Over the past several months I have seen a number of blog posts and even videos addressing the question, does God have “one” person for me to marry, or, can I miss “the one” God has for me? Their conclusion was that God does not have one specific person for you to marry. Now, it’s not that these articles/video were not well written or don’t make good points, they are, and they make some GREAT points. I just don’t totally agree with the main point. While it is true that a spouse is not “the one” in that they will not complete and satisfy you (if you think that than there’s an idolatry issue), I do believe that God has a specific person that is “the one” for you to marry. I say this, and I'm nowhere close to being married yet!
In Scripture we find that God is sovereign over all of life, even, I believe, over our personal choices. It has been interesting to note that the one’s who are saying that God does not have one specific person for us are Reformed (have a higher view of God’s sovereignty). It’s rather bizarre to me that at least in this particular area my non-Reformed friends are holding tighter to God’s sovereignty than the others are. Really, if God is sovereign in one area, isn’t He also in another? If God is sovereign doesn’t He have a particular plan for your life – including who you should marry? (And vice versa I might add – either God is sovereign or He’s not!) Now it is right to address the fact that you can get obsessed with finding “the right one” and worrying before and after marriage if they are “the right one”. We should NOT go through our married life wondering if we married the right one or not. As far as I’m concerned, and Scripture would validate this, once you’re married – they’re the right one, (although with a few exceptions,1 especially if a spouse dies, there very well may be another “one” that God has for that later time).
However, just because something happens or is ordained by God, doesn’t mean it’s the best thing. God is sovereign over our choices in that He is working all things according to His purpose and for our good (Rom 8:28), but I do think that you can miss out on something “better” if you are not walking in obedience and submission. The way I see it, God has two wills: an ordained will and a desired will, and these are not always the same.2 His ordained will is what will happen. He has all the details of your life planned including where you will go to school, what jobs you will have, who you will marry. At the same time, God often has a “desired will” that may be different. For example, God does not want us to sin, but He allows it, ordains it (for what God allows He also must have ordained). God’s desire in situations like this is for us not to sin, but yet often we still do. It’s similar when we go through trials. God does not afflict His children “willingly” (Lam 3:33) but He still allows and ordains suffering to come into our lives. The reason is that He has a greater purpose. So we can see that God’s ordained will (what He ordains or allows to happen) is different from His desired will. When it comes to sin, I think we all realize that it’s “better” to just obey and not sin than to sin and deal with the consequences that result. To apply this toward the topic at hand, God has one specific person planned for you to marry (maybe more if they die), but it is possible for God to "desire" someone else for you that perhaps would been “better” and made life easier and nicer. We make choices every day and often have to take the consequences. While God makes “all things work together for good (Romans 8:28) that does not mean that another choice couldn’t have been “better” in the sense that there would be less conflict, consequences, etc. to deal with. (see footnote 2 at bottom.)
I want to re-emphasize that we should NOT go through life wondering if we “married the right one”3… what’s past is past, and you have to just trust that God's purpose is best, that He will use it for good in your life and keep moving forward. There is great hope in this! God forgives our mistakes and gives abundant grace for our future. We can not “fix” the past (and usually when we try to we end up sinning or making things worse). If you’re married, you’re married to the right one. If you're not married yet, stop worrying about "finding the right one" and focus on who you're meant to be. And who you're meant to be is a child of God, the bride of Christ. If God has someone He desires for you to marry, you don't need to worry about "missing" them if you are seeking Him first and foremost. Marriage is great and a beautiful picture of Christ and the church, but the reality is, there will be no marriage in Heaven. Our lives must be about Jesus, for that is what they were meant to be. The point I’m driving at is that you need to trust that God is sovereign over this area of your life and has a specific plan. Pray, seek wise counsel, and walk in obedience and faith.
Trust Him dear brothers and sisters, for He loves you more than any other could. Though you may have suffering, He is faithful and has a purpose for your pain. Trust Him and you will come through stronger.
1. From my understanding of Scripture, divorce is permitted if there is persistent or unrepentant sin in the breaking of marital vows. This would include (but not limited to): abandonment, emotional or physical affairs (by emotional I mean that the heart is involved - see Matthew 5:27-28), as well as emotional, physical, spiritual or other kinds of abuse…. Now, most or at least many will struggle with such sins, but again the key words here are persistent and unrepentant sin, not sin that genuinely is being fought against. If someone is in a marriage where there may be Biblical grounds for divorce, much wise counsel and prayer should be pursued. It should be remembered that it should be a last resort and that God “hates divorce” (Mal 2:16), but that it is allowed for the innocent party’s protection.
2. For more information about God’s two wills you might want to check out John Piper’s book Does God Have Two Wills?
3. Michael Patton does a great job addressing this on his blog: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/11/is-it-possible-to-marry-the-wrong-person/