I have met so many Christian people over the years who just want to love—and be loved in return—to share life with someone, to marry and have children, and grow old together. Their desire is to act on their God given desires to go forth and populate the world.
The various parts of my journey—before and after—meeting and eventually marrying my wife were filled with a spectrum of pain through to bliss, and eventually fulfilling those God given desires.
So why do so many I meet over the years seem to fail at finding 'the one'?
What's on your list?
I have known several Christian girls with their 'list' of wants as they wait on God for 'the one' who fits their detailed desires.
When someone comes along who does not fit one of the points on the list, 'No, wrong hair colour...' they simply turn their head away and reassert: 'No, God has the one on this list and I am going to wait.' Year after year, 'the one' never shows and they start to wonder why God is delaying their request.
How can we expect this list of an ideal person to be fulfilled when we are all so imperfect? I feel it is unreasonable and unfair to expect someone flawless to come along.
Philippians chapter 4, verse 6 assures us, 'Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.' But if those requests are not in line with God's plan for your life, can we expect this list to be fulfilled?
God has 'the one' for you
I used to believe God had someone stashed away for me, but I no longer believe this.
Nowhere in the Bible does it state that God has 'the one' lined up for you; your perfect soul mate, revealed to you at exactly the right moment. As if all you need to do is sit back and relax, 'the one' will conveniently arrive, you will get married and be in marital bliss for all eternity.
We must address our own expectations and our view of God. Are we treating him like a genie to magically fulfil our wishes? Or can we acknowledge he is more powerful and able to be sovereign and good over all life's circumstances: even when our good desires go unfulfilled?
There is much emphasis on marriage in the Bible, but none on our modern concept of dating. For the Hebrews and the early church, dating was not an issue to be addressed in Scripture. Sex and marriage were, but not dating.
A person basically had one of three options: remaining single and celibate, living an amoral life with multiple partners or prostitutes, or an arranged marriage. There were courtship rituals in place, but nothing that looks like what we consider dating today.
Sure, there are biblical principles that we can apply to modern dating; following of the principles for gentleness, respect, purity and kindness (Galatians chapter 5, verses 19-23), you will do much better in your dating and life in general.
I recall the night I met my future-wife-to-be. I was visiting a church with a friend and his girlfriend. When the service was over I walked about, saying hello to people and generally checking the place out. While I waited for my friends I retired to the entry foyer, looking at the various pamphlets in the information board.
My future wife Michelle was hanging around the foyer too, saying goodbye to friends. She smiled nicely when I looked at her. 'She looks friendly, I'll go talk to her while I wait' I thought as I went over. We began chatting for a few minutes.
My friend and his girlfriend returned and I invited her to come to McDonalds with us as we hadn't eaten yet. I got her number at the end of the night and organised a date. A few days later we ended up chatting while shopping for DVDs around Adelaide.
The rest is history.
A few weeks later, we attended a formal dinner at her church (she had been attending for about six months).
We are arrived all dressed up in our formal gear, ready for a fun night; but as we entered none of the girls at the church acknowledged her.
Michelle thought this was strange and asked one good friend that cared to speak to us, 'what was up with everyone?'
It turns out they were jealous that Michelle had gotten a boyfriend before them—they felt they were next in line! She stole their chance. Yet, the night I met Michelle no other girl as much as looked at me!
What are your expectations?
Reflecting on her experience, Michelle feels God firmly told her to stick with me when we were dating (she had previous issues with getting cold feet). I did not hear from God and just had a simple criterion for a girl to marry—that she was generally a nice person.
Being single can be great: all the time in the world is yours to share with God. There are no arguments about chores and decisions are easy. For some, staying single is their choice, and we are all free to choose whether we might someday marry or not.
But if it gets to a time when you desire to find a partner in life, to love and be loved in return and to start a family, an important question to ask is: what are your expectations?
Michael Dahlenburg is an electronics engineer currently working in the ATM industry. He is non-denominational and has previously been involved in church plants and assisting those in ministry. His interests include; enjoying family, home DIY, gardening, most things tech-related and driving his wife crazy with a constant stream of inventions! You can view his blog site here: www.mickdahl.weebly.com
He lives with his wife Michelle and three children in God's own land of Southern Adelaide, Australia.
Michael Dahlenburg's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/michael-dahlenburg.html