A Marriage Myth
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29)
Conventional wisdom says over fifty percent of the marriages in the United States will end in divorce, though some statisticians question that figure. Even if the divorce rate is not quite fifty percent, it is certainly not much less than that, and, regrettably, professing Christians in this country are as likely to get a divorce as non-believers.
Therefore, it will be helpful for us to debunk one Christian myth regarding marriage in order to help couples sustain their unions and single people find spouses. Dr. R.C. Sproul says this myth is: “There is only one man or woman on this earth who is perfect for me.”
Calling this belief a myth does not deny God’s sovereignty. We rightly deduce from the Lord’s ordination of all things that whether we will marry and who our spouses will be is not outside of His control. However, this aspect of our lives is found in His secret counsel by which He governs all things that ever happen. This will is unknown to us, as today’s passage teaches, and we should not worry about it.
Embracing this perfect mate “fairy tale,” as Dr. Sproul calls it, is very problematic. First, it may make single people too picky when they look for a spouse. Actually, there are many men or women who could be a great partner for each woman or man. Those who look for the man or woman who is “perfect” for them will likely be disappointed. We are to look for someone who is compatible, not “perfect.”
Believing there is only one perfect mate also creates problems for married people. Since a married couple is always made up of two sinners, all marriages have difficulties at one time or another. If I think there is only one “perfect person” out there for me, it will be quite easy to dwell on the thought: “Maybe I married the wrong person. If I had married the ideal person, everything would be just fine.” Chewing on this thought is the first step toward divorce.
Christians do not stay married because they have chosen the “perfect” spouse. Marriage lasts for those who know they got married for God’s glory primarily, not themselves (1 Cor. 10:31). These couples stay together because they know dissolving marriage vows dishonors the Lord in almost every case (Num. 30:2).
Single Christians must be careful not to think there is only one person out there who would make a perfect spouse for them. If you are single and want to get married, do not rule out someone with whom you are personally compatible just because he or she is not the perfect physical or financial specimen. If you are married, remember your marriage vows today and commit yourself again, with God’s help, that you will not break them.
Passages for Further Study
- Lev. 21:10–15
- Prov. 31:30
- Matt. 19:1–12
- 1 Tim. 6:11