The following content was originally published on my Geocities site in December 2000.
Divine Guidance, Reassurance in Marriage / God Providing a Christian With A Spouse
The Right One
I was watching Christian network TBN* a couple of nights ago, and the guest on the show I was watching is a Christian gentlemen, Mark Gungor, who is a relationship guru.
Gungor has written a book or two about marriage, and he offers marriage seminars. You can visit Mr. Gungor’s site at (Link): Laugh Your Way.com.
Mr. Gungor is a perfectly nice guy, and he’s got a great sense of humor. (Edit, April 2021 – apparently, he’s not so nice after all)
I have nothing against Mr. Gungor personally.
His view point was something else altogether: it angered me and annoyed me to no end, for he stated that it is a mistake for single people, especially for Christians, to think that there is a “right person” out there for you.
He was saying it is ‘wrong’ for a Christian to pray and ask God to send her the right person as a spouse. Mr. Gungor is not alone in this, he’s simply the most recent example I’ve run across.
I’ve seen other Christians, whether lay persons or professional writers or speakers, who, in various media, whether on T.V. shows, web sites, and in magazine articles, chastize believers who pray that God send them the ‘right person.’
We’re handed such platitudes as ‘it’s not about God sending you the right person, it’s about you being made into the right person, so pray instead that God makes you into a wonderful person.’
Argument From Silence
The marriage guru I saw, Mr. Gungor, also mentioned that there is no such thing as a “soul mate” and nowhere does the Bible mention such a concept. True enough – but that is also an argument from silence, so it doesn’t exactly wash.
The Bible also doesn’t mention computers, air planes, the hula hoop, the frisbee, or the internet, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist, either.
The Bible is also rather silent on telling us what career we should choose for ourselves, but I don’t take this to mean that God is against us praying to Him and asking him to tell us, or to lead us to, whatever type of employment He has in mind for us.
I personally don’t know if there is such a thing as a “soul mate” or not, nor does it concern me either way.
I don’t care if I get a “soul mate,” as I would be content with someone who is a devout Christian and who is compatible.
‘Right One’ Misunderstood
I think that people such as this Christian relationship expert misunderstand singles when we say we’re hoping for, praying for, or looking for the ‘right person.’
I think they are under the misguided notion that we mean that we expect God to send us The Perfect Man (or, if you’re a male, that you believe God is going to send you The Perfect Woman).
As we all know, only Jesus was perfect. I certainly realize that whomever God sends me to be my husband is not going to be without flaws.
When I ask God to send me ‘the right one,’ I realize already that whomever He sends me is probably going to leave the toilet lid up and will have to be nagged into taking out the trash on occasion. I accept all that already.
Secondly, I think critics of the “right person” concept believe our desire for “the right person” is somehow selfish.
Nothing could be further from the truth: one reason I ask God to send me ‘the right person for me‘ is because I want the relationship to work.
I most certainly don’t want to enter into a marriage where the husband and I constantly argue and bicker and disagree about everything – to the point it might end in divorce.
I figure if I ask God to send me the right person, then it will follow that this will mean that I too am the right person for whomever my future Mr. Right is.
I seriously do not think God would send me a husband who is right for me but for whom I am all wrong for him.
I fully intend on loving and trying to please whomever my future spouse is, so I am not looking at this from a purely ‘what can I get out of this’ angle.
All You Need Is Jesus?
One point the marriage expert, Mr. Gungor, made was that all a marriage needs to work between two Christians is Jesus Christ.
While on the surface that sounds very pious, respectful, and nice, it’s simply not true in a sense, or in one aspect.
Mr. Gungor went on to explain that the Bible knows nothing about “soul mates,” in that any two Christians can make a married couple, and it does not matter one whit who they are, as long as they are both Christians.
His rationale is that God’s principles are enough to get that couple through anything and everything.
In other words, if Jesus is the foundation of the marriage, it does not matter who the Christian man is, nor does it matter who the Christian woman is.
