The following is an article that was written when someone asked us the following questions: “Did God create one life partner for one person? What if you miss him or her and marry the wrong one? My answer:
Your question is quite difficult to answer because who knows the mind of God—except God Himself. But I can give you my educated opinion. I truly believe that God created us to marry one life partner (until death parts us). But I don’t necessarily think there is only one husband or wife out there that is the only one for us.
I think God draws men and women together but ultimately He gives us the choice. When we lack wisdom, the Bible tells us to ask for it and God will give it to us generously (James 1:5). I believe this also pertains to who we decide to marry. If we truly want what is best for us in who we marry, we need to ask God for wisdom and then pursue looking for the answer He will provide. But then as the Bible also tells us in James chapter 1, we need to make sure that when we ask we believe without doubting His answer—believing in His loving care.
The problem we often have is we think that God wants to give us what makes us immediately happy. Author Al Janssen gives us a good insight into this faulty way of thinking. He says, “Happiness and self-fulfillment are natural by-products of marriage as God intend —not the primary purpose for marriage. The first marriage (with Adam and Eve) was at least as much about relating to God as it was about relating to each other.”
We seem to get the idea that marriage is all about us and our love and not about how it pertains to anyone else. That’s so untrue! “Marriage is a covenant relationship that God wants to use for His glory to give the world a glimpse of what He is like” (Al Janssen). It’s a living picture displayed through a husband and wife of God’s love for His church the Bride.
Marriage is also “a tool and a test to deepen your love, trust, and obedience for Jesus Christ. Marriage is not about you. It’s about God —reflecting the love and character of Christ in all we do” (Emerson Eggerichs). That’s why it’s so important to “consider the cost” of the sacrifice God intends for us to live out for the rest of our lives before the wedding. Because once we marry—once we make that solemn vow before God, He intends for us to follow through with that which we promised.
We want to be careful with whom we promise to spend the rest of our lives. Will that person be the type who will be committed to help you (and for you to help them) live out your lives together to the glory of God so others are affected in a positive way because of your union?
The Bible says, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (Romans 8:5).What immediately looks good to us—the one we’re certain God would approve of (because they “appear” to be the best for us) may not actually be the best choice for our lives in the long term (it may, but it also may not be). That’s why we need to earnestly seek true wisdom from God and be living in close relationship with God so we know when God is speaking to us.
We need to be patient in deciding who to marry and really look at whether they would be thebest spiritual partner for us as well as life partner—because when we marry God intends for us to be joined with them spiritually for the rest of our lives. And if they don’t live out that which God values as being important, that could forever greatly affect our lives (and our future children and so many others) in very negative ways.
Something to consider on what marriage is really about is living together in an intimate working relationship with each other and with God. As author and speaker, David Ferguson said,
“Maybe God created us with a duality of neediness—both an intimate relationship with God and with meaningful others (like our spouse). Why did God do that? It’s possible that God has given us humans horizontal relationships to serve as a context in which we live out that which we claim to know and believe about God. Maybe the beautiful part of what marriage is all about is to challenge us in an environment of accountability, to live out that which we claim to know and believe about God.”
Someone once said, “The point of life is not to focus on the blessings of life, but to be a part of God’s bigger story.” And being a part of God’s bigger story may not involve marrying the one who looks the most obvious that they’re “the one” for us. It may be like in the Bible when God chose David to be king when everyone else overlooked him and didn’t even start to consider him. His brothers looked like more obvious ones to choose than David. But David is described as “a man after God’s own heart.”
When it comes down to choosing a spouse, I’d much rather choose someone who is a “man after God’s own heart” than someone who appears to look good on the outside but really isn’t the one to team up with to effectively participate in God’s “bigger story” for blessing the world we’re placed in.
With that said, I think there may be several choices in this world of individuals that could make a really good spouse for us should we meet them and eventually choose one of them. I don’t necessarily believe there is only one person in the world for us to choose. The timing of meeting them, the person they are when we meet them, and where we are in our own maturity and the circumstances currently happening in our lives will all play into whether someone would be the best choice to be our spouse for that time in our lives. Continually asking God for wisdom when we meet someone will eventually help us to know whether we should pursue getting to know them better as a potential spouse.
But I also believe that once we marry someone—at the moment we make the vow to “love, honor, and cherish them, forsaking all others, until we’re parted by death” as we pronounce in the marriage ceremony, it then becomes a sacred covenant—not only between us and our spouse—but also with God Himself. And that isn’t something to be taken lightly.
At that moment, they become our life partner—whether it was God’s first choice for us or not. At that moment we need to apply the Bible verse to our life that says, “…forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
You asked if I believe that God created one life partner for one person. My answer is no. You also asked, “What if you miss that person and marry the ‘wrong one’? I think something author and speaker Zig Ziglar said makes a lot of sense on this issue when talking to someone who thought maybe they HAD married the wrong person when he said,
“I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person, but I do know that many people have a lot of wrong ideas about marriage and what it takes to make that marriage happy successful. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s possible that you did marry the wrong person. However if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having marriage the right person after all.
As Bill Hybels, in his wonderful book, Fit to Be Tied says (which I thoroughly agree with),
“Marriage can be wonderful. It can be deeply satisfying and mutually fulfilling. But if it becomes that, it is because both partners have paid a very high price over many years to make it that way. They will have died to selfishness a thousand times. They will have had countless difficult conversations. They will have endured sleepless nights and strained days. They will have prayed hundreds of prayers for wisdom and patience and courage and understanding. They will have said ‘I’m sorry’ too many times to remember. They will have been stretched to the breaking point often enough to have learned that, unless Christ is at the center of both of their lives, the odds for achieving marital satisfaction are very, very low.”