If there is one thing that I have learnt over the years (though I still have much to learn) is that good premises build good arguments. False premises produce rumours, fallacies and deception. What does that have to do with “the one”? Everything. Over the years, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I have seen His words to be true and dependable premises to all that concerns my life- my relationships, my money, my sexuality, my attitudes, my career. Literally everything! I have also seen that for the times I have trashed God’s word concerning a certain area of my life, I have failed terribly or I have not succeeded as much as I could have. In light of this, Beloved, I have learnt to build all my premises on the Word of God- the Bible. I have seen that when I spend time in the Word, I truly understand what God expects of me, even if the passage is a bunch on names of sons, daughters and descendants. With time, the person who submits to the authority of scripture, makes good decisions and has lasting good results of their decisions because their premises were informed biblically. I say all that to say this: the idea of “the one” is a bad premise. To sound a bit brash to some who still don’t understand me, this is it: there is no such thing as “the one.” Boom! I said it! This is the cutting edge. This is the challenge of status quo. This is the breaking point of the current mindset concerning relationships. This is it: there is no such thing as the one. I said it again. Double boom! You don’t need a triple boom to understand what I am saying. The issue of finding “the one” is as real as Shrek and Fiona’s marriage- lots of laughter and a talking donkey with bad advice. That proverbial donkey may be your elder sister who is still looking for the one. Let’s face it, she shouldn’t be talking without anything to show. I say so because when I was single I had all the advice on how to handle relationships but when the rubber meets the road, I realised I was very immature; you need advice from someone who has been there. Not that I have made it in or that I am an expert at this- no. I’m no expert, but I believe that even a King can learn a few tricks from a peasant. Consider me your peasant blogger for the day concerning “the one”.
The reason our culture is obsessed about finding “the one” is because we have idolized emotions over commitment. We are desperate for relationships with a subtle pride that says we will find true love apart from God. In fact, many of you may even believe that God and romance don’t mix well. You’re wrong. This is as far as some of you will choose to read because that last part pinched a few nerves. Wait, there is no such thing as “the one”. Ernest, you have made Penstrokes the official cult blog of the year. Listen, Beloved. Our convictions in life can be genuine but they can be genuinely wrong. If you are a believer, you know that the only thing worse than changing the truths of the scriptures is adding to the scriptures. Either way, we make God say what He does not say. At times, we take our life experiences and conform Biblical contexts to fit in them and then we call it God’s will. It’s wrong, Beloved. Here is an example of what that looks like. A believer begins to date an unbeliever. The unbeliever comes to Christ and they get married. Awesome, right? The believer states that because the unbeliever came to Christ and that they got married and that they live happily, it is God’s will for believers to date unbelievers. When you mention a scripture like 2nd Corinthians 6:14 that overtly is against such a relationship, the believer may get angry and say, “But it worked for us. There is nothing wrong.” It is hard to argue with a man who has had experience, even if it means experience doing the wrong thing and things turn out all right. But we don’t realize that we live in a fickle world where bad guys can escape and good guys go to jail. We live in a world where nothing is constant. We would be genuine if we say it worked for us. But we would be genuinely wrong to say it was God’s will so it must work for everybody. Our experiences can never trample God’s word. I wouldn’t advise everyone to marry at age 22 just because I did. My example is not the template for relationships. Some marry at 40 at are still very happy, Beloved. Christians, especially, need to absorb this. When it comes to relationships, Beloved, the issue about “the one” is a bad premise. It doesn’t matter if “the ones” have been married for 60 years; if their convictions are not in line with God’s word, it is merely their experience- not the truth.
So, Ernest are you saying that people who thought they found “the one” and became happy are living false lives? No. Far be it from me that I should say that. This is what I’m saying: that God is his mercy has seen it fit to take our good, bad, wise and unwise decisions to turn them for our good, especially for the follower of Christ. He says in Romans 8:28 that all things work for good for those that love the Lord and are called unto his purpose. That means that Ernest can make a wrong choice concerning who to marry but it doesn’t paralyze God. God can turn a marriage that isn’t working to be the example for all of us to follow! The moment Ernest makes that choice (good or bad) God can turn it out for the better if invited. No married person should feel discouraged and cheated in life because they did not marry “the one”. You may say, “Well Ernest, that’s just great! Are you implying that it doesn’t matter who we marry, God will just fix it?” Nope, that would be awfully foolish. You don’t cross the road without checking for vehicles then state that the doctor will just cure you in hospital. If you make the wrong decisions concerning the persons you date, court and marry, you will be hit by the cars while you cross the road. Will God heal you? Yes if you ask Him, but is it worth all the time, money and emotional strain at the doctor’s? At times, God has a knack for letting those wounds heal slowly so that we may learn to trust him before crossing the road of relationships and so that we may not go back to our vomit. Don’t ask God to bless what you have insisted on. Ask him to bless you then walk into his plan. Be careful if you insist that you know better concerning your relationships, you could cross the road and change trajectory to the morgue instead of the hospital. And the question they will all ask when you are trapped in that abusive relationship will be, “Couldn’t she just have checked the road before she crossed?” You need to marry the right person. You need to date and court the right person. But you don’t need to marry, court and date, “the one”. The idea of “the one” is a premise that is often based on Disney movies, people like Ernest in love on the first week of their relationship and mostly- an innate desire to be loved perfectly.
