There is no such thing as “The One.”

Gary Thomas Debunks 3 Common Myths That Most Millennial’s Believe About Marriage.

After polling my online community about the most helpful marriage resource they’ve found, I was shocked to see a book title I had never heard of show up in 1/4 of their responses. That book was Sacred Marriage, by Gary Thomas.

Naturally, I tabbed over to Amazon, made the purchase, spent the next couple days reading, and then reached out to Gary for an interview.

Quickly in to our time, I was thrilled to realize that Gary was no typical marriage counselor and seemed to actually enjoy life & conversation – beyond just offering formulas and making points. It didn’t take us long to veer off topic, where we landed on some golden thoughts about common myths young people believe about marriage. I thought it to be too good not to share.

Press play to watch 10 mins of the interview or see my highlights below.

MYTH: The One.

HISTORY. The idea of  “THE ONE” and a “soul mate” comes originally from Plato, the Greek philosopher.

In his book, the Symposium, his character Aristophanese suggests that the reason romantic attraction is generally so strong, was because at one point, we were all round people. Rather, we all were both male & female, and because of this, the human race became too powerful. So, Zeus split humans in two with the intention that we’ll spend our time trying to find our other half and won’t threaten the gods.

Sounds about right, eh?

REALITY. The spouse you spend your life with is your choice.

With as little as the Bible talks about initially getting married, it implies that it is a choice based on character & faith – not feelings or destiny.

She is free to marry anyone she wishes, as long as they’re in the Lord. | 1 Corinthians 7

(Note: The debunking of this myth 5 years ago led me to immediately propose to my wife. I spent the majority of our dating relationship waiting for God to tell me she was THE ONE. He finally clued me into the fact that love is a choice, and I made the jump. It was a much needed debunking that led to one of the better decisions I’ve made in life.)

MYTH. God will bring the right person at the right time.

REALITY. We have a role to play in FINDING and choosing our spouse.

If someone came out of high school and said if God wants me to go to college, the University of Texas will contact me. Or when they graduate college, they simply sit around waiting for a call from Bill Gates to go and work for Microsoft? Obviously, this is not how getting a job works. Turns out that marriage doesn’t work this way either.

A good woman is hard to FIND… | Proverbs 31

MYTH. My feelings are a primary indicator that he/she is a good choice for a spouse.

We’ve been so inundated with teaching on how blinding sexual impurity before marriage can be, yet never warned about the detriment of emotional infatuation. Science tells us that romance lasts 12-18 months and inevitably fades. In those 12-18 months, you’re officially infatuated and prone to idealization. You stop seeing who the person actually is. You find yourself so busy trying to get them and keep them that you don’t have any emotional energy or value to truly tell if they’re worth getting or keeping. You ascribe strengths to them that they don’t have and you marry someone that doesn’t actually exist.

REALITY. Strong feelings of romance are a 12-18 month chemical reaction that often cause us, in our vulnerable, to make stupid choices.

When you marry based on idealism and romantic infatuation, you will inevitably land on the thought “He/She is not who I thought He/She was.” You married someone you didn’t know.

God created the neurochemical processes in our mind, but it’s foolish to bet our life on it. We must make this choice on a biblical and wise basis.

Gary comes out & makes some bold statements here about things many of us have thought to be longstanding truths. Is there anything he said that you either strongly agree or disagree with? Speak your mind below.

  • jct

    Totally Agree..as a mother of 5 I “preached” about the emotional attachment that comes with infatuation.

  • Lisa, future wife of Isaac?

    i wish i could just believe and accept that,

    as a christian, ive struggled with “the one ” -issue my whole life…my mother, and couple other christians have gotten prophesies about “the one ” God meant spouse for me,,and i felt God speak to me about it too..when in highschool.. if i had a crush on someone i asked God, is this my husband? and i´ve always heard :”No”
    the 2 relationships that ive had so far (, im now 26) i feel ive acted against Gods will/ my understanding that He says this is not your husband, and how my mother has said that God has told her the bf´s that i was with were not my husbands and he would not bless the relationships..

