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holding handsUnless you’re living under a rock in a desert somewhere, you’ve taken part in the infamous “The One” argument, which asks the ever-heated question: Is there just one soul mate out there for each person? I remember asking this question when I was a pre-teen, then again as a teenager, then again as a college student, then again as a 20-something, then again… yesterday. It’s one of those questions that can be argued either way, spurring strong opinions and passionate debate. So let’s tackle it today, shall we?

I spent many, many of my teenage hours weeks months years at a small New Jersey church taking part in every activity under the sun: Sunday School, youth group, choir, worship team, car washes, renovation projects, coffee houses, administration, etc. One of my favorite activities was a self-created one, which I proudly titled, “Stump the Youth Pastor.” It involved a series of questions shot out like ammo from a semi-automatic weapon, pelting those poor pastors into states of sheer frustration. (No wonder they never lasted long at our church. I’m starting to feel guilty about that.)

Like that one time during youth group we talked about sex before marriage and I raised my hand.

“How far is too far?”

“Well, um… Uh…”

baseball-baseThere was a spattering of laughter and base numbers thrown out from the audience, although I still doubt that we’re all on the same page as to what each base refers to. (First base is holding hands, right?)

Then, just as the poor youth pastor’s face begins to return to its normal color, I raise my annoying teenage hand again.

“How close is too close?”

(Looking back, that’s a clever play on words, clearly paving a career path for yours truly.)

I never got a definitive answer from my church leaders, and at the time I wasn’t really interested in the answer. I was more interested in the shock factor – the embarrassed looks, the giggles from my peers, the bouts of uncomfortable silence. What was wrong with me? (You should know I was voted Class Clown in both middle school and high school.)

Another time, I remember the introduction of the inevitable question at hand regarding “The One.” Let’s break it down.

On the one hand: God’s got it all in control. He created me and he knows me. He knows who I will marry. He knows what I need in a husband. He knows the unique traits I can offer a spouse. So, naturally, when I was created, he created my partner as well – my perfect match. And when I find that special someone, I’ll know it. It’ll be an “Aha!” moment, a flash of a light bulb, a crash of thunder. He’ll be exactly what I’ve been waiting for my whole life. And we’ll live happily ever after.

On the other hand: What are you? Crazy? There are seven billion people on this planet and only one of them is for me? How bleak!

      • What if said person was born in India? Here I am looking around Washington, D.C., for my future husband when he’s halfway across the planet. Seems impossible.
      • What if he decides to marry someone else because he’s sick of waiting for his perfect soul mate? Guess that leaves me out of luck.
      • What if he chooses to walk a different path of faith? I know I want to marry a Christian. So I guess I either settle for second best or reluctantly sign that vow of singlehood forever.
      • What if?

On the other, other hand: Perhaps it’s a combination of the two. Perhaps the same God who created the universe does have it all in his control, but not without allowing us to choose our own paths, too. Perhaps the same God who created my inmost being knows exactly what my heart desires and what I need in a husband. Perhaps the God who leads me down paths of righteousness will lead me to a wonderful man who’s courageous enough to just put a ring on it already.

I’ve met in my life many men who could be great husbands for me. And I’m sure there are men out there who’ve met me and thought, “She’d be a great wife.” With God’s guidance and grace, I can commit to any one of these men, be faithful, raise a family, and build a life together.

I just haven’t found him yet — the man I feel strongly for, and the man who feels strongly for me in return.

So, in the eyes and heart of this Jersey girl, I’d say I’m not waiting for “the one” man on the planet that God created just for me before time began.

But I am waiting for that one man that I will choose to commit to marry and love… for as long as we both shall live.

~Ruth