Our idea of finding the right person to date, court and marry (as believers) should be based on what the scriptures say and not what we see on movie screens. Of course there have been arguments that Rebekah was found for Isaac- she must have been the one. Joseph was chosen for Mary- he must have been the one. When you look at the Bible on one flip-side, you are likely to develop convictions based on what you believe not on what the Bible actually says. Consider the flip-side. David took a man’s wife. He slept with the wife. He got her pregnant. When he couldn’t cover the pregnancy, he decided to kill the man. He then took in the wife of that man and began to live with her. That woman he took was called Bathsheba and he murdered husband was called Uriah. Bathsheba ended up being the mother of Solomon. Was she “the one”? Bathsheba ended up being the reason Jesus Christ was born. So was she “the one”? Let’s look at a less gory story. Jacob loved Rachel. The Bible says Rachel was eye candy! It says her sister, Leah, was not. Jacob was tricked to marrying Leah instead of Rachel. However, eventually he married Rachel, whom he loved so much. However, when both wives died, Jacob buried Rachel near Bethlehem and buried Leah with his ancestors the patriarchs. When Jacob was about to die, he requested to be buried near one of the two wives. Guess who? Did he choose “the one” called Rachel? No. He chose to be buried next to Leah in the cave at Machpelah. Was Rachel “the one”? How come after Jacob finally marrying “the one” he had no rest. When he meets Pharaoh in Egypt he says to the King, “My days have been long and bitter.” How can your days be long and bitter when you had “the one”? High School Musical will make you believe there is “the one” and that you need to kiss them and sparks will fly. Your new dating friend will tell you to wait for the one because she has to look as physically beautiful as you have imagined her to be. And your innate desire to be loved deeply, which can only be found in having Christ, can fool you into thinking there is only one person in the whole world for you to marry. If my wife dies today (God forbid it greatly!) I may marry someone else! I will grieve and I will miss them badly, but by the grace of God, I will understand that death is a natural part of life and I will be compelled to move on. I am not waiting for my loved ones to die. I am not expecting their demise soon. However, when death does come (and it will eventually), we have to move on, however painful it may be. Some may say to move on is cold and brutal. To them I say, wake up, Beloved! What planet do you live on? The idea of the one is based often on feelings that trample the sacred commitment of marriage. People who think they found “the one” often see a better one months down the line. So you may say, “Ernest, this was the most unromantic blog you’ve ever written. Where is the happy ending?” Here it comes.
The right one and not the one
Believers should focus their energies not in finding “the one” but in find “the right one”. Looking for the right one simply means going with God’s requirements for a lover/partner. Consult Him. What does he want your marriage to look like? With whom will you grow? With whom will you live fulfilled? And most importantly, what does the Bible say? The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:14 that the person must be united with you in the faith of Christ- not just in belief but in maturity. That’s point one. The Bible says in Leviticus 18:22 that the right one must be of the opposite sex. That is point two. The Bible says in 1st Corinthians 7:2 that the right one must choose to be monogamous and not polygamous (each man his own wife). That is another point. I am only scratching the surface of the scriptures here. The Bibles offers a lot, in terms of quality for a partner. These qualities are not idealistic. They are real and practical. Read more and see what the Bible has to say. Realise that the Bible gives us guidelines and we can make preferences within those guidelines. As long as they fit with what God says, I can choose to marry a white woman, a black woman or an Asian woman. I can fuss about her height but it does not primarily inform my choice. The important premise isn’t whether they have nice legs or not but whether they fit God’s description of a man of God or a woman of God. They may be tall, short, devastatingly cute or simply plain but they need to fit the right requirements for God’s plan for you. God has given you the free will and freedom to marry anyone- just let them be the right one. Some believers will pursue the tall, dark and handsome even if tall, dark and handsome beats them up silly- it’s immature, Beloved. Or tall, dark and handsome may be church-going so you believe that makes them qualify. Not necessarily. The more time you spend time in the word, the higher the chances you will date, court and marry the right one. “The one” insists on sexual compatibility; the right one insists on sexual purity. “The one” insists on being happy; the right one insists on serving. “The one” insists on worldliness; the right one insists on godliness. “The one” insists on dating to test and see if it works; the right one insists on dating with a purpose towards making it work for marriage. “The one” focuses on self; the right one focuses on the other. Date, court and marry the right one.
