The Myth of Finding "The One"

Our culture has embraced a rather absurd notion that there is just one person who can “complete us”. The notion of a soul mate has inspired countless movies, novels, and chart-topping songs.

One university study found that 94 percent of people in their 20s say the first requirement in a spouse is someone who qualifies as a soul mate. Just as surprising, 87 percent think they’ll actually find that person “when they are ready.”

The real danger in this line of thinking is that many people mistake a storm of emotion as the identifying mark of their soul mate. When the music fades and the relationship requires work, one or both partners suddenly discover that they were “mistaken”: this person must not be their soul mate after all! (Otherwise, it wouldn’t be so much work) Next, they panic. Their soul mate must still be out there! Such people can’t get to divorce court fast enough, lest someone steal their “one true soul mate” meant only for them. When we get married for trivial reasons, we tend to seek divorce for trivial reasons.

The reality is that there is not “one right choice” for marriage, but rather good and bad choices. We are encouraged to use wisdom, not destiny, as our guide when choosing a marital partner. There is no indication that there is “one” person created for us to marry.

What Is a Good Choice?
The reason it is so crucial to adopt the view of “good and bad choices” over the 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 attitude of making a “wise” choice, we can use all we have been given to arrive at a solid decision that should be based on a number of factors:

  • Faith and values. Does the person share the same faith, values and spiritual convictions as you?
  • Wisdom. How do they handle their money? Is this person a hard worker? Do they live an upright life? Does this person wound people with their words, or are they an encourager? Are they peaceful, or quarrelsome?
  • Wisdom of parents and mentors. Your parents know you better than you may realize, and they generally want the best for you. Also talk to people you respect for their counsel: “Does this relationship seem like a good ‘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.

Instead of following a wild pursuit of our soul mate, we should seek to find a “sole mate”, someone who will walk with us, as we both apply true love. This love is not based on feelings, but on sacrifice. It 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.

A “sole mate” appreciates that marriage is a school of character and who willingly goes “into training” to build a lifelong partnership. This may not sound like the most exciting or emotional love, but it is certainly the truest love.

Excerpted from A Girl’s Guide to Marrying Well by Boundless © 2009 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

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