Mr. Right or Miss Right?

This is another pet peeve of mine. 😉   Sorta along the lines of did David Dance Naked?   Yes, I know some of you are rolling your eyes, not that one again!  {I’m constantly reminded of it, because that post has been read sometimes three times an hour since 2009!}

Since 2008 when I started my blog I have gotten lots and lots of emails from a variety of people.  Many of them have been from women who are asking questions concerning their marriages.  There is often a regular theme that occurs.  Essentially a woman has determined that she did not marry “Mr. Right” because she did not do things God’s way or follow “Biblical” Courtship.  So now she desires to straighten out the mess she made in order to seek God’s will and find the real “Mr. Right”.

Now I don’t know about you but I really just cringe when someone uses the expression “Mr. Right” or “Miss Right” because I think that gives our children a wrong perception of marriage.  The idea that there is only one person out there that God has for us to marry is not a Biblical idea.  Because using that reasoning then if somehow you miss that person, sinned, or misunderstood and chose the “wrong” person then you have failed and are not in God’s will for you.  Or what if they choose wrong or sinned?  What happens then years later?  Do you seek to get back in God’s will for your life, even if that means divorcing your present spouse?  Heaven forbid!

There is technically a “Mr. Right” or “Mrs. Right” and they are your present spouse.  Once you are married you are married to “Mr. Right” or “Mrs. Right”.  No if, ands, or buts!  But until you are actually married that person may or may not be God’s will for you.  Once you are married that person is God’s will for you.  Whether or not that person is a wise choice is a whole ‘nother can of worms.  But once the choice has been made you are married to “Mr. Right.”

This also means that you are not to divorce because suddenly years down the road you’ve decided you did not seek God’s will and marry the “right” person.  The Bible is much more clear on marriage and divorce than it is on choosing a marriage partner.

Marriage, Divorce & Remarriage covers my best understanding of what the Bible says on marriage and divorce.  Granted that is much more strict than most interpret the passages, but nevertheless, never does the Lord say that a NT believer should divorce and seek another spouse.  Even in the case of a believer married to an unbeliever, the believer is commanded to remain with their spouse if the unbeliever will stay.

1 Corinthians 7:10-13 (ESV)

10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband  

11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.  

12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her.  

13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.

Beyond the general guidelines of a man and woman who are not too closely related there is very, very little instruction given about choosing a spouse.  Oh, there are principles provided about character and qualities such as in Proverbs 31:10-31 and Ephesians 5:25-31.  Those and many more character qualities make useful studies to help in making wise decisions; however, they are just guidelines not commands.

The only specific instruction in the NT to believers is that they are to marry a believer.

1 Corinthians 7:39 (ESV)  A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV)  Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

While a believer can do all they can to strive to marry a believer, even then they may find that years later they were actually married to an unbeliever.  Our hearts can deceive ourselves (Jeremiah 17:9) and they can very easily deceive another.  You cannot always know a person’s heart well enough.  You can really only look closely and judge the fruit of their life.  Bad fruit before marriage will become rotten fruit after marriage.  But even then, thankfully, the Lord may bring real life out of the rotten fruit.  So don’t despair if you find you are married to a unsaved spouse.  He may become a good fruit bearer later.

Do you understand how freeing this is?  If you use the false premise that there is one person out there for you to marry then you can get caught up in a lot of false ideas.  The thought that if you failed to go to that event because you were sick and now you missed that one chance to meet “Mr. Right” and he is with your friend instead.  The idea that if you just continue to wait longer the real “Mr. Right” will eventually show up.   Or the idea that some other person who turns up years later was the real “Mr. Right” and you married too early and messed up your chance.  The real “Mr. Right” is who you are married to.

Until then make wise decisions.  Follow Biblical principles.  Seek wise counsel.  Listen to wise counsel. 😉  Observe, listen, talk, spend time with others, spend time with the extended family, and pray, pray, pray.  But once you marry that certain person then know he is “Mr. Right” and God’s will for you.  Don’t look back and don’t second guess.   “Mr. Darcy” is just fiction, real young men and older men are sinners like us, hopefully though saved by grace.

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Marriage Made In Heaven


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4 thoughts on “Mr. Right or Miss Right?

