At my youth group’s last Forerunner session, two of my besties shared candidly on the topic “Manifesting the Quest through Relationships”. Indeed, they were a perfect pair to speak on this as we all are eagerly looking forward to their happy transition from good friends to #MillarMatrimony come December. They highlighted on some pillars of relationship, like Trust, Value, Patience all while giving an audience of more than twenty, eyes and ears into their dating life and offering wisdom to our many personal questions.
Now… it really can’t be a relationship talk-shop without these two words coming up at least once: The One. The question usually goes like this: “How did you know he/she was the One for you?” Honestly, these words make all my insides cringe. We’ve heard it in almost every rom-com, chick-flick, romance novel, sit-com, series, poetry, music and everywhere else. These words seem to haunt to the hallowed halls that passionately ache for companionship in the hearts of men and women all over the world and especially now when millennials are anxious to post their #relationshipgoals on Instagram. Oh yes! That question was posed and needless to say, my friends did an excellent job of fielding it with much grace and understanding beyond their years.
To be honest, my aversion to these two words probably started after my last break-up. I know what you are thinking: One bad break-up and now I’m a cynic, trying to ruin the last beautiful thing in the world for everyone! But that couldn’t be farther from the truth! That break up also broke off this notion of “The One” and ushered in some of the most refreshing counsel and perspective on these words. Until then, I hadn’t understood how much trouble I was putting my heart in when I allowed those words to frame my view of love and relationship. I’ve often hoped that this real understanding of “The One” would be common knowledge for all my brothers and sisters in Christ but I’m not certain it is the case. These two words are still deeply rooted in the talk and thought of many Christian young men and women today. Makes me wonder, why? I believe this is cause for some examination and conversation around this topic.
What is “The One”?
Google plainly describes it as “a person’s destined life partner.” You may have also heard it explained as a soul mate or that one true love. It is really a cute sentiment for hopeless romantics (like myself) to use when the pangs for longing hit the core of heart’s deep desire for a special someone who will love ONLY US and no-one else! The definition suggests that in this great big ole’ world, there is only one solitary love out there that will fulfill all our expectations for what good love is. One person… in 7 billion! Some haystack!
Subconsciously, I think our minds have already done the math and in looking for a more feasible alternative than roaming the length and breadth of the earth searching for someone, it resorts to an ongoing fantasy of strategic picking based on the ‘perfection list’ we have concocted in our heads. If in our minds a particular person, one we know or not, seems to fit the bill, then by Jove, that’s our soul mate! That’s The One! During my early teens, Daniel Radcliffe was my soul mate simply because he was British, a wizard and we both shared the same first name. Box office kismet! As we grow older and our list develops, we continue to pick and choose who to set our hearts on, from celebrities, to the guy at work, to the girl sitting next to you at church. We simply lure our hearts into thinking ‘maybe he/she is the One for me!’
The notion of “The One” carries with it some seriously faulty thinking:
The most obvious being that there is only one person for you to be happy with.
This drastically limits your opportunities at happiness while greatly increasing your chances at a life of unhappiness and depression. Joe Solomon had put forward two scenarios of possibly finding and marrying The One: What if they died due to some unfortunate circumstance. Does that mean you can never remarry because you have lost the only person fit for you? Or what if your soul mate married the wrong person. What would that mean for you? And if other people marry the wrong person then wouldn’t that have a significant ripple effect on all the other people and their chances at being with The right One? Think about it! The likelihood of finding the perfect one is not as practical or as probable as we want to think.
There is no happiness or completion of self without this person.
“You complete me!” is the first thing we are waiting to say when our eyes meet and our hearts know we were made for each other! Before that, we hated our lives, careers, bodies, our hearts filled with deep discontentment until this one person comes and magically takes all of that away with a kiss. That void inside becomes filled… for a moment and then it needs constant refilling from the endless love you two share. However, no man or woman can successfully fill the voids in our hearts.
It is an awful mental default setting when a relationship goes wrong.
If the relationship ends, not matter whose fault it is, that person automatically gets disqualified as being The One for us anymore. So we keep moving on, never fully addressing real issues that may be present in our lives and affecting our relationships. Or they reverse is true, when we are willing to stay in painful, sometimes dangerous, relationships because we believe this person is the one for us! Or we wait for the person who we think is the one to come back to us because we missed our chance with them in the past.
We neglect the many possible hearts that could be “The One” during our ridiculous search.
