I’m just gonna come out and say it now, in case anyone is wondering: I believe in “The One.”
You know, the idea that there’s only one man in the world who is right for me to marry, only one potential Mr. Charity? My sisters have tried to talk me out of it, my friends have tried to reason me out of it, and many, many bloggers have written against it. But I truly, romantically, deeply believe there’s only one man (if any) I should marry.
I generally blame/attribute this belief to three things:
Cinderella and Prince Charming. Sleeping Beauty and Prince Phillip. Belle and the Beast. Lady and the Tramp. These are the stories I grew up on, in a household where my parents called each other “Prince Charming” and “My Princess” for fun.
In what horrific universe could Cinderella end up with Phillip, or Ariel end up with the Beast? Such an “anyone goes” attitude would destroy the magic and romance and wonder of those characters’ stories. The very thought of alternately pairing those characters just to write this paragraph disgusted me a bit.
The part of me that wears twirly dresses, buys jewelry based on how much it sparkles, and throws princess tea parties – that part of me still believes that MY prince is out there tearing down walls, defeating dragons, and battling life’s strokes of midnight to get to me.
- My Parents
My mom has told me countless times that God had the perfect man picked out for her, and that He knew what she needed when He gave her my dad. My dad would call home from work (back in the days when phones stayed in one place in the house, and we’d race to answer), and he’d ask to speak to “princess charming” or to “the love of my life.”
My dad tells the story of being directed by God to date specifically my mom. He also tells the story of how they broke up three times before they got married, including at least once when they were engaged, just to, “see if we were doing the right thing” – in other words, to see if God would bring them back together. And if He did, they figured it was meant to be. (Apparently it was.)
Additionally, the genes I inherited (added to my overall sheltered-ness as a homeschooler) pre-disposed me to general optimism.
For instance, I had a single, 30-something woman friend tell me lately about how we statistically have a much lower chance of finding husbands than at any other time in history (except maybe for in post-WWI England). Apparently, there are more gay men than gay women, more women than men willing to commit to relationships, fewer men in church, and more women just in the general population (except maybe in China).
My friend was trying to use these statistics to discourage me, but I’m the type of person who sees a statistic and says…
In my rosy outlook on life, the odds are ever in my favor.
- John Calvin
John Calvin was a man who lived a few centuries ago and taught that God is ultimately sovereign over salvation, events, and individual lives (if I may sloppily narrow it down to one sentence). His theological system has been dubbed “Calvinism,” which is sometimes (if not entirely accurately) synonymously referred to as “Reformed doctrine.” I’m not doing Reformed people any favors by continuing to explain it, but suffice it to say that because of my Reformed/Calvinistic belief system, I believe the following.
God ordained marriage in the very beginning of the Bible, creating the perfect man for Eve (Genesis 2:7) and later the perfect woman for Adam (Genesis 2:22). Throughout the Old Testament, we have story after story of God matching up specific men with specific women. Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel, Hosea and Gomer, Ahasuerus and Esther, Boaz and Ruth…the list goes on.
In the New Testament, God gave a man named Joseph to a woman named Mary, because He knew that Mary would need the God-fearing, spiritually sensitive, wise Joseph to care for her as she carried God’s very Son (Jesus) in her womb and reared Him up in the world (Matthew 1:18-25).
All those marriages – they were all on purpose, leading up to the time when Jesus would be born as a human (Matthew 1:1-17). God planned all of everything – person by person, marriage by marriage, generation by generation, so that His Son could come in order to save Mary and everyone else who believes in Him (Luke 19:10).
Just as God was in control of those events – just as He was sovereign over history – He was sovereign in the life of Jesus. He sent Jesus at that specific time to live like a righteous person (2 Corinthians 5:21), die like a sinning person (2 Corinthians 5:21), and rise from the dead like a BOSS (Romans 6:9).
In Jesus’ life on this earth, God chose to leave Jesus single. In Jesus’ life post-resurrection, God has betrothed Jesus to a particular bride; the church, made up of individuals chosen by God and clothed in the perfection of Jesus, will be wed to God’s Son at the end of time. If THAT isn’t a great example of “the one,” I don’t know what is.
Now, you can be a Christian and believe that we choose God, not that He chooses us. I’m not here to debate theological systems (though you can message me if you’d like to get into that). But because I believe that God ordains/chooses salvation in individuals, I believe He also ordains/chooses other things – like relationship statuses, DTRs, and (yes) spouses.
And if marriage is a picture of Jesus Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:25-27), then what other conclusion could I come to, than that God has a groom picked out for me?
My former pastor, Tim Cain, tells the story of how he tried to set up his now-wife with someone else before they were dating. He laughs at the story now, saying, “If it’s God’s will for you to be with someone, you can’t screw it up.”
I’ve seen man after man who liked me (or who turned me down) eventually meet and marry someone who was wildly more suited to them than I would have been. It hasn’t been despite the “no” answers that they were able to find the women of their dreams; rather, it’s been because of the “no” answers. If I’d said, “Yes,” to any of them, it would have been like this:
So wrong, so wrong.
All this adds up to my belief that God brings specific people to each other, sovereignly ordaining their marriages.
Yes, even Cinderella and Prince Charming, because if that’s not twuuuu wuuuuv, then what is?
Oh yeah, the Gospel. The Gospel story of Jesus and His bride is true love. And that’s what keeps me going until Jesus brings me to the marriage altar or to heaven. Win-win.