Be the one
If there is anything more important than finding the right person to marry it is BEING the right person to marry. Too many people are concerned about find the perfect person and too few people are concerned about being the right people. All we’re doing today is shopping for relationships instead of investing in them. Relationships are chiefly about giving. If you enter in a relationship with the intention of having a deep innate desire fulfilled or having a part of you completed, you will be heavily disappointed. Your partner, even if they fit God’s requirements cannot be your completion in this life or the after. They are, at the end of the day, humanity with flaws. You will date them for 2 years and when the feelings go you will say, they were not the one.” You will have a fight in your courtship and want to bail out because you believe they are not the one. You will have a tussle in your marriage and you will file for divorce because you possibly can’t believe that they are the one acting like that. The moment you said “I do” and made them your spouse they became the person for you. Why? Because God does not take pleasure in making rash promises on the altar. He says in Ecclesiastes 5:2 “Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.” God says in Malachi he hates divorce. I like what Proverbs 20:25 says: “Don’t trap yourself by making a rash promise to God and only later counting the cost.”
Don’t insist on marrying bad qualities to make them the one. It wont work. We said earlier that is not only foolish but it can also lead to a lifetime of pain- your perfect can be painful if you are stubborn. It could be a promiscuous wife who won’t stay at home. It could be a promiscuous husband who won’t stop drinking. If you focus on being the right person, you will attract the right person. Deep calls unto deep. Spend time in the Word, Beloved. Grow! Read books! Talk to mature men and women to ready your heart for a committed relationship not one based on fuzzy feelings that come and go. And also realise this: when you start to date and court and when you marry someone, you will ALWAYS see someone else with a better deal that what you have. Haha! I can see your eyes widening! Believe it. You’ve read this far, don’t quit. However, it will take maturity to know that your partner too sees other people better than you but chooses to stay with you. Now, that is undisney, unscripted, old school true love! And I can tell you, the best loves are those that commit before they feel mushy. You will always see a more patient man. You will always see a lady with smoother skin. You will always see a more charming gentleman. You will always see a lady with a gentler voice. Those things can be terrible premises for staring a relationship because they always change and people out there are always marketing their bodies and personalities to draw in relationships. Don’t fall in the net with the other fish. Do those characteristics matter? Yes they do, but only after the Biblical requirements are met. I love my wife’s gorgeous smile and beautiful face. But that wasn’t my decision to marry her. If her face was scarred today (God forbid) it will not change my commitment to her. But if your only fantasy premise for the relationship is destroyed, you will exit, Beloved, and you will hurt someone badly. A happily married man may have a plain wife but she is his best friend, best lover and best partner. Another may have the most beautiful partner and live in perpetual regret because they are unequally yoked.
I want you to consider Jesus Christ. He was the perfect groom without any flaws. He was rich, he had a big house in heaven with zillions of angels to attend to him. He had everything. He was to get a wife. He looked around and saw the potential wife called humanity. Humanity was promiscuous. Humanity was a liar, a con, foolish and very arrogant. Humanity had not even one good quality to make herself loveable. Yes Christ looked at you and I as the undesirable bride and still came on earth to court us. He didn’t have to choose us but he did even when we were at our worst. On the eve before his crucifixion, he sweated blood in the garden of Gethsemane, knowing that the marriage would destroy him- kill him. Still, he chose us. He saw our nefarious acts and still said he would marry us. He even asked his father if it was possible to stop the marriage and take the cup of suffering away from him. But according to the will of God (for your sake and mine) Christ took a bride who was not “the one” and died for her to give her life. Christ died so that you don’t have to, so don’t use this example as a premise to date a bad boy. That aside, this is the point. 2 Corinthians 9:8 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor so that you through his poverty might become rich.” He made us the right one for Him. Be the right one until he returns.
So, how did I know Turi was the one? She was the right one. And the right one, once married, becomes the one, especially when love and submission come into play. And that, Beloved, (in the worlds of Saint Paul) is a mystery!