“I’m sorry Bob! I just don’t think you are the one for me!” We can so quickly over look those who do not fit a stroke on our perfection list as unworthy of our interest. Many times, we are losing opportunities to befriend and get to know all kinds of different people, which is just healthy human behaviour period!
“The One” breeds selfishness and unrealistic expectation in our hearts.
That perfection list will never be met by a real person but our hearts have hella trouble trying to see past it. If we were honest about what was on our list, we would see how perfectly selfish they are, asking everything of the other person but requiring nothing from ourselves:
He/She must be:
Tall, 38 breast, long hair, no moustache, love their family but not too much so I won’t get jealous, sooooooo good in bed, cook, clean and wash, understand what I want before I have to say it, can handle my snoring or designer shoe fetish, reads Scriptures and spearheads our daily devotions. Oh, and must love everything about me… even my flaws! Amen!
We can’t see past our idea of them.
We become walking, talking, somewhat delusional romantics, lost in our own fantasy world and consumed by our pursuit of love. Imagine every conversation leading to the same point… ‘I don’t know who they are but I know someone is out there (staring into middle distance) waiting for me!’ A misplaced hope in the universe to bring this person to us at just the right time. So not matter who we meet, our first impression of them will be judged based on how well they meet our list.
Forgive my sarcasm, exaggerations, melodrama and mockery, but I am trying to put across how wildly unhealthy this way of thinking can be. When every love song throws you into heated flash forwards of running in slow motion into the arms of The One, we have a problem that needs addressing!
Why is the notion of “The One” so dangerous?
Myles Munroe once said (paraphrased):
“If God had one person in this whole world that was perfect for you, he would keep you as far away from them as possible!”
Gotta love his flair for the profound!
He is absolutely right! If God in his wisdom and sovereignty had created a human being whose sole purpose was to fulfill every desire our heart could imagine then what need would we have for the Love of God through the Love of Christ Jesus? And God would have to do everything in His power to keep us from finding such a person! They would inevitably become our god for “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:21)” . Everything we desire should not be locked up in any one person, outside of the God-Man Jesus!
In every portion of scripture, the Word of God points our hearts to the passionate sacrificial love of Jesus. The Only One who died for us and is able to touch and fill that God sized void in our heats! Isn’t it odd that nowhere in the Bible are the words “The One” recorded as referring to the pursuit of a mate or marriage? Yes, we can argue that the Bible was written centuries before this jargon came about but still, in any case, the title of “The One” befits only one God (Jehovah), the one man, Jesus Christ (God’s Son) and the one Holy Spirit (God’s Spirit)! (And maybe his archetype Neo if you are into the Matrix!) That understanding alone should begin to put the position of a future spouse into perspective.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37)” – Our God is jealous of us and desires our hearts to be fully set on Him as The Only One who can satisfy us. Taking that glory and bestowing it in the head of a mere man is a perversion of who man is in relation to God and it will begin to destroy all our relationships, chiefly our relationship with God.
Can “The One” be good?
Advice from my youth leader: “They only become The One on your wedding day!” Within the context of covenant, ‘The One’ you take down the aisle is a good thing! Covenant is what makes the two, one flesh (Genesis 2:24) and the courtship/engagement process should be a prayerful and watchful time to ensue one is making a good/best/right decision on who to marry. They will in no ways be perfect as you will be also but God has given us all free will to choose even down to our mates! Thank goodness He still gives guidance during that time.
Paradigm shift required
In recent years, I have become more aware of what is commonly said. Many times we say things we believe and are unconscious of why we believe them and how that belief is impacting our lives. Human beings love stories and we particularly enjoy the love stories of others. No shame in that! Our curiosity about how others came to know who they should marry fuels our own desire to know who we might marry. Depending on if we like their story, we can intentionally try to recreate the love story of others in our lives, in hopes to not miss our chance at happiness and bliss. Maybe it is time we trust God to guide us in this area than to make it happen how we have imagined it for years. We submit all things to God in prayer, even ‘The One’, and ask for His best instead. God’s best is Himself first. He is The One our hearts are longing for. He may not look or feel like much at first but with time and understanding, God shows himself to be True. I like to think that when we are willing to accept Jesus as the love of God shown to us in the most unexpected way, then our hearts become willing to receive His version of what Love and Relationship looks like in others. If it’s any consolation, I’m sure all our stories will be romantic ones on our way to covenant.
With that being said,
Let the record show, that Jesus Christ is only version of ‘The One’ worth looking for. #JCMD