Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Waiting for “the one” to find you?

A lot of advice columns and spiritually oriented books advise singles to lay low, send out good energy, and let their spouse find them.

I tried it with the best of intentions. Did it work? I don’t really think so. I mean, my positive thinking may have helped, but the fact is that I thought God was calling me to marriage and I consciously pursued that call.

When we think of marriage as a vocation and calling, pursuing it makes sense. Sure – we may passively await a “call” in prayer and read God’s message to us in our lives, but from my experience, the “God helps those who helps themselves” adage has a surprising amount of truth in it.

So yes, go out and meet people, maybe join dating services, be clear about your desire to have a family. If you take the “let your spouse find you” advice too seriously and too literally, the expectation can be that God will literally send your ideal mate out of thin air to your doorstep. Unlikely! The “avoidance” formula can actually mean that you miss opportunities to meet people and relinquish all responsibility for your own future.

Free will is a beautiful thing! Go out there and get it! Create it!

I have heard that other cultures regard delaying marriage for no particular reason as sinful. I think that is interesting because in communities where young adults are being encouraged to pursue religious life, they may be told, “You know, to not ask God about his intentions for you is self-centered.” Well, what about listening to a call to marriage? A call to have children? It’s no less important. To have priests and nuns, someone needs to raise good children!

There are many philosophies and thought patterns that I see that prevent people from forming the committed relationships they so deeply desire. It could be “My heart is too broken to try again,” or “Maybe I’m just not supposed to marry…even though my heart wants it.” Or, “The world is just too messed up for kids, so why have them?” It's fear based.

If you feel a strong desire to marry and have a family, and your life is pointing in that direction…taking that seriously is the best thing you can do for yourself. Don’t waste time “avoiding” relationships if what you really want is a relationship.