If you are dating and the relationship has persisted for a while, you reach a point of asking, “Is this the one? Should we be together? Should we go for it, that momentous move called marriage?” It is exciting and dizzy and, yes, scary. Is this the one? Here’s how to tell.
The Bible supplies important wisdom on this point. As usual, the wisdom is neglected. Your help lies in the Biblical gender asymmetries. But because we have been trained to think that gender is not all that important in relationships, it is the last thing couples consider at this fateful moment. It is neglected because people don’t realize the point of gender, how it is a gift to foster intimacy.
As a pastor, I advise singles at this stage to consider how gender asymmetries function between you. Doing so not only helps you judge how your date is doing. It also helps you to evaluate how the relationship is doing, and whether you are laying a good foundation for a marriage that will last.
Go back to the first couple God created, and what He did in creating intergendered relationships in the first place. The Genesis creation account, according to the Apostle Paul’s writings, present us with three asymmetries. We can’t develop them completely here, but, in short, here are three tests to which you should submit yourselves. Look at your relationship in light of each of these:
- The Asymmetry of Origin—God made them differently, Adam and Eve. He did it on purpose to establish a reflection of His Triune difference, yielding a difference in what they give each other. If you are the guy, ask if she brings you rest, perhaps in a way you haven’t known before. And ask how you do in making her secure. Do you think you could? If you are the woman, ask if he makes you secure in what he does, or if you think he could. And ask if you seem to be able to bring him to a place of rest by your words, your deeds, or simply your presence.
- The Asymmetry of Order—God made the first pair in a different order, to create a difference in how they relate to each other. The firstborn and the promoter. As a woman, ask if you can put him forward as a head, if you are able to surrender prerogative to him as your husband. Could you do that? Ask also if he takes charge for your care and development. As a man, do you think she can honor you as a head? And ask if you can be that for her. Can you step forward in responsibility for her sake? Have you both been practicing these things at all in your dating?
- The Asymmetry of Intent—God states in Genesis 2 that he is making the man and woman for different purposes in relation to the mission He gives to both. As a woman, you should ask if this man can lead in the mission you will have together. Can he find out why it is that God brought you together, what you should be doing for Him? And can you fit in that mission? Can you empower it? Likewise, as a man, ask if you think you can find the purpose from God that encompasses you both. Does this woman have the divine spark to move your co-mission forward?
Like I said, neglected. But, in fact, these are the most important determiners of what kind of marriage you will have. And they provide an excellent way to help answer that dire question, “Is this the one?”
Do you find these questions helpful or strange?