We’ve heard them before.
In poetry and prose...in story and song…
in wedding vows.
If you’ve ever fallen head over heels in love, chances are you’ve spoken them yourself.
They’re a set of the most beautifully loving and dangerously misleading words you’ll ever introduce into your marriage.
The idea of “The One” is undeniably a cultural cliche, but the simplicity and ease of the phrase keeps us coming back. Even for single believers ardently seeking God’s will in their lives, their prayer for marriage often begins with “Lord, bring me the One.”
It’s well-meaning, to be sure. But we all know the cliche about the destination of the road paved with good intentions.
In his article on Relevant Magazine, “Two Words that Could End Your Marriage,” Kenneth Reid makes his case against the use of “The One.” According to Reid, they’re not loving words, they’re dangerous rhetoric:
“Words are powerful. We can phrase things in a way that makes the most righteous of actions seem fatal or the worst of sins justifiable. I think it is the same with ‘The One’ rhetoric.”
It’s not just the idea of one. We believe, after all, that God has an absolute plan and purpose for our lives, which includes the one man or woman we’re meant to partner with. It’s the idea of the One that’s so dangerous. Though we mean to pray “God, send me the one You have for me,” or “Lead me to the one I am to share my life with,” in our hearts “the one You have for me” becomes “The One.” Note the capitalization.
Reid writes that it’s not the idea as much as the unrealistic ideal it creates — one with consequences that will crop up sometimes years down the line.
“There is not an individual on this planet who could ever meet all of our expectations, because we are sinners who have wrong expectations, and because we are married to sinners who let us down. Your spouse will disappoint you and probably already has.”
That’s right, your husband or wife isn’t “the One,” nor are they meant to be. Your spouse was never meant to take the place that Christ only ever could. But if we grasp that, we’re setting ourselves up for something deeper, greater, and more joyful.
To quote Jesus, “a person who is forgiven little shows only a little love (Luke 7:47).” Yes, the gospel tells us that those who are forgiven more love more. True to the upside-down working of the Kingdom, the gospel of grace can set you up for greater love in your marriage.
So if you’re finding yourself giving in to culture’s lie of “the One,” or disillusioned by disappointment or pain, revert back to grace. If only we embrace the weakness of the other, we would be setting ourselves up to love like Jesus loves. Fully. Passionately. Graciously. Relentlessly.
You don’t need to squint to see your marriage, or constantly look for a new pane of rose-colored glass through which to see your partner. You can live with an open heart and open eyes, embracing every flaw and failure... knowing God has not only joined you with the person He meant for you to be with... He is doing His work in you both.
Article date: September 26, 2017
Photo courtesy: ©Unsplash
Cristina Rutkowski Ford is the editor of BibleStudyTools.com.