Hey all! It's been a while since I've been over here... I do apologize for that. Life has been pretty hectic and busy around here. I shall hopefully get a post about what's been going on, however, today I'd like to share something that has been on my heart for a while now.
For some reason, I've kind of grown up with this idea that there is only "one man" out there for me. I'm not really sure where this idea got planted, because I honestly don't remember mom and dad telling me this. Perhaps I assumed it was so simply based on what I heard others saying. In any case, I have to shake my head at that belief now.
I don't really know where the idea got started that there is only "one man" out there for you. Your Prince Charming, your knight in shining armor. So how in the world did it get started? If anyone has a history behind this, please share. It is most certainly a big topic, especially among Christians (and primarily among Christian Homeschoolers, it seems).
I have to admit that it is an extremely comforting thought, that there is only one man. That means you can't 'make a mistake' in your choice of life partner, right? I'm not really sure I can agree with that. There are lots of questions that come to mind when I think about this one man idea. If the guy dies before meeting you, does that mean that you are destined to live your life as an unmarried woman? Or does another 'one man' suddenly pop up for you? Or perhaps all those who have never been married aren't married because of that. I don't know.
However, as I read the Bible, I honestly can't say that I've ever fond anything that gives me the impression that there is just 'one man' out there for me. I honestly don't. One thing I have observed, though, is non-marital relationships. This includes family and friends. Do you automatically love your siblings and parents just because you are placed in that family, or do you make the choice to love them? Do you work hard on your friendships with your friends just because you 'happened to meet', or is it because you make the choice to love them, even if they hurt you, ignore you, or maybe don't even love back? To me, all relationships are there because of the choice to make them so. I make the choice to forgive my sister rather than be mad at her. I make the choice to listen and respect my parents.
If these relationships are based on choosing to love one another (which is something God commands us to do... and if He had to command us to do it, that means that we naturally have to work at it, not just 'suddenly' love one another.) why is a marital relationship any different? See, when we believe that there is just 'one girl or guy' out there for us, we give ourselves an idea that we will automatically love that person, no matter what, because, duh, we were meant for each other. So what happens when you disagree about something, or perhaps you're tired from staying up with sick children all night and angry words fly from your mouth before you're able to stop them? Or what about when times get tough and romance seems to have suddenly left you behind? Do you feel like you've stopped loving them? But how can this be if you were meant for each other? How do people have affairs if they only fall in love, and, because they were 'meant for each other', stay in love with each other? Because they choose to NOT love the other. They choose to let selfish feelings and hurt fill their heart instead of a true, holy love for their life partner.
I read an article (which I, unfortunately lost the link for!) a while back written by a young woman who had recently been married. She had grown up her entire life believing that there was just one man for her and she simply needed to find him. When her dad, the preacher of their church, realized she had these ideas, he questioned her on them. She gave him the typical response of 'here is what I've heard, so I'm going to tell it back to you'. He listened, and then gently pointed out to her that no where in Scriptures does it say that there is only one man for her. However, the bible is full of instructions on how a man should treat and love his wife and vice-versa. The young lady realized that her marriage was a choice. Every day she had to choose whether or not she was going to love the man beside her, whether she was going to strive to be a Godly wife to him, and whether she was going to work her hardest on being the help-meet he needed. It was a choice to love him or not.
When I read the article, it really made sense to me. If you think about it, people get married to certain people because they are compatible. Their personalities match up really well. They balance each other out. But guess what? Personality and compatibility could have been matched up with probably 6 or more other people in the world. I have several girl friends, and guy friends, who I get along with really well. I also have some acquaintances who I've had a harder time getting along with. It doesn't mean that I haven't tried or they haven't tried, but more that our personalities just didn't suit that well. Now, does that mean that whenever I'm around them I'm miserable? No. It just means that more than likely I won't have that 'life-time, my kids will call you auntie' sort of a relationship. Think of Paul and Barnabas. They had to part ways because they simply didn't get along too well. It was just a personality thing.
So in a world filled with people who range from about 6-7 different personality types, that really means that there are quite a bit of 'matches' out there for you. Now, don't freak out. I did when I first thought about that. It is scary to think that, with that many options, you could be making the wrong choice. But hold on a moment. You can't, technically, make the wrong choice-unless you marry a non-Christian and are yoking yourself unequally. However, you can make the wrong choice to not love the person you are married with. You can make the wrong choice of holding to angry feelings and destroying the relationship.
If marriage was 'that one person', why is it the biggest decision in our lives? Because we know, deep down, that we will forever be working at that relationship to keep it top-notch. If we only had one person destined for us, it wouldn't be that big of a decision, would it?
My mom had the same idea that there was just one man for her. She married dad, and everything was great... until they had their first argument, or he didn't seem to appreciate the meal that she cooked. She began to think that she had married the 'wrong' person because she no longer felt like the love was there. There wasn't much romance any more... but that couldn't be right. Since they were 'meant for each other', should he always be romancing her? Shouldn't she always be starry eyed at the sight of him?
I think that our world has adapted this idea because it is so easy. It is so easy to say that there is only one out there because when the relationship fails, it is that much easier to get out of by simply saying, "This must not be right. There must be someone else.". We get these wrong ideas in our heads about love and relationships and then throw them away instead of working at them.
I have a cousin who had an inside plant. It had sort of died, and basically looked like a stick in dirt. My dad liked to tease her about it and asked why she still had it. She told him, quite matter-of-factly, that she wasn't going to give up on it. She watered it, checked on it, fed it, etc. I think about a year later, it began to grow again and show signs of life. We still chuckle over it whenever we see the little thing, but quite honestly, I admired that persistence in her. I think she'll be pretty good about not giving up in tough situations. :-)
If only every couple was as persistent as my cousin with that plant! To constantly give one another tender care and nourishment, to encourage one another not tear the other person down. We need to make the choice to do that. To choose Christ-like love in all relationships and not let them die or fade away.
Now I don't mean to discourage anyone or scare anyone with these ideas. It has just been something I've thought about a lot recently and thought I would share. I'd love to hear y'alls thoughts on it. :-)