You are Not the Guy I'm Going to Marry

You are not the guy I'm going to marry.

And that's OK.

I don't need you to be the guy I'm going to marry.

And we don't need those kind of expectations on this thing which is just beginning. On this first email. On this first phone call. On this first cuppa coffee. On this first dinner. On this first brush of our hands. On this first kiss.

***

Dating has always been a formidable thing to me.

As a teenager, guys weren't really interested in me. I was smart, scary smart according to my guy friends. And I had a pitifully low self-esteem which I imagine did not make me seem all that attractive to my pimple-faced, male peers.

This changed my freshman year of college when all of the sudden guys were interested. Lots of them. And it completely freaked me out after only having "gone out" with a total of two boys my entire middle school and high school career.

I floundered under the attention, so much so, I took a vow of dating chastity to hide behind and escape all the sudden attention.

This proved ineffective. An ineffective deterrent to interested guys and an ineffective defense to keep my own heart from being spellbound by the guys around me.

So I slowly began dating again, but always with this in mind "could he be the one?"

The one.

It's a horrible concept perpetuated by fairy tales and chick flicks and romance novels.

The soul mate. The one perfect person in all of seven billion who compliments me in every way and will make me immensely happy.

Let's face it. He/she doesn't exist.

In our Christian circles we have made it even harder on ourselves, looking for not only "the one" but "God's match".

Talk about pressure.

In fact the dating website I chose touts this is as their tagline, "Find God's match for you."

So then, when I go on a casual date, am I supposed to be analyzing if he is God's match for me? If I'm this Adam's rib? If I'm the Rebekah to his Isaac? If I'm the Ruth to his Boaz?

Believe me, I've wanted to believe in the "the one" concept. It makes things rather idealistically easy, doesn't it?

If God has a perfect match for me somewhere out there praying for me and readying himself to be my husband, well great. That means I'm off the hook. I don't need to put myself out there. I don't need to date. I don't need to do anything. God will bring him around when the time is right and everything is inline with His infinitely good plan.

Wonderful.

And perhaps God does, on occasion, chose to work this way, but I think for the most of us he doesn't.

Rather, I believe God wants us to do the hard work of dating. Of figuring out what character traits we like, which ones we don't. Discovering what personalities traits and physical appearances we're attracted to. Discovering which ones we're not attracted to. Learning how to conduct ourselves in a godly way on the dating field - guarding our hearts and honoring the person across from us. Shaping and preparing our own character.

And as for "the one"? I rather believe there are several "the ones". There are many men/women we connect with. Many we can like and have liking turn into love. Many who we can mutually choose to do the hard work of relationship and love and marriage with. Many who we can choose not to walk those roads with.

Maybe I can think this because I believe in a God who gives us choice. I believe in a God who has made each of us infinitely unique, meaning we have infinite possibilities of connecting with other human beings.

Maybe I need to believe this because I loved my ex so much. Because I wanted to marry him and because I believe God blessed that path. And because he did not want to do the hard work. Because although he said he wanted to marry me, he couldn't bring himself to the commitment.

Maybe I believe because it is OK if there is no "the one". Because I am immensely happy with the me God created me to be and do not need a "the one" to be complete.

And so no, you are not the man I'm going to marry. Not now anyway. Not in the foreseeable future. You and I, we can take this one day at a time, one moment at a time, without pressure, without expectations of being each others "ones".

I think this is a wonderful thing.