    ..ive heard other christians speak of God specifically speaking and leading them but then there are the other group that are “your own choice” and have not heard anything from God or asked God on the matter. and the people who speak for divine matchmaking or arranged marriage from God-as i see it..say that in the end its about being faithfull to God and letting your own will and flesh die..because if your a christian Gods will should be above everything in ones life….

    it just seems unfair either way ..not having divine leading, or then having the choice already made for u as Gods will..

    my thought is that..if it is Gods will to arrange marriaged for some people why not to others..it cant be just that everyone who is not “heavenly matchmaked” are not asking or listening to God.. can one choose not to marry if Gods will is for one to marry then..? and if in heaven people are not married then why iwould it be compulsory for some /so very important for some on earth to be married then??

    i dont know ..life for me, in this matter, feels like living between a rock and a hard place..cos if its really Gods will that this certain unknown future man is my spouse would be good if my heart and attitude would be of gratitude and joyful waiting to meet this “Isaac” of mine that im promised to
    or then be completely free from inter dilemas and have the “one´s own choice”- heart..

  • Content single gal

    As a mid-30’s single/never married (though I came close once), this topic hits home. I’ve tried the online dating scene… With no luck. I’ve tried the “wait and see who comes along” approach (in a very rural area of Illinois, you guess how that has gone). Instead of seeking out “the one”, I spend my time seeking The One who will fill that role.
    Someone told me not too long ago that I should “make opportunity for God to work”. She has a point. While God COULD choose to drop my husband in the middle of our cornfields, he probably isn’t. I, then, need to be open to other venues–visiting the closest coffee shop, signing up online, getting out to community events.
    The idea that there isn’t necessarily “the one” gives hope to me that, one day, I will find a husband. Thanks for sharing!

  • Richard Leakey

    This is brilliant. i’ve been married for the last 15 years and now have the privilege to work helping others build and keep strong marriages. Your myth busting is so helpful. Thank you.

  • Becca

    This is so good! Breaking the concept of “the one” has also been a trend I’ve noticed among my 20-something friends lately, though if I’m honest I’ve been slower on the uptake. I am curious what you have to say about the idea of women being pursued though, without waiting for God to drop the perfect man into their lives?

  • http://tylerwardis.com/ tyler ward

    @3481f9f6ea722a14ed146d33bd55606c:disqus, thats a great question. I’d tend to want to believe that a woman’s potential role would be not to “wait,” but to be engaged in a process of their own health & preparation for a man.

    Any one have a thought on this?

  • http://tylerwardis.com/ tyler ward

    @d7069e3204916204ff492e2eaf7f5ba7:disqus, it may or may not be relevant, but mine and my wife’s story revolved around similar threads of experience and thought. However, in the end, I felt like God told me that “Love is a choice” and that he wasn’t going to rob me of the romance that choosing Analee invited.

    At the same time, I do feel like there is an opportunity to partner with God in making choices. I tend to believe when we spend most of our time asking God what he wants, he’s often busy asking us the same thing. And if we approached a potential spouse, not as something God has ordained, but as a choice we have the gift to make, then we can invite a partnership with God into the process. I think we are on healthier ground in this equation than simply waiting around for God to speak up and throw fairy dust at us.

    Thoughts?

  • Ahmed Tawhid Rahman

    Terrific point!

  • Danielle

    Of all the negative articles I’ve read about Millennials this is by far the most bullshit. The majority of Millennials 1. aren’t settling down in a hurry 2. aren’t religious 3. and ARE planners, out-of-the-box thinkers and dreamers. Dismissing “feelings” is a downward spiral. I thoroughly enjoy your website but this was just a string of your opinions – NOT FACTS – that hold no ground. Up Next: 10 Ways Baby Boomers are Unrealistic.