I am astounded that Mr. Gungor and others (for again, he’s not the only one who has this opinion) would actually believe this and teach this.
If it were true that the only feature any two Christians need in common to get along is Jesus, then we would have complete harmony in Christendom, and we would not have the many denominations that we do.
As it is, we have Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, and the list goes on.
I have met Christians in person and on the web who I dislike, and I try to limit the amount of time I spend around them.
If Christians can and do have a difficult time being platonic friends with each other, don’t try to sell me on the idea that just any two random Christians can have a successful marriage, where the stakes are much higher.
When one further takes into account that God has created us all to be unique, each with our own preferences, hobbies, and interests and personality types, it is simply not true that any old two Christians can have a successful marriage.
I for one am a “home body.” I do not like to go out much. I do not like to participate in sports. I do not like camping.
There is no way I’d even consider getting into a serious dating relationship with a Christian man, let alone marry him, if he liked to go out and party all the time, go hiking, go camping, and insist I do these things with him.
One of my close family members, who is a Christian, is a very negative, critical person.
If this marriage advisor I saw on TBN, Mr. Gungor, thinks a marriage between someone like myself and someone with a personality such as my family member’s would work, he’s terribly, horribly wrong.
A shared belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior has not made a smooth relationship possible between my family member and myself, so how on earth does this marriage author and speaker think a marriage between myself and someone like this relative would survive? It would not.
It’s simply unrealistic to tell people that as long as they have Jesus in common, that no matter how different their personalities, sense of humor, life goals, and interests are, a marriage between them would work.
(As an aside, for those who argue that a single person should be content with Jesus alone, consider the fact that although the first man, Adam, had a very personal, intimate relationship with God the Father, that even God said it was not good for Adam to live alone or be alone; so God gave a spouse, Eve, to Adam.)
I know that in order for me to get married and stay married that I would require a spouse who would understand my particular issues and be supportive of me, and I know that God knows what I mean by that.
Sending me just any old “Joe Blow” Christian guy would not work for me because I have a set of special circumstances.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who needs a Christian mate with a particular type of personality or set of characteristics to be my spouse, either.
What of a dating Christian couple where one has his heart set on having children after marriage, but the other does not want to have children?
What if one wants to live in a house in the suburbs after marriage, but the other person in the relationship envisions a life lived as a missionary in remote jungle areas of Africa?
Are you seriously telling me to believe that couples in those scenarios could make a marriage work if they “just have Jesus in common?” I don’t think so.
There are some Christians who are involved with theological or doctrinal error, and depending on what it is and how severe it is, I would not want to marry a person who was involved with it.
In light of all that, to tell single Christians that they are wrong to ask for, or expect, or desire the ‘right person’ is itself wrong!
I think God takes us all on a case by case basis, because we are all unique, and we all have our own set of problems, insecurities, and baggage.
I find it very hurtful and unwise when well-meaning Christians spout off these ‘one-size fits all’ pronouncements: that a marriage can be successful between any two Christians.
I’m sorry, but no: Christians are individuals; we’re not cogs in a machine.
Maybe you would feel just fine and dandy getting married to any old Christian who walks through your door, but most of us want to feel as though we have something in common with the person other than a shared belief in Jesus.
As for more specific biblical support concerning the concept of “the Right One,” when one considers that in the Old Testament God told the Jews they were not permitted to marry non-believers, and in the New Testament, God forbids Christians from marrying Non-Christians, God Himself has put the concept of ‘the Right One’ into effect!
God Himself creates the notion of ‘the Right One’ when He instructs Christians in the Scriptures, ‘the only ‘Right One’ for a Christian to marry is another Christian.’
Pray For the Right Car – But Not For the Right Spouse?
Christian pastors and pundits usually tell Christian lay persons to come to God in faith concerning any need or concern, no matter how trivial, and to ask for exactly what they want, and to be very detailed about it.
