According to recent statistics, over half the U.S. adult population is single. This is the highest percent of unmarried adults since the U.S. census began tracking the data. Although there are many factors that can skew the numbers in one direction or another, the fact remains that marriage is on the decline. The question is “Why?” Why are adults forgoing the safety and stability that comes with lifelong commitment? Is it a choice? Is it an avoidance of responsibility or an aversion to permanence? Or are sincere and honest hearts having this unity and place of safety stolen from them?
Some “experts” say that fifty years ago a woman simply found a man to provide for her as she looked forward to staying home to raise the children. She had no opportunities, no goals, and no vision for herself outside of the home. But that is not accurate. Many of that generation had great vision and still do. The shallow conclusion, tainted by the echo of the women’s movement that followed, never resembled the truth that was alive in women of that day.
Now, two generations later, bookstores are flooded with advice-saturated manuals on how to find the perfect mate. In fact, a number of popular editions agree that the pattern from which wisdom emanates begins with a clear expectation of what a single person wants in life. This “Mental Mindset Model” begins and ends with intellectual reasonings. Consider the illustration below. Each puzzle piece represents a certainty about the person’s future – a goal constructed and formed in the intellect.
It’s a future that is all boxed up with certain expectations. Maxims that cannot be altered or adjusted. Expectations that have only one path, one purpose, and one conclusion.
When the person is finished, all that is left is the one puzzle piece in the shape of one’s spouse. He or she will fit in that spot, touching all the other pieces to complete the picture.
From that point on, every potential mate is mentally screened, using the check list of ever-present puzzle pieces. And through this screening process, hearts are exposed, souls become wounded, and spirits are broken. Wash, rinse and repeat.
We suggest that it is this “road map to marriage” that is responsible for the current epidemic of singleness. Why? Because it is based on mental reasonings even though marriage is a spiritual union and like every other God-ordained connection, it is spiritually discerned. Not mentally discerned, but spiritually discerned. We suggest that there is a better model.
As children of God, we have His Spirit within us, leading and guiding us along the way. Like a Geiger counter, we know when we are going in the right direction. There is a peace. Sometimes an urging. Often a perception that “this is right.” It’s a day by day walk, filled with joy and comfort. In contrast, confusion, fear of going in the wrong direction, and anxiety about marrying the wrong person, are not from God. This torment comes from the enemy of our souls.
Rather than try to fit the spouse into a person’s “future-in-a-box,” We propose that finding a mate looks more like this:
The intersecting portion – the space where the woman and the man overlap – is the spirit-centered place in each that signals a coming-home, of sorts. It is a spot spiritually discerned. Assuming that each is a person of integrity and honesty, a child of God and sincere in faith, this life force will begin to wake up. Like when John the Baptist leaped in his mother’s womb at the sound of Jesus’ mother’s voice, our spirits will begin to stir ever so slightly when we become acquainted with our life-long partner.
It’s a small perceiving that you are coming home.
As for future plans, did Sarah sign up to leave her homeland and venture to places yet unknown when she married Abraham? If she had modeled her expectations as the world instructs us to do today, then it might have been Abraham and Sophia, or Abraham and Kathy. For Sarah would have maintained her “future-in-a-box” stance and never yielded to the quiet urging of God.
In the beginning, Sarah had no idea of what was to come or how she would eventually have her heart’s desire of a child, giving birth in her nineties! Yet she gave herself permission to trust and as she and Abraham walked out their faith, their joined forces, their doubling of gifts and talents, insights and wisdom, abilities and faith produced a great union for God.
Does this mean that each person must abandon his/her personal visions and dreams? That they must lose themselves in the all-consuming will of another? Absolutely not! When GOD brings two people together, knowing what He has placed in each heart, He makes all things well. Sometimes life evolves differently than what was mentally planned, as in Sarah and Abraham’s great adventure, but in the end, the destination is always on the mark.
And it begins with a stirring, a sweet signal, that eye has not seen nor ear heard what the Lord has prepared for His children.
– End –