  • Shane Froebe

    My wife and I have been married almost 26 years now, and in a day and age when that is not the majority, I read this article thinking more about my children and the worry they have of finding someone to have a marriage like mom and dad have. The ironic thing is this article can be seen as both freeing and adding responsibility. On the one hand the pressure is off as far as finding THE one. On the other hand, it also means that marriage requires a great deal of commitment, something which is not easy and not necessarily highly regarded in our society.

  • Ariunaa

    Duuudde. I think this is changing my life in a good way that is so much more impactful than I even realize right now… I feel about half of my entire anxiety complex is washing away! Thanks so much for this post, it’s really bringing clarity to my life! This is too good to be true, how did I not hear this before.

  • JD

    I totally disagree with this article. 1. If you believe God is all knowing and He knows the desires of your heart, then He knows who the right person is for you. I knew a lot of Christian men or good men, but it does not mean they were right for me. 2. As a single person, I was working on me and focusing on God to be ready for a relationship. It was God’s timing that brought my future mate. I believe God uses people and situations, but ultimately He is in control. You could meet your potential mate anywhere, but again you have to be open. Try new things, go to different events. To compare finding a mate to going to college or a job is ridiculous. 3. When I was dating my husband, we surrounded ourselves with strong couples and friends to help see through the feelings and the “rosy glasses” to help us be open and honest in our relationship. I think your hesitation to propose to your girlfriend is typical of men. My husband was the same way, but he told me he knew early in our relationship that I was to be his wife. Men are typically afraid to take the next step.This is not a problem because marriage is a big commitment. I’m sure there were many signs. I could say so much more. I want to encourage singles to continue to trust God. He knows best and everything will come together perfectly.

  • vitalex78

    Read this article .I agree with article that role of choice in the issue of marriage .I think to be a passive and closed to conversation and hope that God will make everything in your place is not right . Apostle Paul wrote the Corinthians chapter 7 it is our choice and it’s mean that spirituality is not super spirituality when a person is afraid of the opposite sex and is not open to communication and relations . From other hand I think that this should not lead us to the conclusion that the number of datings necessarily lead us to a successful goal. We should not also exclude “divine encounters” and be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I don’t think that we should look for the special feelings before you start to get acquainted with the girls.Vitaly ,Ukraine

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  • Kyra

    Lisa, I highly recommend the book by Frank Viola — Rethinking the Will of God.

    Regarding God’s will and our freedom (and responsibility) to make choices, this is what I’ve learned:
    Psalm 37:4. Delight yourself in The Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
    This means that the more that we have an intimate relationship with God, and as we become more like Christ, the more that the desires of our heart become in line with what God wants for us. God is the one molding our hearts to have the right desires.

    The ff is from John MacArthur’s book, Found: God’s Will:

    “You see, the will of God is not primarily a place [or a person]. The will of God is not, first of all, for you to go there or work here [or marry that person]. The will of God concerns you as a person. If you are the right you, [close to God, growing in your knowledge and love for Him], you can follow your desires and you will fulfill His will.”

    “To know God’s will, you must be living obediently & reading God’s word and praying. When you are close to God, his will is obvious and your choices are his choices. He gives you the desires of your heart meaning the desires that you have when you are close to God are his desires for you.”

    Hope this helps :)

  • Chadley

    This was an interesting read. I agree that soulmates is a word not used in the Bible. I do agree that we have the gift of free will and choice. I also feel that we are wonderfully and purposefully made. I always go back to the story of Adam and Eve and the story of creation on this one. Adam was made from dirt. How was Eve created? She was made from a part of him.

    I do not believe that she will just magically appear at my doorstep and announce she is the one. We have to be wise in our choices using God as our guide and walking in him and let him lead. Focusing on God and his plan for our lives he will bring people into our lives. I believe that he will bring into my life my Eve, the one he specifically made to be my suitable helper. Call it what you will. I don’t believe we were all randomly made and just given to chance.

    Thoughts?

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