Friday, January 12, 2007

Finding the Right Husband or Wife

Joe Carter has a great post on finding the right husband or wife. It's a review of a book by Alex and Marni Chediak entitled With One Voice: Singleness, Dating and Marriage to the Glory of God.

The basic point of the post (and apparently, the book) is that it is more important to work toward becoming the right person for someone else, rather than to try to find "Mr. or Miss Right." During the period of time in my life that I call, "Single and Not Very Happy About That Fact," I figured this out: everyone seemed to be trying to find the right person for them (i.e., the person who will accommodate all of their whims and fulfill all their dreams and not require them to change at all) and not at all trying to become the kind of person who could be a good husband or wife for someone else.

The pattern that I saw was repeated relationships and break-ups, over and over again (well, except for those of us who had a difficult time getting anything going to begin with), until finally the person became more fearful of being left alone than of marrying The Wrong Person--at which point the next dating relationship magically became The One.

Another mistake singles make when dating and looking for a marriage partner is assuming that marriage is supposed to be the panacea that makes all of life a state of joy. The Chediaks write, "Women have been duped by the media into thinking that marriage must be
a state of perpetual bliss and that, if it is not, something must be
wrong with their partner" (p. 47). There are two things going wrong here: unrealistic expectations regarding what marriage should be like, and the assumption that anything that goes wrong must be the fault of one's "partner"--i.e., never oneself (or just the reality of living in a fallen world).

Much marital unhappiness comes from failing to recognize that putting marriage on such a pedestal is a form of idolatry, and marriage can never live up to these expectations. It can be wonderful--the very best relationship one can ever have with another human being--but only when both people are willing to adjust to one another's flaws and foibles, and are willing to try their best to be the best husband or wife they can be. 

For more on marriage, check out my book, Marriage, Family, and the Image of God .

Marriage, Family, and the Image of God

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