“Why can’t there be a balance?” Enola asked me as we politely disagreed over Matt Walsh’s latest post on marriage and “The One.” “Why does it have to be all or nothing?”
“Well, that’s why I keep writing,” I said… and then I got to thinking, wrote the following, and showed it to her. And since she approves, I’m posting it. 🙂
So here’s how I see it.
God has a perfect plan for each of us. For a lot of people–not all, but many–that plan includes marriage. As long as we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” we can trust that “all these things,” including marriage to “The One” if that’s His will, “will be added unto” us at the right time. And as long as each spouse continues to love God with all his or her heart, soul, strength, and mind and both commit to love each other as themselves, we’ll have our “happily ever after”–not in the sense of not having any more problems ever, but in the sense of being where God wants us to be.
But there’s this pesky little thing called free will that means we have the choice not to follow God’s plan. And that, “For aught that I could ever read, / Could ever tell by tale or history,” is why “The course of true love never did run smooth.”
I don’t believe God’s perfect plan involves marrying an abuser or becoming abusive toward one’s spouse (nor do I believe God requires the abused to remain in their marriage–abuse is a type of infidelity and thus is justified grounds for divorce). I don’t believe God’s perfect plan permits one to violate the Seventh Commandment on the pretext of having found “The One” after making a mistake. I do believe it involves pursuing God together and working together to remain obedient and make the marriage function, even in the rough times that are sure to come because none of us is yet precisely who God wants us to end up being. He’s still working on all of us.
Now, I don’t say any of this to condemn anyone. There’s grace for those who have gone astray, and Romans 8:28 still holds true for victims who need healing after being abused or betrayed. But in the ideal case (which any scientist can tell you may be harder to achieve than it sounds!), when both spouses are obedient to God’s will, they may be confident that they have indeed found “The One.”