“A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike; to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one’s right hand.” – Proverbs 27:15-16 (ESV)
Note: Welcome to my 100th post — which also coincides with the first anniversary of our launch. Thank you for reading, for subscribing, for commenting and for coming back. I’m looking forward to the next 100. -Geo.
As you see from the quotation above a wife can be a good or a bad thing — it really depends on the wife. For this reason, a man owes it to himself to do some deep thinking on marriage and on the qualities he values most highly in a wife. This starts with getting rid of falsehoods and misconceptions. Let’s start with the biggest one.
The myth of “The One”
This is the belief that somewhere God has prepared one — and only one — woman for you. Fail to wife her up, this theory goes, and you’ll be alone the rest of your life. This myth pervades our culture and exacts a terrible cost. It is closely related to the concept of the soulmate.
Plenty of movies have as their premise an unhappily married spouse — most often the wife — who is swept away in a tide of passion by a rugged stranger. We’re encouraged to see this as ethical because she apparently married in error, instead of holding out for The One. Her feeling unhappy in her marriage proves the error. But now that her soulmate is here, she can finally be happy with him. Unfortunately, to do this she has to abandon her husband and her vows. Even more unfortunately, many women and men seek to emulate this template in their own lives – with real-world consequences.
In the church
The myth of The One has also infiltrated the house of God, but it shows up there in a different way. Instead of rationalizing a divorce (Oh, that happens in churches, too), Christian men and women set up unrealistic and contradictory standards for their future spouses, based on the idea that God is preparing someone for him or her who will function completely contrary to biology.
Let me explain what I mean: A young man who doesn’t take care of his body — in terms of fitness, hygiene and appropriate clothing — should not expect a fitness model to be attracted to him. If he is out of work due to his own laziness and not making an effort to find a job, he should not marvel that women won’t give him the time of day. There are exceptions, of course, but they are rare.
Likewise, a young woman who doesn’t take care of her appearance or who has a humorless, unfeminine disposition, should not wonder why guys aren’t willing to love her just as she is — especially when there are kinder, prettier alternatives.
In a future post, we’ll talk about how attraction works, but note this: God is not obligated to do for you anything that you can do for yourself. If you want six-pack abs, you’re going to have to hit the gym and change the way you eat. Full stop. If you want a kind and godly wife, you need to be the kind of man who can attract, love and lead such a wife.
This blog’s mission is to help men become the best possible version of themselves. Some have more work ahead of them than others, but there is no one holding you back but you.
The problem with “The One”
The destructive power of this myth may be new to you, but let’s consider why it fails:
- If God is making only one woman for you, then there’s no such thing as free will. If your wife is delightful, great — it’s God’s will. If you marry a contentious woman, that’s too bad — it’s God’s will. See how ridiculous that is? This doesn’t even take into account what you or she find desirable.
- Conversely, if your God-ordained soulmate marries someone else, this means the will of God can be thwarted — absolutely stymied — by a man. This doesn’t square with the word Almighty.
Why you need a better meta-narrative
- If you’re sure there’s only one possible match for you, you’ll behave like a hoarder. A scarcity mentality makes it likely you’ll overlook or rationalize potential deal-breakers. Marriage is too important to pursue a woman — any woman — like a crazed bargain-hunter on Black Friday.
- If you’re so doubtful of your own worth as a man that you’ll cling to the only woman who will have you, you’ll be living below your potential, and she will notice this.
- A side effect of this is you’ll surrender your authority as spiritual head and abdicate your God-ordained role. I know you’re tempted to doubt this, but remember that a husband’s mission is to love his wife the way Christ loved the church and to present her to Jesus without spot or blemish. If you’re afraid of losing her, you’ll never say no, even when you should. And you’ll fail as leader. Remember: men and women are equally fallen creatures.
- And for those who may be too choosy: If you’re waiting for perfection, you may cheat yourself out of marriage to a truly good woman. Even so, you do better to be more cautious than rash.
I could write 100 more posts on this topic, but I’ll save some for later. For now, continue working on you and recognize that if God could make children of Abraham out of stones, he is not limited to making only one woman who could be a suitable wife for you.
So how about you? To what extent has the myth of “The One” held you back? Add your comments below.