I’m writing this on the 5th anniversary of my engagement to the man who is now my husband. Exactly five years ago today, my sweet husband asked, “Will you marry me?” as he opened the lid of a ring box that I didn’t even look at for 10 minutes (shock does strange things to a person).
Though my dating journey came to an end five years ago*, Dinuki Suraweera’s Relevant Magazine blog Stop Looking for the ‘Perfect’ Spouse, still resonated with me. At the time of our engagement, I was convinced that my husband-to-be was perfect. And I’m pretty sure he had yet to see any of my own flaws.
Somewhere down the line, Christian singles started looking for perfection in their spouses. Many will blame their unrealistic expectations on the Disney fairy tales they watched as children, but Suraweera writes that her ideas of perfection came from the Bible.
She sought, “Spiritual zeal like Peter, divine knowledge like Paul, wisdom like Solomon's, a cute face and great style—all in one person.”
To press on the point, Suraweera even shares a message she received from a potential suitor: “Well, kind of like the story of Isaac and Rebecca, when I first meet my future wife, I’ll just know.”
The author admits that she has dismissed Christian men for deviating even slightly from her “laundry list of must-haves.” At the same time, she believes Christian men have crossed her off for imperfections.
“It’s like we’re all in a holier-than-thou version of The Bachelor but instead of getting a rose, you get ghosted,” Suraweera writes.
Are Christian singles letting unrealistic expectations get in the way of dating?
Suraweera argues that they absolutely are.
“When Paul so wisely instructed the Corinthians to not be unequally yoked, seeking perfection was never mentioned,” she says.
While Suraweera does not suggest “settling” or dating just to date, she does suggest lowering your expectations below perfection.
This is the key:
“Just because a partner comes bearing some scars doesn’t make them less of a Godly mate—it just means they’ve experienced darkness and have now found the light—just like you have.”
As for me, my marriage to my “perfect” husband quickly crumbled. We had to pick up those pieces and rebuild a marriage that was in obedience to God: a beautiful image of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-32) where we live to be filled with Christ, not one another.
As Suraweera writes, “...if you’re going into marriage assuming that the perfect partner guarantees a perfect marriage, you’ll be unpleasantly surprised.”
I could not have said this better.
Author Gary Thomas writes for Crosswalk.com, “While the Bible is silent on how you can definitively know who you’re ‘supposed’ to marry, it does talk about the process of making wise decisions—applying biblical principles, seeking wise counsel, being deliberate and wise in your choice, considering the future, and basing your decision on the right priorities.”
Follow God and trust in Him as you navigate these waters, friends.
Suraweera says, “If you tear down your barriers and open up your heart, you’ll be amazed at what God can reveal to you in another person.”
*The author is not advocating that you stop “dating” your spouse and continues to go on regular dates with her husband.
Carrie Dedrick is an editor of Crosswalk.com. When she is not writing or editing, she can usually be found teaching dance classes, running marathons, or reading with at least one adopted dog on her lap.
Publication date: October 14, 2016