If you have been single for any number of years, you have inevitably been faced with the dreaded “match-up” by well-meaning friends and family members (or perhaps even asked for it out of desperation).
It always starts with that knowing twinkle in their eye, followed with, “I know this really great guy/girl …”
And your response usually falls somewhere along this spectrum –
- Wild euphoria – “This could finally be the one!”
- Bridled eagerness – “Set me up on a date!”
- Hopefulness mixed with wary possibility – “Let’s not get too excited, but – maybe??”
- Polite chuckle and inquiry – “Oh really? Who is he?”
- Nervous laughter and slight anxiety – “Oh great … who is it this time?”
- Inward panic mounting to terror – “Get me out of here before they commit me to Mr. Collins for the rest of my life!”
Usually such match-ups fizzle before they even have a chance to materialize, but sometimes – sometimes you do see them on Facebook or meet them – or even give it a shot and go on a date with them.
And sometimes when that happens, you walk away shaking your head, and wondering about that dear friend or family member – “Do they even know me?? How could they possibly have thought we’d be a good match?!”
Poor friends. They’re not the ones to blame. They really do know you quite well, and the fact that they even took the time to think of you with someone else shows their care for you (unless they’re like Emma Woodhouse of Jane Austen fame and think that you’re just a pawn in their matchmaking game, which – if that’s the case – you should regret calling them a friend!).
No. The problem – with all matchmaking, really – is that two people often seem quite well-suited for each other on paper. They might have all the characteristics someone says they’re looking for in a spouse.
But there’s no way to predict, fabricate or measure chemistry.
I might be able to “make” a marriage work to any godly candidate who steps up to the plate and is also committed, but I can’t “make” chemistry happen with just anyone [and if you’re doubtful about chemistry in the first place, read my thoughts about it in this post]. And no one can predict if that will happen with someone ahead of time.
Some things people should already know about me – like the fact that I probably wouldn’t be into someone who hates theater and kids. But just because someone does like theater or teaching or working with kids doesn’t mean we’ll automatically have chemistry. It might. But it might not. You just have to test the waters to see.
So what does one do when someone says, “I have the perfect match for you?” My response is probably far from perfect, but I’m learning …
Learning to always hear someone out and not just scoff at their idea derisively.
Learning to give everyone at least one chance (unless they’re a murderer or something equally as scary).
Learning to not be afraid of just one date with a person as if that date seals my destiny with them.
Learning to trust my intuition, but not expecting others to know what it is themselves.
Learning to trust God above all else with my heart – knowing He often does use others to bring people together. But also trusting Him when things don’t work out and it’s one more match-up that didn’t go anywhere.
Learning to not pin all my hopes on set-ups from other people or the opposite – on people I’m not set up with – but instead learning to pin my hopes on the true Lover of my soul.
Learning that I like to usually be the one to get to know a person and make my own judgment first before letting others match us up –
But also learning that friends and family are often useful in that nudge to get together!
It’s not a sin to give a match a try. Neither is it a sin to say, “No, thank you, he’s not my type” and just be honest.
But whatever you do, don’t just scream and run the other way when someone brings you a match [I used to do that – almost literally – didn’t go so well …]. They probably won’t be the love of your life. But you never know.
Trust God for the details, don’t let anxiety overtake your mind, and also trust your instincts. Don’t think you have to be with someone just because someone else thinks you’re good together. They might be a really nice person, but if you don’t feel attracted to them, body or soul, don’t pressure yourself into “sticking with it.” That’s a horrible way to treat a person.
God works in mysterious ways to bring people together. Sometimes it’s through mutual friends, sometimes it’s not. We just have to learn to be open, pray through all the stages (including the awkward initial meetings), and trust that God’s plan will work out for our best.
And in any case, your friend deserves a hug for at least trying.