the best of our abilities. That's very important to me. But the whole "one" thing puts so much pressure and doubt on singles. "Is he the one? How do I know? What if I marry him and it turns out someone else was the one?"

I've seen couples frozen in place for lack of "confirmation," I've seen people get into relationships that ended badly because they thought they'd been given signs each other was The One, and I know of one couple who dated for three weeks, married, and divorced three months later. The One concept actually seems to encourage irresponsibility and unwise decisions due to over-reliance on "the feeling" or "signs from heaven" which are so easy to read into or misinterpret. No matter who you're with, love is a choice you have to make day after day, and I think some people mistakenly expect that if they follow a magic formula to "the one" it will be easy. God gave us heads as well as hearts for a reason - to like, you know, use them. To quote the movie Ever After,

Henry: "Then let's say God puts two people on Earth and they are lucky enough to find one another. But one of them gets hit by lightning. Well then what? Is that it? Or, perchance, you meet someone new and marry all over again. Is that the lady you're supposed to be with or was it the first? And if so, when the two of them were walking side by side were they both the one for you and you just happened to meet the first one first or, was the second one supposed to be first? And is everything just chance or are some things meant to be?" 

da Vinci: "You cannot leave everything to Fate, boy. She's got a lot to do. Sometimes you must give her a hand."

I'm not comparing God to fate, but He does gives us freedom to choose, and I've never seen Him write something like, "Jane, you should marry Leroy!" on a billboard so you'll finally know (not to say He can't, hasn't, or won't, just that it doesn't always - doesn't usually? - work that way).

I can't tell you how to decide who to date or if you should marry someone. In my case, we built a solid friendship before we started dating, talked about a ridiculous number of subjects early on to find out where we're on the same page, considered our personalities and the way our strengths and weaknesses compliment each other, talked to people with more experience and wisdom, listened out for our family's opinions (how much this plays into decision-making depends on your family - be respectful and consider their words while making your own decisions based on your convictions [assuming you're an adult and not like 16]), considered reasons for marrying and not marrying, blah blah blah. And prayed of course. Usually I thought God said yes, sometimes I didn't know if He was saying anything, and a couple of times I thought He might have said no (I asked Him a lot, okay). In the end I just have to trust Him. Sometimes trusting Him means taking a leap of faith when common sense and all that mess lines up but a lightning bolt hasn't written your significant other's name in the sky, because when you've been surrounded by The One business, yes, that can be a leap (with maybe a teensy bit of exaggeration). There were plenty of "coincidences" along the paths that brought my fiancé and I together, plenty of things that may have been signs, that were at the very least fun to consider and made us think, but that's not what he founded his decision to say, "Will you marry me?" and mine to say yes on.

I believe God has plans, destinies, for every life, and I'm not sure how our responsibility to take initiative and make decisions factors into it all. So perhaps the idea behind The One is true, but the application is flawed.

"Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might be found more suitable mates. But the real soul-mate is the one you are actually married to." - J. R. R. Tolkien


  1. Thank you for this. "Usually I thought God said yes, sometimes I didn't know if He was saying anything, and a couple of times I thought He might have said no" -- I am so glad I am not the only person who has felt that way. XD

    It encourages me so, so much to have a friend working through some of the same ideas and questions and having their old thoughts turned inside out... thank you for sharing. :-)

  2. I love this, Kate. You are clealy following God's direction and none other, no matter how much society and tradition have waved their sparky hankies at you. You are a mature young woman making godly decisions. God has got to be smiling at your life right now. And so am I. :-)

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  4. I really appreciate you writing this. :-) I feel this way quite often about major life decisions. And I love the quote from Tolkien at the end.