By Tony W.
The pastor of the church my wife and I attend frequently speaks about the huge difference our perspective can make as we navigate life. For example, make a big mistake at work and you can see it as a valuable lesson that will help you in the future or as a confirmation that you will never be successful. Same mistake, same workplace, same you – the critical difference in your perspective.
This teaching about the importance of perspective combined with an article I read about the statistically higher success rate of arranged marriages led me to an “A-ha!” moment about marriages in general and my marriage specifically.
If you prayed about finding the right person to marry, wouldn’t you consider when you did find them that the match was arranged by the Ultimate Match-Maker? Especially if it took awhile to find your match and it came about in an unexpected manner? This Match-Maker’s done some impressive work in the past – Adam and Eve, Ruth and Boaz, Joseph and Mary. What if your marriage also was personally arranged by Him?
The article said cultures with predominantly arranged marriages have much lower divorce rates and now research also has established those in arranged marriage are just as likely to report being happy with their spouse as those in “love” marriages. It’s complicated but experts believe husbands and wives have diminished expectations going into an arranged marriage so then are happily surprised when their spouse exceeds those expectations. Conversely in love marriages, when spouses feel they have found their perfect match, the expectations are much higher and often result in disappointment when incompatibilities emerge.
The Waco Back Story
My wife and I often say how fortunate we were to find each other and how unlikely it was that we both were in Waco, Texas at the same time, working at the same company. It certainly wasn’t love at first sight. When I was first attracted to her and asked her to lunch hoping to get to know her better, she accepted but promptly let me know over Chinese food that she was dating someone and would want to be my “friend.” Over a year went by with us occasionally talking at work or having a meal together, sometimes in a group situation. All along I was visiting churches and praying on a regular basis (it’s what you do in Waco) and I’m sure those prayers sometimes mentioned my future wife by name.
As I got to know her better and did, in fact, become her friend, there always seemed to be a quiet voice inside me saying “she’s the one.” The voice seemed to note each positive quality about her that came to light as we talked.
“Wow, did you hear that? She really would be good for you.”
And then one day, things between us changed. She started to see me differently. Within a few months, I went from being her “friend” to being her fiancé, then being her husband, and
- moving across country together for her dream job,
- having a beautiful baby girl,
- having a wonderful baby boy,
- moving back to Texas,
- buying a house together,
- raising our children and two boys from my first marriage,
- growing ever closer as we’ve aged, plus
- still being in love after 22 years.
So while it’s not a big leap of faith for me to think a Higher Power brought us together, I had never considered the idea of our marriage being the purposeful act of the Ultimate Match-Maker. Churches talk about putting God at the center of your marriage, and maybe one of the best ways of doing that is to simply consider your marriage as having been arranged by Him.
Not So Heavenly
If He brought you and your spouse together, wouldn’t it make sense that He is taking an active interest in keeping you together? I’ve come to believe He does. Sure, we have friction and challenges but the Match-Maker never told me my wife would be perfect. He just kept emphasizing all that was good about her and that it might be possible for her to be my wife one day.
When I’m feeling a little neglected or misunderstood, I take those complaints to Him. But because he is all-knowing, there’s no fudging on what I’ve done or not done to further a situation. Before I address a problem, I start by thanking Him for finding my match and acknowledging what a great addition my spouse has been to my life. When I do this, things are sure to get better soon. Part of the reason this works is that He put into both of our hearts a focus on what we like about each other, not a fairy-tale expectation. “A-ha!”