The Myth of “The One”

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One time when I was around 18 I heard a teaching about making a list of what characteristics you desired in a husband. I was told to keep it in my Bible and to use this list to pray for my husband. Somewhere along the way I lost the list. And that was a good thing. 15 years later I married my husband and he was far from the man I had described on that list.

I didn’t settle for this guy who is so far off from my list. This is a great match. Thankfully I wasn’t actively looking for a guy who matched the list or I would have missed him.

And really John is a good guy. He’s a real good guy. I don’t know if that guy on my list was ever real. That guy on the list was too good to be true. I married a real guy who is also too good to be true but I’m reminded of his trueness because I daily live with his flaws. And he lives with mine.

I should have made a list and prayed for the type of woman he was going to get: strong follower after the things of God, rarely wavers; might be a bit strong-willed, overachiever, has goals, full-time minister which seems to mean I will never be able to contribute much financially, doesn’t plan on giving up the ministry (back to that strong follower of the things of God who rarely wavers). My list could have been, “God send me ‘the one’ who will match my mess that desires to serve you and love me.”

I love the truth of this quote from Joy Beth Smith (from an article I’ve mentioned previously): “As much as I can pray for a guy with financial stability, spiritual thirst, confidence, and a desire to adopt, I can only hope there’s a man praying for a girl from a broken home with a bum knee and mild social anxiety because at times those seem like my selling points. At the end of the day, I have to question whether my list helps me find a husband or is actually keeping me from one.”

Good question. Does your desire to find “the one” actually hinder you from finding your good match?

Brave Dating Coach is a reality check. “The one” or finding “the one” is not mystical. We would like to believe that God orders the angels to arrange for that one magical moment when you meet “him” or “her.” That if we pray and pray and pray and are faithful, we will recognize this magical moment for what it is when it happens. That we may even hear heavenly music at that moment.

The reality is you may have to kiss a lot of frogs to find that handsome prince. (Though you don’t need to kiss everyone you date, particularly on those coffee dates.) I subscribe wholly to Dr. Henry Cloud’s stance that you don’t date to lead to marriage. You date to find out who you are and who you want to marry then. Dating should be a wonderful time to find out about other people and what they are like. As well as finding out about yourself and how you need to grow and change. I call this Brave Dating.

If you stay searching for “the one,” you are making love more about destiny rather than an active choice. The reality check is love doesn’t just happen, it has to be formed. True romance is making a commitment to love someone every day, even when it gets hard. Destiny doesn’t recognize the hard times. Destiny floats nebulously. The Bible says love between a man and a woman is a sacrifice, but it isn’t forced upon us. We choose this.

If you stay searching for “the one,” you are setting yourself up for disappointment. I’m guessing you are already disappointed. The idea of “the one” implies that there is one perfect person for you who can fill every need, want, and desire you ever have. The reality check is no human can fulfill this. Look back at this assumption. Do you really believe that one human can fulfill all of this for you? I hope you don’t, now that this has been brought to the light. I fear you have already been making decisions without realizing the unrealistic-ness of this assumption. As Andy Stanley says, “Love is a daily exercise in selflessness between two sinful people.” You are going to choose to marry a mess of a human being but because you are a good match you will have the tools to maneuver through each of your messes.

If you stay searching for “the one,” you lose your freedom to choose. God gives us the freedom to choose in our lives. He tells us that he has a purpose and a plan for us, but he doesn’t dictate our lives and move us around like puppets on strings. You get to choose whom you love and whom you will marry. You may choose badly (so many have) but now you get to learn more about that “Love is a daily exercise in selflessness between two sinful people.” For those who have chosen badly, you may have to put more work into this marriage but you can do it. This is the choice you made. For those who have not chosen badly yet, you get to choose wisely. This is why it is best to have a team with you when you are brave dating. They will have those hard conversations with you when they think you are choosing badly.

Do you know what choice also means? That there is more than one good match for you out there. Mind-boggling, huh?

If you stay searching for “the one,” what happens if “the one” is living in sin at the moment that you meet? Or makes the choice to not notice what is happening between the two of you that you are so sure is happening? Then this “one” moves on and leaves you broken-hearted and full of deep questions for God.

But the truth that there is more than one match for you out there opens up a world of possibilities. Possibilities that don’t depend on the stars aligning. Possibilities that will cover your mistakes if you “miss” it with someone as well as the other’s mistake if he/she is far from God’s path.

Yes, this idea of there being more than one good match for you does leave you with thoughts of “What if…” But when you are married to a good match, those thoughts of “What if…” do not last long. Because you know that you know that you know that you chose wisely and it is good (and your team cheered you on wildly).

I hope this was a lot of reality check for you. I hope for this because I desire for you to find that good match that can be a love for a lifetime. I really believe in what I’m teaching here and on this blog. I’ve seen lots of fruit from it too. Read up. Be brave. This is going to be exciting.

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  1. Pingback: Love is Like Green Bananas? | Bravester

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