Many times I asked myself; "how do I know if she is the 'one'?" Have you ever thought anything like this? Have you ever wrestled in prayer, sought advice, fasted, wailed and beat your chest, racking your brain on whether or not this is the person that God wants you to be with (this usually happens only after the emotionalism and romantic hype fades and we are a bit more sober in our thinking)? Where does this notion of "soul mates" come from? Is it even a biblical one?
It might be good to insert a comment about Gen 24:12-14 about Abraham's servant praying ("fleecing"? - c.f. Jdg 6) to find a wife for Abraham's son Isaac as this is often referred to in order to defend the notion that it is a biblical idea that there is "one". My retort would be; is this instance and situation for Abraham's family supposed to be prescriptive for our romantic efforts, or simply descriptive? How can we know? (a helpful place to start: "How To Read The Bible For All It's Worth")
I can probably identify where this notion started for me: growing up I remember as a teenage boy my grandfather asking me what I thought the perfect girl would be. I went on to describe the qualities and attributes that I thought made up my dream woman, and he proceeded to tell me that God had just that woman out there for me. Along with that I had a bombardment of messages through media, culture, and friends and family that all essentially boil down to love and romance being the pinnacle of existence.
So where does that leave us as Christians? Well, to start I must emphatically refuse the notion that romance is the height of all existence. It is true that the bible records the fact that God saw it was not good for man to be alone and therefore created for him a 'suitable helper' (c.f. Gen 2:18) - (as in none of the animal kingdom provided Adam with the companionship and help he needed in order to take care of the earth). Yet it's a false notion to say that God is not sufficient for man's enjoyment and satisfaction, and that you must have romance in order to have the greatest life, for it is Christ alone that offers life to the full (Jn 10:10), not romance, money, pleasure, leisure, or any other thing.
So I believe that leaves us as Christians right where God wants us, resisting the world and pursuing His kingdom - some with romance, some without.
But what does that look like? I believe every Christian who is single should take seriously the admonitions and warnings in the scriptures before they pursue marriage (Mat 19:1-12; 1 Cor 7) and to think through if they are willing and able to stay single for the sake of the kingdom.
Many might bring up Paul's 'gift' in regards to this idea (1 Cor 7:7): however I am not convinced that the traditional view of Paul's gift means that he didn't desire romance, companionship, or even sexuality. Perhaps the 'gift' he spoke of wasn't that he lacked desire, but instead had self-control and thus could adequately deal with his desires? Ultimately it is unclear as to what Paul's 'gift' was, but I believe it should be strongly considered and faithfully prayed through before any decisions are made to seek marriage. God and His kingdom should be the driving force behind our thinking and decision-making, not simply the culture of love and romance around us.
Once the idea of intentional singlehood (I distinguish intentional from unintentional) has been carefully considered and one decides to pursue marriage and romance in the context of the current American culture of dating, then I believe moving forward in faith and implementing the biblical principles discussed in this series is the next step. *For a further in-depth and thorough look at the idea of "the one", please read: "Decision Making & The Will Of God"