Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism

How to find a spouse?!

8 Comments

There are two beliefs within the movement about looking for a spouse (that I know of, there might be more). Basically, beliefs divide into two groups here: The ones who believe in “the one” and the ones who believe in “choice”.

Basically, the choice believers believe that God didn’t make two people who are absolutely perfect for one another. There are multiple people in the world who would end up being a good match for each person and you still got to pick one of them. There’s choice involved in this.

The other (bigger) group believes that God made one single perfect match for everyone. You have to wait for God to bring that person into your life and nobody else can make a marriage as perfect as this single person could. These are usually the people who strongly believe in the purity movements.

My family belonged to the latter group. While the first group leaves choice and preferences, allowing a man to actually “look” for a wife, the other group doesn’t allow “looking”. It’s all about waiting and seeing what happens – obviously the man still has to make the first step, but only if he feels God is telling him that this is “the one”.

I have major issues with the entire mindset of waiting on God, believing in “the one” and, maybe, even being called to stay single for life. I do not think that the bible means to express this mindset. I think it’s false prophesy and causes a lot of hurt in a lot of people.

Why? Well, I base my belief on the following verse:

Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.(1 Cor 7, 8-9)

Uh uh. So… where did that “one” go? Where did that “God will bring them into your life if you’re supposed to marry” go? I don’t think that’s what’s meant here. What I read is: Paul thinks people should decide whether they should marry or not depending on the fact if they can stay pure without being married (or not). I think this single verse blows up the entire construct of waiting and just taking it if God doesn’t send you “the one”.

I have always had major issues with people discussing this verse away, trying to spin the actual, literal meaning. I think that this is a general issue with Paul’s writings. Too often they are abused and twisted to suit the needs of the individual. Paul has written some of the most beautiful passages in the bible, and some of the most misunderstood, and yes, some of Paul’s writings are the complete opposite of something else in the bible.

I’m not trying to say that there isn’t “the one” for you, neither am I saying that there’s only “one”. I don’t really know what I’m saying, to be quite honest with you. I don’t know what to believe in this area. It’s just hard for me to imagine that there could be only one single person you can spend your life with, you know? I mean, I like to think I’m pretty easy-going, social life wise. I might not be the woman everyone looks up to, respects, is impressed by, but neither am I the person people don’t like or even hate. It’s easy for me to get along with different personalities because I try to accept everyone for what they are – the posh, heavy make up girly girl who talks about lipstick all day long, I understand her because it’s something that she enjoys, just like I can talk to the tomboy type of woman who likes football more than anything and cries when her favourite team lost. And likewise, I love the different personalities of several men I know, some are more quiet, deep thinking and emotional, others loud, funny and sporty. They’re all fine the way they are.

When I was out with some friends on the weekend, I had a quiet conversation with a friend of a friend, a man. I’ll admit he was a bit drunk, but we talked about his family and his struggles, something that he hardly ever talks about. Suddenly he asked me if I could imagine to date him. I laughed because I didn’t take that question very serious, after all, he was drunk! But he put on a serious face and I gave it a quick thought and this is what I said: “Well, you’re really handsome, you’re smart, much smarter than me, you’re a good listener and a hard worker, you’re interesting and lots of fun to be around, all in all you’re the type of guy all women would like to date – but no, I can’t imagine dating you – at all.” All of what I said was 100% true. I keep wondering why my answer was no. Well, obviously I can’t imagine because I already have a wonderful man I date, but that’s not all of it. There must be something more to it. By no means I believe I found “the one” with Daniel. I can’t say that after such a short time! I don’t know, I just keep wondering! The man who asked me this question looks A LOT like Daniel – the stereotypical tall dark and handsome guy.

At the end of the day what I end up with is: I think most people are compatible with a larger amount of people. In this group of matches, there might be one, two, maybe even three exceptionally perfect ones. But you can make it work either way. Does that make sense?

8 thoughts on “How to find a spouse?!

  1. In my family’s church, the spin was a little bit different because compatibility was downplayed. The pastor taught that marriage was about sanctification, not happiness, so really any godly person could marry any other godly person. Your personality didn’t matter. In my opinion, this is a really irresponsible teaching to direct at singles, and I’m glad I found someone that I had a deep connection with because we are very compatible. I actually just wrote about this on my blog yesterday, haha. It must be spring🙂.