  1. Take for instance, a young man who wants to marry. There may be 3 or 4 billion single girls of an appropriate age to marry. How to narrow that down? First, they must be a Christian. Second, it helps if you know them. Third, they must be interesting in marrying in general. Fourth, they must be interested in marrying you. Yet, that still may leave a few choices. How to decide? Any one of those women could be “Miss Right”. At this point it is your choice, guided by prayer, counsel, the Holy Spirit.

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  2. Regarding Mr. or Miss Right, I think this teaching was really popular in the charismatic/Pentecostal circles I used to travel in. Everyone would talk about finding ” The One”, the husband or wife that God had for you, which of course implied that God had every detail of your life all planned out for you and you merely had to develop the ability to figure out somehow what His precise and perfect will was so you didn’t somehow miss it and have to live the rest of your life bewailing your now second class citizenship as one who was merely in God’s permissive will, not His perfect will. Yikes! How could anyone live with the discouragement that one wrong step had someone sidelined them as a believer and relegated them to permanent second best? Worse, this teaching would suggest that if you believe your spouse was a second best choice, it almost amounts to saying that they have somehow less value than that mysterious person out there and so are not worth putting your all into. Scripture, I think, is pretty clear that each soul has infinite value to God and it is His desire that each come to Christ and become conformed to the image of His Son.

    Popular Christian singer Leon Patillo tells the story of seeing his future wife when he was out and about one day. He had not seen or met her before as I recall from the story. It was an ” on sight” feeling that she was God’s intended for him. I remember Leon saying ” There she was – the ONE! He then went and spoke to his intended wife to be and shared the gospel with her. She did assent to marry him. She could tell that something had happened to him as he’d recently been saved himself. I enjoyed Leon’s music. But from an objective standpoint, might not the fact that Jackie was a very beautiful feminine woman who was most likely the kind of lady Leon would naturally be attracted to, had something to do with it? Not saying God wasn’t in their marriage, but this kind of practice could lead to some pretty impulsive decision making.

    This was a common kind of story in charismatic circles, though not necessarily limited to the charismatics, where God’s overt guidance in everything and out of the ordinary occurrences like these were expected to be a daily reality. The text that was usually used to support this teaching that God has one right marriage partner and all others are choices that God might allow but that aren’t quite “it”, came from the story of Isaac and Rebekah, where Abraham sends his servant on a mission to find a wife for his son, from his own people and not the pagan nations around them. The servant prays for God to provide a sign towards whichever young woman is the intended and right bride. This scripture has been used more times than I can count to teach that God has one right spouse for us. Yet scripture says things like ” Whoever finds a wife, finds a good thing from the Lord”. It says “a wife” not THE wife. In other words, having a wife is a good thing that comes from God, because marriage is designed by God for man. It is not good for man to be alone. Then there is the scripture in the new testament referring to a Christian widow, who is said to be allowed to marry whom she chooses, only in the Lord. One would expect that a second marriage would have as much import to God as a first, since who we marry is a life altering decision; if God has one right person and all others are wrong or second best choices, here is where you’d expect to hear something about the need to seek the one right mate, but there is no mention of such things. Only in the Lord I’d take to mean that the spouse must be a believer and the decision to choose him or her must be made taking into account what aligns with God’s desires and heart. All in all, I think the teaching that God has one right spouse is a dangerous one that has probably undermined quite a few marriages. God’s will for marriage is that we become Christ like and learn to love like God loves. I suspect the notion behind the idea of one right spouse is that if you have the one right one, then you are guaranteed happiness and blessing and your life will work out well. Yet many marriages that have had clear indicators of God’s hand in them have suffered tragedy, personal conflict, etc. God’s not interested so much in helping us sail away on sunset seas of marital bliss and romance as He is in our becoming conformed to the image of His son and developing the kind of sacrificial love of Christ. Isaac’s circumstances were a bit different, as well. It was a necessary intervention by God, as God’s chosen nation was not to intermarry with the pagan nations around them and the only way they could obey God in this matter was for God to go ahead of the servant on the journey and lead him to a suitable wife.

    It is, admittedly, a bit over my head to figure out exactly how the overarching sovereignty of God can and does work even within the context of our impulsiveness, sins or mistakes in terms of His will and our interaction with it! The scripture that comes to mind is the one that refers to His ability to make ” all things” to work together for our good. So we may drop stitches, tangle the wool and choose dark colors that don’t seem to belong but He has no trouble knitting it all together in the end . Good thing!

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