Saturday, July 15, 2006

You Got the Right One, Baby

Michael Lawrence (a fellow Gordon-Conwell grad!) writes an excellent piece on marriage, dating, and "choosing" a wife. A quick excerpt:
One of the myths out there is that if you just spend enough time searching, if you can just gather enough information, you'll find a woman with whom marriage will be "easy." The fact is, such a woman doesn't exist, and if she did, she likely wouldn't marry you.
I couldn't agree more.

The reality is that, apart from horrendous and usually obvious mistakes (marrying a nonbeliever is the most common), marriages are made or broken within the marriage, not because of marrying "the wrong person." Ever notice how nobody ever charges that their spouse married the wrong person? When I was at a point in my life that I refer to affectionately as, "single and not very happy about that fact," I had some time to ponder what everyone else seemed to be doing in their dating lives. It seemed to me that everyone was horrendously frightened of exactly the kind of commitment that I wanted, mostly because of the fear of ending up with "the wrong person." It also seemed to me that everyone was focusing on finding the "right person," but almost no one was seriously trying to become the "right person" for someone else. If we spent our time trying to become the "right person" for someone else--that is, trying to become the person God wants us to be in all areas of our lives--we could trust God to bring across our path someone else who was doing the same thing.

The real trick is recognizing that this process does not end at the wedding ceremony. We have to keep on becoming the person God wants us to be, and allow that process to work in our spouse's life as well. I'm convinced that God is in the process of making me right for my wife, and in the process of making her right for me--that that process began long before we met, and will continue for as long as we are on this earth.

Of course, it's possible that I just think that all this works because I found the right person....

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

Marriage, Family, and the Image of God


  1. I couldn't agree more. The romantic myth of finding the "right person" has done great damage to the institution of marriage. Good marriages are not found, they are made through hard work and commitment. That's not to say that Neil Clark Warren has it all wrong, there are compatible personality traits, etc, but the idea that there's "one person out there for me" is a dangerous fallacy. It has created a society of people constantly trading in their spouse for a "better" one.

  2. The problem isn't just a matter of "trading in" spouses. It's also in the discontent in still-intact marriages, created by the feeling that one "could have done better" in choosing a marriage partner. If that same person were motivated to "do better" as a husband and father or wife and mother, everyone in that marriage situation would be happier, and (much more importantly) the marriage would better emulate, as it is supposed to, the love of Christ for the Church. I'm quite sure that Jesus "could have done better" than me; I'm very grateful that He didn't.