Article by Pastor Tom DrionElder at GraceLife London
Part 1 By Tom Drion 6th October 2019
Our world has an obsession with the idea of finding “the one”. From Disney films of forlorn princes and princesses and television shows like “Love at First Sight,” to the desperate pleas of songs asking, “can anybody find me, somebody to love?” there is a whole market centred around our obsession with finding the perfect match.
Many people believe that they would be married if only they could find “the one”. Others believe that they may have found “the one” in a past relationship, but it did not work out. Instead, fate has dealt them a cruel hand and left them stuck in a marriage with an inadequate spouse, or alone in despair. It is worth just pausing for a moment to think about the frustration and utter anguish caused in so many lives by these relationship fairy tales!
To further add to the misery, devastation ensues as people embark on a perpetual quest to find their perfect match. They can leave a trail of broken people and relationships strewn in their wake. All this damage caused by a simple and seemingly delightful lie: “I have to find the one.” Buying into this lie may make a good love song or entertaining film but, it causes destruction, pain, and even further feelings of isolation.
This series aims to deconstruct some of the myths surrounding marriage by a careful study of Genesis. We have already learnt that in God’s design, we were never meant to be alone. Scripture makes it clear that except in certain instances, God has made men and women to marry. We have also learnt that God’s design did not involve equality in roles within marriage.
This article will explore the fact that “the perfect match” or “the one” is a myth that is not supported by God’s word.
Looking at sScripture in Context. The First (& Last) Supermodel
Genesis 2:18 “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
In the Garden of Eden on day 6 we read how God created the first man Adam from dust. He had already created all the animals, and even made these animals male and female. Up till now, everything that God made was observed by God and declared to be good. But now at this point, Adam was alone. None of the animals he was asked to name were fit helpers for him. God could not declare this part of his creation to be good until he had made woman: “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” And so God created a woman. Eve was made for Adam. She was to be his helper. Upon doing this, God then declared that everything at last was good. It was all now perfect and complete!
Since Adam and Eve were perfect, we can safely assume that Eve must have been stunning, the ultimate supermodel. When Adam awoke from his deep sleep and first saw his new wife, his jaw must have dropped to the floor, but even more remarkable than her beauty would have been her character. Her perfection would not just have been skin deep. She would have been the perfect match, both inside and out.
The picture of marriage in the Bible shows that God had designed men and women to be two halves of one pair, such that when God joins them together in marriage they make one whole. It goes without saying then, that Eve was the perfect fit for Adam. The word used in Genesis 2:18 is kenegedow in Hebrew, which breakes down into “ke” meaning like, “neged” meaning opposite and the “ow” at the end means him. The point is that God did not make someone just like Adam, but rather his perfect opposite half to make a whole. Everything about Adam being alone that was not good was fixed by her. Eve’s creation was the last piece of the puzzle, she completed the creation of mankind.
At this point, it’s worth pointing out that since the fall recorded in Genesis chapter 3, there have been no more perfect men and women. This was the last time in history this has happened. The lasting impact of the fall is that men and women are perpetually broken. Eve was the last true supermodel. Everyone else, ever since, has been faulty.
Idealism to Realism: Marriage is Joining Broken People Together
The reality in a sin-cursed world is that no-one will ever be a perfect fit. Here is an illustration most of us can relate to: When plastic toys leave the factory, if they are perfectly manufactured, the different parts click together tightly to form one whole. After months or years of carefree play, the battered and misshapen parts usually don’t fit so well. Many parents discover that in order to fit those battered parts together and reassemble the toy, we sometimes have to physically reshape them. Rough edges might have to be shaved off. Sometimes we must glue pieces back into place before we can fit the pieces together. Broken toys can be reassembled, but even with a lot of work, it’s usually not a perfect fit.
Marriage between any two sinful broken people is like this. Two people are joined together by God to make one whole, and with two broken halves, it is never going to be a perfect fit. Some of us are so broken that it is hard to envisage how we will ever fit well with anyone else, but be encouraged! God is in the business of repairing people. Even the most misshapen! The point here is that in order to bust the myth of “the one” we need to be realistic not idealist. In a fallen world, full of broken imperfect people, the best we can do is find another broken person.
How Can I Get Realistic?
We need to be realistic about our situation, ourselves, our prospects, and our creator.
Be realistic about your situation: Your situation is never going to be anything better than somewhat-broken in this life. You have to get rid of all those idealistic dreams of “the one” who will make your life into a personal heaven on earth. That dream is just a dream.
Be realistic about yourself: You are not a supermodel. You also are broken by sin, and all the time wasted dreaming about “the one” is better spent working on your character. It’s the sinful aspects of your character that make you harder to live, less attractive to someone who’s spiritually discerning, and less of a good fit with whoever you end up marrying.
Be realistic about your prospects: You won’t find a supermodel. Adam and Eve were the last perfect fit, and it didn’t even go very well for them when they were tempted! In this life, you HAVE to be willing to settle for someone less than ideal. If you are one broken-half of a toy, it’s really not realistic for you to be setting your sights on finding another half that’s not broken. The best you can hope for is someone else who’s broken like you, but if you both are genuinely submitting yourselves to the repair-process and are in the hands of their Creator, then there’s hope both for them and for you. It’s worth adding that some people are so broken, that until they are significantly sanctified, they are not going to fit well with anyone.
Be realistic about your creator: God has the ability to reshape you and the person you marry. Your relationship with God, and the depth and reality of that relationship in the person you marry matters more than any amount of ideal characteristics you could name that might make someone a good fit now. Prioritise this in your understanding of what you are looking for in your future other-half.
Edited by Sarah O'Sullivan