This is a question I get almost every day, and for a long time I didn’t really have an answer. Alyssa and I spend so much time writing and sharing our marriage that sometimes it can be easy to forget that there was a time when we didn’t know each other like we do now. After giving it some thought, I think I finally have an answer to all of you who want to know if you’ve finally found “The One”. Spoiler alert: it’s not a fairy tale answer.
THE BIBLE ISN’T AN INSTRUCTION MANUAL FOR ROMANCE.
Whenever I come across difficult questions in life, my first reaction is to look to scripture for an answer. As I’ve grown older, however, I’ve come to realize that the Bible isn’t a step-by-step guide to life. Most of us aren’t going to find the answer we’re looking for by combing through verses, hoping one jumps out to answer our very specific question about modern love (or any other issue, for that matter). The Bible is a grand narrative about how Jesus lived, loved, and died for every single one of us. It answers the BIG questions about who we are, what we should strive for, and where we’re going – but it’s not very clear about the little things, even if those little things loom large in our daily lives.
LOOKING FOR “THE ONE” IS A LOT OF PRESSURE
If you believe there’s a single person out there who’s meant for you, you’re going to spend a lot of time searching for the “perfect” match. It puts a ton of pressure on both members of the relationship. You’ll constantly second-guess yourself, searching for evidence that they’re your “one” and worrying about whether they see the same in you. You’ll put so much pressure on them to live up to your expectations that it may sabotage the relationship. That much tension isn’t healthy for anyone, much less two people who are trying to decide if they want to spend the rest of their lives together. That leads us to the uncomfortable conclusion…
“THE ONE” DOESN’T EXIST.
Yeah, you read that right. That romantic idea that there’s only one person out there who’s meant specifically for you just isn’t true. Because what happens is, when you believe there’s “the one,” when they mess up, or they make you mad – you react. You get sad or you struggle to give them grace, forgiveness, and love. They’re supposed to be perfect? AND, think about it – that wouldn’t exactly be a great system – if a single person ended up in the wrong marriage or never found their perfect match, it would ruin it for everyone else! We’re all flawed, individual people who grow and change. It’s not about finding the “one” it’s about preparing YOURSELF to be the one for someone else. Love is about leading a god-like life so that you can best serve your spouse with grace, forgiveness, and love.
SO HERE’S MY ADVICE:
Stop pressuring yourself. Put God at the center of your life and throw yourself into your community. Get involved at church, volunteer in your city, and seek mentorship from the strong couples in your life. Don’t go on a mission to find “the one” – go on a mission to find yourself, and a person who can complete you and grow alongside you. Find someone that makes you happy – someone that makes your heart full and your eyes light up. Treat them with love, grace, respect, and forgiveness. Grow together. If he or she is someone you’re meant to be with, you’ll know – and I can say that from personal experience.
We are Jeff & Alyssa Bethke. We have two kids, Kinsley and Kannon, and a dog named Aslan. We live in Maui, and we like to create things on the internet. We consider it an immense privilege that people care to listen or read what we have to say. If we could sum up our mission on the internet it’d be to encourage men, women and families through online experiences and creative resources that are practical, fun and help each person on their journey of following Jesus.