Today, the internet was ablaze with discussion of the American television program, The Bachelor. Like its counterpart The Bachelorette, the show features a man who must choose a wife from a group of 25 women (or a woman who must choose a husband from a group of 25 men). Last night's episode marks with striking accuracy why playing the field is not the best way to find "The One." If you didn't see the show, don't worry - I didn't either -- but countless clips and articles are available online for you to catch up on all the ugly details.
In a nutshell, Jason had whittled his decision from 25 women down to 2. He sent Molly home and proposed marriage to Melissa. But six weeks later, he changed his mind and decided he'd rather be engaged to Molly. The play-by-play is detailed in this article from Yahoo! TV, which includes a culmination of some of the most comprehensive comments made by angry female viewers from around the web. Truly, what Jason did to Melissa is nothing short of despicable. But Jason's problem was not that his feelings for one woman dissolved. Jason's problem was that he was distracted by another. (Two viewers astutely observe in the above article that Jason's fickleness only proves Molly has no security in Jason's declarations of affection, either.)
How many of us are still playing the bachelorette and "dating" 25 men in our minds, even long after we are married?As Christians, we look at this cheap imitation of courtship with disdain. We would never date 25 men, and certainly not all at the same time! But how many of us find ourselves just as distracted as Jason by other members of the opposite sex? How many of us are still playing the bachelorette and "dating" 25 men in our minds, even long after we are married? Perhaps we can console ourselves by rationalizing that we don't have to worry because we've never had the problem of choosing a husband from 25 men. Yet let's be honest: how many of us have secretly been vacillating between two men, (even long after we are married)?
One of the main sources of this dilemma is the view that we are looking for the right man "for us." Never mind that marriage is a vehicle by which we must strive to glorify God - we insist it is all about us. We reject a genuinely nice guy who's asked for a courtship because he's missing some superficial quality that we perceive would significantly reduce our level of happiness. Or we perceive that someone other than our current spouse can make us "happier," so we get a divorce. Simliarly, when we are faced with more than one suitor (and when men are faced with more than one woman to pursue), confusion sets in because we are focusing not on God's will for our marriages, but on our own selfish desires. We only consider what might please us most: "Bill's got a great sense of humor, but he just doesn't listen to me the way John does." When we do not learn to rest in God's sovereignty, we carry this thinking over into the marriage itself: "Why can't my husband be more like Larry?" or, "Perhaps I made a mistake and should have married Charlie instead."
If your thoughts are similar to these, one thing is certain: God is not in control of the situation - you are. The Bible tells us that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). If we find ourselves in a situation where we are torn between two options, regardless of what we feel, we must shut out the opposing voices and rely on God's voice alone. Recognizing His sovereignty in our lives is a surefire way to eliminate all our doubts.
Someone once said, "The safest place on earth that you can be is in God's will." This is true always, but it is a crucial piece of advice when it comes to choosing a marriage partner.Someone once said, "The safest place on earth that you can be is in God's will." This is true always, but it is a crucial piece of advice when it comes to choosing a marriage partner. There will always be those in the world who will insist that they want to be in control of their own lives. But when it comes to choosing a marriage partner, the best guidance these people often have is a few trite words of advice set to music. As Christians, we can rest in the comfort of knowing that God has made these decisions for us. If you are married, there will be no regrets or "what ifs" when you survey your marriage to your husband. And if you are a single woman who does not have two dozen men chasing after you, consider yourself blessed. When one does show interest, you can be sure the absence of the other twenty-three will not distract you from hearing God say, "This is the one!"
Do not stress over the idea that the grass could be greener somewhere else. When we consider that it will essentially take the rest of our lives to fully know just one man, we will never be able to assess every other brother in Christ who may have made a good marriage partner. There's so many men, and so little time. Life is short. Spend it with the man God gives you, and spend it rejoicing:
Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 9:9)