Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Marriage is a choice, not fate

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of one of my closest friends.  We attended Bible college together, and she pretty much helped me keep my sanity in a sea of ultra conservative "Bible Thumpers".   I've mentioned before that going to Bible school was the best mistake of my life.  I had plenty of time to think about this on my 4 hour trip home on Sunday (that would have only been 2.5 hours if it wasn't for the HUGE line at the border).

The amazing Mrs. & Mr. Tan

One thing I can say about Bible School was that it influenced my thought process in choosing a husband.  That's completely understandable and expected, but in my case (and in the case of many of my classmates), it helped me set unreachable expectations for my "soul mate".   looking back,  I am almost embarrassed to admit that I even believed in soul mates.  Yes, you read that right.  I believe there is more than one "perfect match" out there for each and every one of us.  

before I go on, I would just like to point out that I am beyond thrilled to be married to Dean.  We butt heads on occasion, but he makes me happy and encourages me to be the best me possible.  He better be the one to die first, because I simply cannot imagine my life without him in it.  But, he is not my soul mate.  

I had decided that I wanted to go to Bible College in the late 90's (I didn't actually go until the early 2000's).  At this point in my life, church and youth group events were a huge part of my life.  I was constantly bombarded with lessons about Jesus being my "boyfriend", and "kissing dating good-bye", I wore a promise ring for a while, and was once invited to a girl's weekend retreat where the the chapel was decorated  for a wedding and every one signed "purity pledges" (I missed out on that one since I was at Cheer camp.... shucks).  At the age of 16 I started a journal full of letters to my future husband.

I was convinced that God would lead me to "the one" for me at Bible School.  Ring by Spring, right?  I would know that he is "the one" because he would match "my list" of things that I asked God for, and he would pray with me in the morning, we would sing worship songs around the camp fire together, and of course he would be a missionary, or pastor.  

Then I left the "Christian Bubble", I hit rock bottom pretty hard.  That story is at least three posts on it's own. When I started to put my life back together, or whatever you want to call it.  I started looking at all those lessons on purity a little differently.  During that process I came to this radical conclusion: There is no biblical basis to indicate that God has one soul mate for you to find and marry. You could have a great marriage with any number of compatible people. There is no ONE PERSON for you. But once you marry someone, that person becomes your one person.

This was and still is very reassuring to me.  My marriage is not based on a set of choices that I had no control over. instead, it is based on a daily choice to love Dean.  The guy I choose to love out of many other people I was compatible with.   The guy I decided was worth waiting for when he moved to the other side of the world for a year (ironically, to be a missionary).  The guy that choose to sleep in a chair by my side in the hospital for two weeks just days after our wedding.  The guy that chooses to sacrifice things he enjoys to make me feel loved.  The guy that chose me.  The guy that couldn't wait to marry me.

Oh, by the way, I never did give him that journal full of letters to him.  I cringe every time I think about it.  I told him about it and he just kind of laughed and said "aw, that's cute, but I don't want to read it."   Can't say I blame him.


  1. I LOVE LOVE this post! It is so true...

  2. Amen!! I think I was always a little too pragmatic to fully buy into the soul mate idea, but I heard plenty of preaching about waiting for "The One." But marriage is most definitely a choice, and it's a choice you make every day....I think the idea of "The One" would be so stressful because then there's so much fear about "What if I marry the wrong person?" and standards that "The One" must be absolutely perfect (as no human being is). Marriage is much more about making a choice and sticking to it even when your One isn't perfect. (If you couldn't tell, I loved this post)