You will never marry the right person. How our culture mistakes compatibility

Earlier generations talked much less about “compatibility” and how to find your perfect soulmate. Today we are looking for someone who will accept us as we are and fulfill all our wishes. This creates a whole host of unrealistic expectations that lead to despair in both seekers and the ones who are sought.

In a humorous key, John Tierney gives us the opportunity to laugh at the impossibility of the situation we find ourselves in due to our culture. He recalls some of the reasons why his unmarried friends ended their recent relationship:

“He pronounced Goethe’s name incorrectly.”

“How can I take someone whose favorite movie is The Hitch Rules seriously?”

“If he would loose just a few pounds!”

“Of course he is one of the owners of the company, but the company is small. And she also wears such short black socks. ”

“Well, it all started great – a beautiful face, a great figure, a nice smile. Everything went well… until she turned… “After an ominous pause, he shook his head.” … Her elbows were dirty. ”

In other words, some people want too much from a spouse. They do not see marriage as a union of two imperfect people who have decided to be together to create an area of ​​stability, love and comfort, in the words of Christopher Lush, a “safe haven in a heartless world”. Rather, they are looking for someone to receive them, enhance their abilities, and fulfill their sexual and emotional desires. What is really needed here is a woman who is an ” novelist / astronaut experienced in the fashion world” and an equivalent man. A marriage that is not based on selfishness but on self-expression involves a cost-effective partner who meets all your needs without asking anything in return. Simply put, people today want too much from their spouse.

You will never marry the right person

The Bible explains why it seems so impossible to find a match. As a pastor, I have talked to thousands of couples, some of whom wanted to start a family, some to maintain a family, and some to save their families. Time and time again I heard from them, “Love shouldn’t be that hard, it should come naturally.” In response, I always say, “Why is that? Does anyone who wants to play baseball professionally say, “It shouldn’t be that hard to hit the ball!” Or can anyone who wants to write the greatest American novel of their time say, “Is it really that hard to create compelling characters and compelling storylines?” The objection is clear: “But this is not baseball or literature. This is love. Love just has to come naturally when two people get together, when they are really two perfect sides. ”

The Christian answer to this is that there are no compatible people. Stanley Hauerwos, a professor at Duke University’s Ethics University, expressed this view:

The destructive ethics of marriage self-expression is that marriage and the family are first and foremost the institutions of personal gratification where we need to become “contented” and happy. It is said that we have the right partner somewhere and if we look well, we will find it. This moral statement ignores one important aspect of marriage. It ignores the fact that we always marry the wrong person. ”

“We never know who we are married to, we just think we know. Or even if we are married to the right person, give it some time and it will change. Because marriage, which is something so far-reaching, means that we are not the same person when we enter into it. The first challenge in marriage is to learn to love and care for a stranger who is your spouse. ”

Hauerwos points out that there are no two people in the world suitable for marriage, namely that marriage will change us radically. But there is another reason. The memories of the two people who are married are spiritually broken by sin, which means, among other things, egocentrism – the incurvatus in se (inward, self) of life. As the author Denis de Rougemont said, “Why should selfish immature neurotics suddenly become angels as soon as they fall in love”? ” Therefore, a good marriage requires even more work than athletic or artistic ability. It is impossible to play professional baseball or write a literary masterpiece with only natural talent without discipline and titanic effort. Why should it be easy to live in peace and love with another person when there is something deeply wrong with our human nature? In fact, many who excel in sports and the arts have failed in their marriages. Thus, the biblical doctrine of sin explains why marriage, which should be so good and important in our fallen world, is so full of trouble and pain.

There is no wrong choice

Why is marriage so painful and so wonderful? Because it is a reflection of the gospel that is painful and wonderful at the same time. The gospel is that we are more sinful and evil than we even dare to believe, and at the same time we are even more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared to hope. It’s the only relationship that really changes us. Cute

without truth is simply sentimentality, it supports and strengthens us, but it helps us to deny our mistakes. The truth without love is cruel, it gives us information, but in a way that we cannot hear. But God’s saving love in Christ is characterized by a radical truth about who we are and a radical, unconditional commitment to us. Conviction and repentance force us to hold on to and rest in God’s mercy and grace.

The difficulties of marriage will help you experience more of this transforming love of God. But a good marriage is also a place where we experience this changing love on a human level.

(Excerpt from Timothy Keller’s and Katie Keller’s book The Meaning of Marriage)

Timothy Keller / Relevant Magazine /



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