In my little island Jamaica marriage is on the decline as more and more young people witness the ugliness of divorce between couples who just can't seem to reconcile their differences.
A fear of commitment and heartbreak is causing more young people to opt for "no strings attached" sexual relationships, as if our emotions can be completely detached from our acts of love. It is a recipe for disaster.
But I want to debunk one of the biggest misconceptions known to man, the idea of the "right person".
Is it possible to marry the "right person"?
No, it isn't, and I know this may come as a surprise to you but I totally agree with the sentiments and wisdom shared by authors Timothy and Kathy Keller in their book "The Meaning of Marriage" in chapter one entitled "You Never Marry the Right Person".
Timothy Keller actually says we always marry the wrong person. Now isn't that a scary statement? But after reading his reasoning against the backdrop of biblical principles I totally understand what he is saying.
Made in Sin, Shaped in Iniquity
From the moment sin entered the world, all humans (except Jesus) have been born sinful. We can observe this in babies. Give a baby a toy that they enjoy playing with and then try to have that baby share the toy with someone else. That baby will resist sharing.
Some babies may lose interest in the toy, so they don't play with it anymore, but the moment they see someone else enjoying it, they now want it all for themselves. This is the root that all sin sprouts from - selfishness.
The root of our relational issues is selfishness and pride, not a lack of compatibility. No matter how awesome your partner is in the dating/courtship phase, when you live with them, their awesomeness will fade as the honeymoon stage phases out.
All their flaws will rise to the surface and you will question whether or not you made the right choice, you may even ask, "was this really God's will for me?"
If you want a long-lasting marriage you must recognize your own selfishness and the impact it has on your spouse just as their selfishness has a profound impact on you. If you both give and receive grace in recognition of the natural tug of war between selfishness and selflessness, then your differences can be reconciled and divorce can be avoided.
But what about compatibility?
Most people who are seeking companionship are seeking a person they're compatible with. In theory this makes sense as it is much easier to navigate a relationship where you and your spouse have a lot in common.
However, placing heavy reliance on compatibility is not enough to sustain a lifelong relationship because people change. You may find that the person you believe is the "right person" now becomes a different person five years from now as life and circumstances change.
You may marry a young lady who is an ambitious and intelligent medical student today because you are the same and attracted to those traits in her. But after six years of marriage you are now quite surprised at how the doctor version of her treats you and how little time you get to spend with her because she is always working and what little attention she has left goes to your children.
You may love how aggressive and outspoken your boyfriend is now, a true alpha male, because you are somewhat like that too, and you have dreams and visions of you both conquering the world together.
But then four years into marriage you get sick and tired of how little say he allows you to have in the running of the family business and the household, you get into arguments regularly and even if what you are saying makes perfect sense, he is going to disagree because he has to prove that he as the man should have the final say.
You and your husband may both be quiet and shy people and there is a mysterious romantic aura about your relationship that spills out of how alike you both approach life. But then five years into marriage you and your husband fall on hard times and pressure is now on him to get out there and make something of himself for the sake of the family. But he retreats within himself out of fear of failure and suddenly you find yourself wishing he were different.
Compatibility doesn't last through the seasons of life, you will have to adjust to changes in your spouse and your spouse will have to adjust to changes in you.
Most people don't have the emotional maturity or awareness to recognize that they contribute to their marital problems just as much as the other person, and that the "right person" is not necessarily the person you totally sync up with, but rather the "right person" is whomever God puts in your life allowing you to grow in holiness.
The right person is not always the comfortable teddy bear that you enjoy hugging, the right person may just be the anvil against which your blade is forged and sharpened. Just as no two people have the same fingerprint, no two people are exactly alike and so perfect compatibility is highly unlikely.
Courtesy of Press Service International