It is all to common to hear people speak of finding “the one” they were “meant” to spend the rest of their lives with. The concept of “the one” and finding that “one” person is reinforced at every turn– from movies to romance novels to theology. Christians in particular seem to gravitate towards the thought that there is only one special and unique individual that was created just for them in order that they might experience the true depths of marital bless. This person is thus considered to be “God’s will” for them. The challenge of life then is to see yourself as on a quest to find and discover God’s will… this “one” person God created just for you.
Personally I feel the Christian infatuation with the concept of “the one” has not helped our marriages in the least. Many Christians end up finding themselves in unfulfilling marriages and think, “God’s will is that the one is supposed to make me happy. But I’m not happy in this marriage. Therefore I must not have married the one. And if I’m not married to the one than that means I’m not in God’s will. For me to rediscover God’s will for my marriage I must get a divorce so that I am free to go find the one God created just for me.”
While it may be comforting on one level to think that God is meticulously controlling every thought and choice you make to guarantee that your path intersects with the one meant for you, the fact is God’s will does not operate in this causal deterministic way. God’s will is that you exercise your freedom responsibly and obediently while simultaneously asking God for wisdom in your decision making.
It has been said by others that if Christians gave more thought to becoming the one and less time on finding the one, we would have less divorce in the Church. Rather than thinking that there is only one person on the planet meant for you and that it’s up to you and God to find them, it is much more probable and helpful to envision a scenario whereby God allows our lives to intersect with a number of different people whom he knows we would be highly compatible with. If we missed “the one” while in university because we were too busy studying– no worries! God is faithful to allow another “one” to pass through our lives at a later stage in our life. And if we miss that “one” too, then God’s will is more than resourceful to introduce to us another “one”.
We need to ask God for wisdom, self-control and guidance. But the point is that in this context whomever we marry becomes the one!
A writer named Joey Nelson explains this thought succinctly, saying, “I don’t see God’s will regarding a marital partner as one single dot. There are many people within the sphere of God’s will that would make a good marital partner for you if you’re single. However, once a person is married, that general sphere does become a dot.“