Sighting Seeking Singles
I love the weather warming because I see many singles going outside on dates. I see their excitement, sense their nerves and sometimes hear their conversation. One important reason for the book Dating with Discernment was my repeated sightings of singles seeking a spouse by Soul Mate thinking. One version of this belief holds that there is the one out there who is your soul mate. And you’ll just know it. The Bible doesn’t encourage us to date this way. In fact, Proverbs 18:22 pretty much nails the coffin on that idea. Solomon tells us, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing.” That’s “a wife,” not “the wife.”
Yet Soul-Mate thinking continues to pervade the culture and, as usual, the church is not unaffected. Even if they don’t accept that there is just one out there and they have to find that one, many Christians think determining if this one is the one means asking if the date is their soul mate. As with other harmful doctrines, there is a truth hidden in there that gives it its continuing cache.
Feminism continues in its influence based on the important truth that women are indeed equal to men in the sight of God. The Bible said it first, of course, and feminism lives on it. Unfortunately, the third wave of the movement throws out the baby of distinctive and asymmetrical womanhood with the bathwater of oppression. That statement is sadly too literal.
Some assertions contained in Marxism are true. Again, people are equal in value, and the earth gives enough to care for all. Facts like these account for its continuing draw. But these are mixed in with Marx’s descriptions of humanity and history that are not true, which pretty much guarantee Marxism’s prescriptions will not work. Criminy—the fruit on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was a delight to the eyes and probably did taste good for food. It is not falsehoods but corruptions of actual truth that have staying power.
Second Asymmetry Instead
So with Soul-Mate-tism. It is a corruption of the deeper reality of the second gender asymmetry. We have features of our personalities, our backgrounds, our minds, our preferences, our maturities, that make for attractive or repelling force. These tend to operate pretty quickly in sorting out whether we want to continue a relationship. But God would have us surf on these to dive to a deeper question in evaluating our dating relationship:
As a woman, can this man bring me to a place of deeper security? Does he have, or is he getting, what gets me to a place of steadiness? Is he the ground of unfolding for my identity?
As a man, can this woman give me rest? Does she take the burden off? Does she bring me home?
Phrased these ways, we can see how the Biblical way is akin to soul-mate thinking, but it is the fuller, richer question. It gives the more lasting dynamic on which to build a love. It safeguards against soul-mate frivolity, such as, “We both like playing Catan and so we were made for each other;” or, “Our paths should cross because we both do cross-fit;” or, even, “We understand what each other is thinking so we should be together for ever.” These are no guarantee of anything. And because the asymmetry of origin is only one of the three asymmetries, it is properly placed in the evaluation. It is not the only criteria of the complete decision to marry. Whereas relationships founded on soul-mate thinking later encounter difficulties that are hard to overcome.
Let us hope that these warm weather daters ask better questions this spring.