  2. I think you are right on track. I love my spouse, but can put that aside for a thought experiment long enough to realize there were/are probably many other men I could have developed feelings for based on interests/personality type/etc. It’s not very romantic to say “You’re the one I found” instead of “You’re the one”, so I just stick with “I love you!”

  3. So, to play devil’s advocate for a minute, how do the “there’s only one” crowd explain the Christians who are widowed and marry again? We have a couple in my church who are both on their third spouses. If there’s only one for each of us, then how do you explain them? And what happens to those guys and gals out there whose “only one” went with someone else? Are they given “a second best choice?” The whole idea of God only creating one perfect match for each of us has always bugged me. Maybe if Adam and Eve hadn’t messed up in the Garden that would be true but this is a fallen world. People die. You have to account for that. No one’s perfect–you’d better account for that.

    • I have wondered about all these things as well. I do know of some churches who frown upon remarrying even after death – don’t ask me how exactly they’re trying to explain that one. If you remarry, there’s always an excuse why that second partner is “just as perfect”. Sometimes that explanation is even “the best in life is gone, now you may settle for second choice replacements”.

      The point is that the perfect one for you doesn’t settle for anybody else if you’re a real christian, because the Lord knows who is going to be a true follower and who won’t be, hence the perfect one for you will be a true christian as well and then everything turns out perfect… There is no “settling for others by accident” if you follow the exact “rules”. It can’t happen. Of course, it happens to all those worldly people every day, which is why they all get a divorce sooner or later. . .

  4. I believe in “the one”. I went out with my share of guys. A few relatively long term. I went out with a guy on and off for 7 years. We broke up and I went on to a couple longish term relationships. Both were marriage bound but I felt something… missing?! Five years after that 7 year relationship ended I received flower annonymously. They were from *him*,, it turns out. He was the one that got away. We hadn’t even had a great relationship but I felt… right, with him. During that break up we had both given our lives to God. I was just ecstatic to see that he had. I almost would have settled for that. We ended up getting married. Did it right this time. Saved our next first kiss for our wedding day. If I had to go by who treated me the best, it would have been a different guy, but something was missing when I was with him. It’s kind of like when you had that conversation with the girl who taught you to sew and you asked how she knew her husband was right for her… the sky is blue, and rocks are hard… that’s just how you know. Three other guys have wanted to marry me. I could have made the choice to marry any one of them, but something would have been missing. My husband isn’t perfect, but with him the puzzle fits.

  5. I believe in one at a time. So at this moment there is one person who I fit best with. If I met said person, married him & then one of us died, then there is the possiblity of meeting someone new. That new person wouldn’t be second best, but the best fit (personality, character, life direction etc) for that period onwards. Hypothetically husband no 2 could be someone who would be a poor match for me now but we could be a good match down the road. I trust God to work it all out. I’m not even sure I want marriage at this point & I’m well into my thirties. I’ve seen a lot of disappointed wives, in & out of the church. (My parents pastor a church- charismatic, though we all cross-pollenate with everyone, Baptists, Pentecostals, Anglicans, Catholics, Methodists etc. We were raised to believe that relationship is more important than theological differences. Denominational boundaries have come down so much in the last 15 years or so.)

    I always thought that we were fundamentalist because we believe in the inerrancy of scripture. But I was never encouraged to get married/stay single. Very little was said gender differences (my dad believed the husband should be head of the home but he wasn’t at all tyrannical and that’s only the home. He’s always encouraged women professionally or in the pulpit. Admittedly he does less housework than my mom but he’s not lazy.) I said all that to say, I’ve met other American Christians who seemed obssessed with marriage. Their identity as women was built on getting married & producing children.

    As someone with many African & Indian friends who has travelled in Africa, I can say that this line of thinking is prevalent all over the place where women are downtrodden. What Paul is saying in 1 Cor 7 is that when you’re single you’re free to pursue whatever calling God has for you. When you’re married you’re tied down.

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