Last week I shared that I don’t believe in “the one” mentality – that there is a perfect “one” person for anyone to marry. I believe we should choose whom we marry, based on our principles.
In my case, those were Biblical principles and characteristics that were important to me in a man. I met Josh and chose to invest in our relationship. As a result, the romance and emotions grew.
What about once you’re married?
What happens when you find yourself in marriage and don’t always feel the romance? Let’s be honest. Sometimes you fight. Disagree. Sometimes, dare I say it, spouses don’t even like each other much in the moment.
Those are the times we might ask ourselves: what if I didn’t marry “the one?”
Hollywood and Happily Ever After
I found an interesting lesson on this in the movie La La Land. Heads up on spoilers here, if you haven’t seen it yet!
The entire film builds on the turbulent, passionate relationship between the heroine and hero. You find yourself drawn into them as a couple and rooting for their “happy ending.”
The final scene opens, and to your surprise, Mia is happily married to another guy. She has an entire new life and seems perfectly content.
She stumbles unaware into Seb’s new club, and the two meet for the first time since their sad goodbye. You watch as their imaginations unfold of an alternate world in which they ended up together, married, starting a family. And you wonder, which one is reality?
The dream world fades, and you realize that Mia and Seb really did go their separate ways. Mia married the other guy. You see in both their faces the emotions of the past, of the love they once shared. But – in the end – she walks away with her husband and lives her new life.
Now, several of my friends hated the ending. They complained that Mia married “the wrong guy.”
You might have a different interpretation, but here’s my take…Mia chose this man and invested her life in him. She was happy and led a fulfilled married life. Yes, she had the memories of the past and the emotions evoked by those memories. But it didn’t mean she was unhappy in her marriage.
I loved this ending, because it didn’t follow the typical, Hollywood, happily ever after idea that is so prevalent in our culture. It rang true to me of reality.
Real Love and “The One”
So, here’s what I’m getting at:
A healthy, strong marriage isn’t a result of marrying “the one.” It’s a result of choosing every day to invest in your marriage.
Partially, my belief in this comes from my own experience.
I love my husband and love our marriage. But the truth is, some days I feel like investing in our marriage. Some days I don’t. Some days I feel romance, and some days I want my space.
Some days we both feel disillusioned and think, “this wasn’t what I expected.” Some days we get angry. Some days we hurt each other. Some days we lose patience. On those days, what is my response?
Our relationship isn’t perfect. But we realized early on an important principle. If our marriage is going to grow stronger and not weaker, we cannot allow even the idea that “maybe I didn’t marry the one.”
That idea in marriage creates instability, doubt, even fear. It leaves our joy and peace to chance. It says that if I made the wrong choice, I’m doomed to eventual failure and misery.
I said last week that I believe we choose the person we want to marry, based on the principles by which we live. In the same way, I believe we invest in a stronger marriage by consciously choosing that spouse every day.
Now, I know marriage takes two people. One spouse choosing to invest every day does not guarantee a strong marriage. But if neither person makes that choice, it certainly will not grow stronger.
We choose to love.
Real love is hard. Harder than anything else I’ve tried to practice in life. It’s against every ounce of our selfish humanity.
The Bible tells us to “outdo one another in showing honor” (Rom. 12:10). We’re to love each other the same way we love ourselves (Mark 12:31). I don’t know about you, but I’m a real natural at loving myself, and it’s not something I like to bestow on others! We’re called to love each other the way Christ loved us (John 15:12). And He gave His very life to show how much He loved you and me.
This is a love we choose. It’s not something we naturally feel. It’s not based on romance or emotions. It’s not a result of having been fortunate enough to find “the one” person among billions who will satisfy me for life.
Don’t get me wrong. There are emotions. There are romantic moments and heart flutterings and a desire to be with that person for the rest of your days. But those are the perks – the blessings we enjoy as we choose to love our spouse.
Honestly, in my marriage, those emotions are stronger because of the hard times. When I see my husband choose to love me, stick with me, be faithful to me, even when I’m selfish and hateful and proud…well, when I get over myself in those moments, I love him even more. And vice versa for him.
Did I marry “the one?” Yep. He’s the one I married. The one I’m investing in. The one I’m committed to loving every day. And by God’s grace, he’s the one I can’t wait to spend the rest of life with, growing older and stronger together.
“I choose you. And I’ll choose you over and over and over. Without pause, without a doubt, in a heartbeat. I’ll keep choosing you.”