If you haven’t read Timothy Keller’s book The Meaning of Marriage, I’d highly recommend giving it a read. Though I am not married, this book has given me wisdom that has radically shaped how I live now in preparation for marriage someday. This book has made me realize one key concept: when pursuing marriage, don’t try to find the one, become the one.
When we are on the prowl for a future spouse, we look for someone who is marriage material. If they are able to meet your expectations for a spouse, then you have the green light for marriage. Why do we try so hard to find the one; that person who meets all our criteria? After reading Keller’s book, I have concluded that rather than looking for marriage material, I need to become marriage material.
Marriage exposes two people to one another on the deepest level. You see each other’s worst and best parts. The person marriage will expose you to the most is yourself, not your spouse. Marriage will expose you to the darkest parts of your heart; to your sin, your selfishness and your pride. If you constantly look for marriage material without becoming it, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment. You will focus on the flaws of your future spouse while neglecting your own. If you do this, marriage will be like falling into icy water. The moment you hit the water, your body will feel the sting of the cold. It will shock your body and put you in a state of excruciating pain.
If you are single or in a dating relationship, put more energy in becoming marriage material rather than finding marriage material. Obviously you don’t want to pursue marriage with someone who isn’t marriage material, but if you focus more on your future spouse rather than being a future spouse, you will not be ready for marriage.
As someone who isn’t married, I am excited to become a spouse someday. Until then, I get the privilege and opportunity to become the one rather than trying to find the one.