I’ve heard such Christians say if you are having a difficult financial time at the moment, and your car just broke down, and you need a new one, then you are to pray to God and ask Him to send you a new car.
These Christians advise that you go one step further than simply petitioning for a new car: they say that you should get very specific with God and tell him the make, model, and color of the car you want.
If you think about it, any old car will do.
A car is simply a machine that will get you from point “A” to point “B,” and yet, these pastors encourage their listeners to not settle for just any car, but to ask God for the exact type of car that is desired.
Over the years, I’ve heard many Christians give testimonies of how God fulfilled their car request (or whatever it was they were praying for) right down to the smallest detail.
If it is acceptable to get that picky regarding a new car, why oh why would it be less acceptable to come to God with a list of qualities one needs or wants in a husband or wife?
I have personally heard many a sermon where I am told by the pastor to challenge God, get very nit picky in what I am asking for, and watch how God will come through for me.
They apply this concept to finances, career, and health, so why can it not be applied to praying for and obtaining a husband or wife?
The Girl Who Prayed For A Dog
For example, I watched a sermon a couple of years ago where a pastor told the viewers about how his daughter, when she was a little girl, wanted a pet dog for her birthday. I don’t recall the exact details of the story, but it went something like this:
The pastor said he did not want to buy her a pet and told her so.
She replied that she was going to pray and ask God for one.
The father told her, “Go right ahead, and if God sends you a dog, then you can have it.”
As it turned out, the little girl wanted a very rare, expensive breed of dog.
The pastor told his audience he chuckled to himself, because he knew there was no way she was ever going to find the exact dog she wanted, and even if she did, she would not be able to afford to purchase it.
But, he said, every single day his daugther asked God to send her this dog, and she was very, very specific and detailed about it; she wanted a male dog and he had to have red fur and three black spots on his stomach, or some such.
The father said he thought this was hilarious: even if she did find the breed and had the money, she would never, ever get one with that specific fur color and exactly three black spots on its stomach.
The pastor said a few weeks went by, and someone from their church phoned to tell his family that they had the exact breed of dog the daughter was looking for, and they would give it to her for free, if they would just come to pick it up.
The father, still dubious, was shocked when they arrived at the home to see it was a male dog with red fur and three black spots on its stomach: it was exactly the kind of dog his daughter had been praying for, down to the fur color and spots.
Because God cared enough to send a little girl the exact pet dog she wanted and asked for, why would it be unreasonable or unrealistic for a Christian to believe that God assists some Christians with getting married?
After all, getting the ‘right’ spouse is far, far more important than getting the ‘right’ breed and color pet dog. I think God Himself realizes that one, too.
Related posts, this blog:
(Link): The Mark Gungor and Sheila Gregoire Dust Up, vis a vis SSB Blog – I’ve blogged about Gungor for Years
(Link): How (Married) Christians and Christian Teachings About Dating/Marriage Are Keeping Single Christians Single Part 1
(Link): Single Adult Christian Pressured Into Marriage by Her Church – And Regrets It
(Link): Really, It’s Okay To Be Single – In order to protect marriage, we should be careful not to denigrate singleness – by Peter Chin
(Link): The Holy Spirit Sanctifies a Person Not A Spouse – Weekly Christian Marriage Advice Column Pokes Holes in Christian Stereotype that Marriage Automatically Sanctifies People
(Link): I’m 45, Single And Childless. No, There’s Nothing ‘Wrong’ With Me. by M Notkin
(Link): Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)
(Link): Superman, Man Candy -and- Christian Women Are Visual And Enjoy Looking At Built, Hot, Sexy Men
(Link): Atlantic: “The case for abandoning the myth that ‘women aren’t visual.’”
(Link): Women Are Visual And Like Hot Looking Men (Part 1) Joseph in Genesis Was A Stud Muffin
(Link): Ryan Gosling and Shirtless, Buff Cowboy Photos on Social Media – Yes, Women Are Visually Stimulated and Visually Oriented (Part 2)
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