A while back I wrote a post about God’s will and “the one,” an eye-opening concept for many (even though what I wrote was 100% backed up by Scripture).
Once again I’m going to invite you to take the “red pill” and take a critical look at another related concept: waiting for the one.
It goes something like this:
“Wait for the one God has chosen for you. Don’t date or form any sort of emotional attachment until you have found the one.”
Most anyone with real-life experience sees the flaw with this: how in the world am I supposed to know she’d make a good wife without dating? This idea of “waiting for the one” has us putting the cart before the horse. It’s another example of overspiritualization that’s so common in the church.
Here are some of the problems with this whole “waiting for the one” mindset:
As I’ve mentioned in other posts, it causes us to be overly passive, believing we are to do nothing to look for a godly spouse (since He’s already worked everything out and will deliver “the one” to your doorstep).
It creates a one-size-fits-all approach to dating and courtship. Much of this “waiting on the one” comes from the testimony of well-meaning but misguided believers/authors. Since they met their spouses with minimal effort (usually when they were young), the assumption is God has to work that same way in everyone’s life.
It puts to much pressure early in the relationship. Don’t get me wrong—I don’t believe relationships should drag on for months and years with no clear direction. But we do need some time to allow the process of dating/courtship to teach us. How much time? That really depends on the people involved. Regardless, we can only expect two people to know so much about each other if they are just starting a relationship.
This mentality also assumes any form of romantic/emotional attachment is “impure.” This is simply not in the Bible. Yes, I encourage my readers to guard their hearts and not jump into relationships too quickly. But this is more a matter of wisdom than purity. All this nonsense about “emotional purity” just sets up singles to feel guilty—even when they’ve kept biblical standards of conduct in their relationships.
It sets us up for despair if our first relationship doesn’t end in marriage. The “waiting for the one” idea implies you marry your first boyfriend/girlfriend, or else you’ve done something wrong. Well, what if your first boyfriend turns out to be a jerk? What if you didn’t realize this until you two had been dating for a while? This is exactly what courtship/dating should teach us–so we can learn this before marrying an unsuitable partner.
In other words, we should not see ourselves as failures if the first guy/girl we date doesn’t turn out to be our spouse—we should instead be thankful for whatever we learned.
But Kevin, don’t you believe true love waits?
Yes! I’m an advocate of sexual purity, and I use the True Love Waits material in some of my seminars. But I think there’s been a great misunderstanding on what “waiting” actually means. Let’s look at what the TLW commitment card says:
“Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate, and my future children to a lifetime of purity including sexual abstinence from this day until the day I enter a biblical marriage relationship.”
As far as I’m concerned, “True Love Waits” simply means abstaining from sexual intimacy outside of marriage. This is challenging enough in our x-rated world. Do we need more complicated, legalistic restrictions? I sure don’t, and I don’t believe my students do, either.
What I’m trying to do is get us back to a biblical, balanced view of things. We should be pure and be wise in our dating relationships. But we should also be cautious about following non-biblical rules and expectations in the search for love.
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