I have come to discover that there are only two things that are important in a future spouse. The first was described in my previous blog post, “Resolved, Never to Marry.” The second is described below.
“I couldn’t marry someone unless they had art flowing in their veins,” she said to him.
“That’s impossible,” he replied. “Only blood flows through veins.”
“A literalist,” she said, nodding slowly. “Clearly you are not the one.”
“I couldn’t marry someone unless they had art flowing in their veins,” she said to the next one.
“Oh, I love art,” he answered enthusiastically. “I’ve been to some great art galleries. I think it’s so important to be cultured.”
She cocked her head and smiled. “A surface-level complimenter. Also not the one.”
“I couldn’t marry someone unless they had art flowing in their veins,” she said to the third.
His eyebrows came together, rather puzzled, and he smiled questioningly at her. “Right. You should share the same interests. I agree. But you can have different interests, too.”
She smiled vaguely back at him, and said nothing – only thought, A rationalist. SO not the one!
Exhausted now, she said slowly to the fourth, “I couldn’t marry someone unless they had art flowing in their veins.”
To which this one responded thoughtfully – “Like a sunset melting liquid gold into your mouth – or a campfire burning memories into your heart – or a rainstorm screaming out your name – or love whispering things you’ve never dreamed of before?”
She stared at him in awe and nodded. “Yes,” she murmured, “exactly like that.”
Do you have an “unless”? Some kind of quality that is difficult to describe, but which you recognize as soon as you experience it? I’m not talking about some mythical perfect person checklist with your ideal physical features mapped out. I’m talking about what your soul connects to in another person.
Timothy Keller calls it “mythos” in his book, The Meaning of Marriage. He describes it like this:
“Ultimately, your marriage partner should be part of what could be called your ‘mythos.’ C. S. Lewis spoke of a ‘secret thread’ that unites every person’s favorite books, music, places, or pastimes. Certain things trigger an ‘inconsolable longing’ that gets you in touch with the Joy that is God. […] Sometimes you will meet a person who so shares the same mythos thread with you that he or she becomes part of the thread itself. This is very hard to describe, obviously.”
This “mythos” is the “unless” that I speak of. I won’t marry someone “unless” they have that secret thread that connects us. I won’t marry someone “unless” he understands what I love on an experiential level. I won’t marry someone “unless” he speaks the language of my heart.
Some might say that my standards are unrealistically high, and that I’ll never find someone like this. I say that marriage isn’t worth it to me unless I find someone to whom my soul connects.
Life is beautiful as it is right now as a single person. And I’m going to stop apologizing to people for it or feel like I have to “explain myself” when they ask if I’m married. I’m going to start simply saying, “No. I’m happily single.”
Not, “No,” with an embarrassed grin. Not, “No” followed by a half-hearted excuse or reason. Just happily single. They’re not going to believe it’s possible, I know. They’ll think I’m a psycho who hates marriage.
But I won’t worry about what they think. Because those who truly know me know that isn’t the case. They know that I love marriage and support it and would be happy if it came my way. And to the rest of the world, hopefully I can convince them by the way I live my life that it is entirely possible to be “happily single.”
And if someone comes along to whom the “unless” applies, then we’ll go on that adventure called marriage together.
But if not, I’ll keep happily sticking to my standards and not settling for less. It’s just not worth it to settle. A fairy-tale wedding might seem like the perfect dream come true, but when it’s over, you have a lifetime to spend with someone. And you’d better make sure it’s someone who really understands your soul, or it will be a very long lifetime.
When I spend time with someone with whom my soul connects, I am invigorated and inspired. New discoveries are made, new insights are shared – the words we share are alive, dynamic, and delightful. What we share together in our conversation makes me want to be a better person, makes me want to accomplish new dreams, makes me want to strive for greater things.
However, when I talk to someone with whom my soul doesn’t connect, we share nice, polite conversations, but they don’t go anywhere. It puts a strain on the mind to think of new things to say, and it exhausts a little to try to be interested because you don’t exactly connect with them.
Obviously, this is something we do all the time with acquaintances that we work with or meet at parties or go to school with. But if we’re going to share a lifetime, a house, a bank account, the most intimate parts of our lives together – it’s going to be the former, not the latter that I choose.
Two souls, pushing each other to accomplish the dreams that God has in store for them and delighting in who the other person is – that is the kind of “unless” I’m waiting for.
It can be a beautiful thing to see in action. And I believe God is perfectly capable of orchestrating such a thing.
And I also believe that there are other beautiful things to celebrate in my life right now, and I’m going to do so with all my heart.
The “unless” is up to Him. And I will learn to trust His sovereign grace.
Picture gleaned from Pinterest.