Making the Choice
The reason it is so crucial to adopt the Bible’s view of “good and bad choices” over your destiny of finding “the one” is that the former attitude allows you to objectively consider the person you marry. There is no objective measurement of “destiny.” Powerful emotions can blind us to all sorts of clues; when we adopt the biblical attitude of making a “wise” choice, we can use all that God has given us to arrive at a solid decision that should be based on a number of factors:
- Scriptural mandates. Is the person a believer who fears God (Proverbs 31:30) and who is biblically eligible for marriage (Mark 10:11-12)?
- Wisdom. How do they handle their money? (Proverbs 31:16, 18) Is this person a hard worker? (Proverbs 13:4; 26:13-15) Do they live an upright life? (Proverbs 13:6, 20; 25:28) Does this person wound people with their words, or are they an encourager? (Proverbs 12:18; 18:21) Are they peaceful, or quarrelsome? (Proverbs 17:19; 29:8)
- Parental, pastoral, and wise advice. Your parents know you better than you may realize, and even if they aren’t believers, they generally want the best for you. Also talk to your pastor and people you respect for their counsel: “Does this relationship seem like a ‘fit’ to you? Are there any areas you’re concerned about?” If the people I most respected had serious reservations about a relationship, I would assume I had lost my objectivity due to infatuation and put all marriage plans on hold.
- Prayer. Rejecting the notion that God creates one person just for us doesn’t discount the reality that God can lead us toward someone, and help us make a wise choice when we seek him in prayer.
What is a ‘Sole Mate’?
The search for “the one” is often an idolatrous pursuit. As Christians, we must believe that our primary meaning comes from our relationship with God: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness…” (Matthew 6:33, NKJV, emphasis added). Thus, a Christian should not consider any marital union that would not feed this primary relationship with God. You’ll bring great misery into your life if you ignore this command.
But also — just as importantly — we mustn’t enter into a marriage expecting more than another human can give. If my wife looks to me to be God for her — to love her like only God can love her — I’ll fail every time and on every count. I’m trying, but I fall short every day. Tragically, I see too many young people wanting to get married in order to find this God-acceptance and God-love. Infatuation can initially feel like it approaches this God-love, but eventually it fades, disillusionment sets in, and the once “fabulous” relationship soon becomes an excruciating prison.
Can I suggest a more biblical pattern? Instead of following Plato in a wild pursuit of our soul mate, we should seek to find a biblical “sole mate.” A sole mate is someone who walks with us as together we apply biblical love. The most accurate definition of true love is found in John 15:13 (NASB): “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
This love is not based on feelings, but on sacrifice. The Bible calls men to act like martyrs toward their wives, laying down their own lives on their wives’ behalf (Ephesians 5:25). Love is not an emotion; it’s a policy and a commitment that we choose to keep. Such a love is not based on the worthiness of the person being loved — none of us deserve Christ’s sacrifice! — but on the worthiness of the One who calls us to love: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).