Although there are many arranged marriages where the couple genuinely grows to love each other; in an ideal world, I want to marry my best friend. The friendship I have with my actual best friend (male), is similar to what I’d want with a prospective partner. The level of trust, banter, and honesty that we share are personal prerequisites for oneness with a spouse. In essence, I want to marry someone like my current best friend, but not him.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)
There’s something solemn yet romantic about the notion of two whole individuals (not halves) becoming one through marriage. If you look at the verse closely, you’ll deduce that it’s possible for a couple to be joined together without necessarily being one flesh. Oneness isn’t a passive process; the couple chooses to be one flesh, actively. In Single vs Relationship, I briefly mention that romantic relationships don’t work if you happen to be functioning as two single people. Marriage is no different: you need to be one flesh in name and nature. If you truly appreciated the depth of two becoming one, you would be selective about whom you court.
Courtship is an opportunity to evaluate the potential for oneness.
I won’t be agreeing to a future courtship based on superficial things like an individual’s attractiveness, or my loneliness/longing. Yes, he might be handsome, and yes, I might want a companion; but the most important question is – can I see myself becoming one with him? Some people use dating and courtship interchangeably; however, I believe that the distinction lies with the motives for the relationship. From my perspective, someone who is dating does so casually without necessarily intending to marry. In contrast, courtships begin with the intention of marriage. Irrespective of which term you favour, a relationship should always begin with the intention of marriage. “If, for whatever reason, your relationship doesn’t end in marriage; you’re presently courting someone else’s future husband or wife” (from Friends With Benefits).
In Preparing For Your Second Marriage, I spoke about the importance of remembering your first marriage (to Christ). However, it’s only just dawned on me what that means in the context of the verse above: Christians as a church body (and as individuals) ought to be one flesh with Christ. What a sobering thought! The ramifications of such a union have profound effects on every area of our lives; including, choosing a partner. Oneness with Christ, by default, means you wouldn’t pursue, or accept the advances of, someone whom you know is wrong. Do some ‘good’ courtships end in breakup? Absolutely! However, the real issue is the relationships that shouldn’t have started in the first place.
Oneness with Christ prepares you to be one with your spouse.
Courtships aren’t a pastime: unity with Christ also helps you to know if you’re ready to become one with another person. Whilst it’s flattering to know that someone is interested in you, acting on their interest prematurely can be damaging for one/both parties. That’s not a risk that Christ would have you take. Hence why you ought to consult Him regarding when, and with whom, you should be in a relationship with. Whilst I don’t subscribe to the existence of ‘The One’, there are certainly ‘Wrong Ones’ that He can help you to avoid.
- Living John 17:21 – I’m in awe of the fact that Jesus literally prayed that believers would be “one in Us” (i.e. that we would be one with the Godhead). It really mattered to Him and it should matter to you, too.
- Being ‘the list’ – I’ve mentioned before that I have a physical list of the qualities I’m after in a husband. But if a man really was the list personified, then I’d have a lot of catching up to do! If you were the opposite sex, would you want to marry yourself? Be honest.
- Courting responsibly – I remember reading somewhere that unsuccessful courtships should leave you better off. To me, that makes total sense! The process of discovering if I can become one with someone should challenge me (in a good way). If you’re facing or perpetuating challenges of the bad variety, then something isn’t right. More so if you don’t perceive them as such…
If we all did steps 1 and 2, I reckon step 3 would be a doddle!
The best predictor of oneness in marriage is oneness now with Christ. If you want to be married in the future, a strong spiritual life isn’t optional.