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Finding Your Soul-Mate

Proverbs 18:22 

 

"He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord." (NASB) 

Some of you have heard me tell this story last year, and I hope you will excuse me for telling it again, but I just can't help myself, I must tell the story again. Last Spring, I performed a ceremony for a couple that is forever etched on my heart. Though I didn't ask their age, it was obvious to me that they were in the twilight years of their lives. When Burt called me from his home in Northern California to ask me to do the ceremony, he told me that a mutual friend, a pastor referred him to me. We sat a date for the ceremony and he and his bride-to-be stopped by my office the day before they were to be married. That's when they told me their remarkable story.

When they were very young, they stood barefoot on a beach along the Central Coast of California pledging their undying, eternal love to one another. They had their own unofficial wedding ceremony I guess you might say. Because of circumstances that they didn't elaborate on, they got separated and went on with their lives. Both married. Both divorced. They lost touch with one another, but that didn't mean they didn't think about one another. For years, after dinner, Gloria would dial information all over the state of California trying to locate Burt. What she didn't know is that Burt had an unlisted number. For years-I'm not sure how many, but I think it was more than 20, Gloria called directory assistance looking for Burt. She never gave up.

An hour after Burt got his first listed number in years for a FAX machine, the phone line rang, but the FAX machine didn't pick up, so Burt picked it up, thinking it was the telephone company testing the line-it wasn't, it was Gloria. They talked for hours, rekindling their friendship. Burt promised to drive down to see Gloria in a couple of weeks when his work eased up. The next day she got a call from him, "What exit did you say I should take?" He asked. He was on the road to see her that day.

It was an honor for me to stand on the beach at Lover's Point and pronounce them husband and wife and to ask God to bless them. There was a slight mist in the air that day, for which I was grateful, because as you know real men don't cry and the mist provided an excellent cover story as to why my eyes were so moist. 

Proverbs 18:22 says, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord." (NASB) I'm sure Burt would agree with this scripture, I know I do. It is a good thing-but that doesn't mean it is an easy thing.

Especially when it is easy to allow superficial things to divert your attention from more important things. Aaron Ahuvia is a consumer psychologist and associate professor of marketing at the University of Michigan. After studying dating behavior, he said, "People are not good at understanding what they find attractive in other people. People tend to focus on common interests and superficial characteristics and not understand the importance of -- or want to talk about -- goals, values and what they want to get out of a relationship."

(http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

In my own marriage, I've noticed a willingness on both of our parts to adapt to things like preferences and interests. As long as we're doing it together, it doesn't matter so much what we are doing. Yet, for many people common interests take higher priority than common values. If we didn't both value things like our family, faith and our commitment to be world changers, we would be in trouble. But because we do, things of lesser importance seem to fall into place.

So where do you find your soul mate? There are plenty of places to turn. If you're into technology, there are several websites that will help you find someone you are physically and emotionally compatible to. Match.com has a growing 12 million-member database to help a person find their perfect match. 

Janis Spindel is a new-fashioned matchmaker who charges her clients $16,500 for 12 blind dates over a 12-month period. She touts a 90% marriage rate and says of herself, "I am so good that it is beyond belief, It scares me how good I am. I just know who belongs with whom. It mind-boggles me."

Speaking of blind dates, singles in New York City pay $90.00 to eat dinner in the dark, so that a person's looks won't keep them from discovering their true love. Just in case you were wondering, the waiters wear night-vision goggles so they can serve their patrons in the dark.

Closer to home, In San Francisco, singles can go out on group dates with 5 other people. The introduction service costs $1600.00, but it allows the member to go on as many group dates as they desire.

And then there is Speed Dating. For just $40.00, a person can have 25 dates in one evening, the catch is each date only lasts 3 minutes. 

(http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

I know that these measures seem extreme, but if we are honest, some of the ways couples found each other in the scripture is a bit extreme too. Fathers gave their Daughters' hands in marriage as payment for work, (Genesis 29:15-30), as rewards for valor (Judges 1:12; 1 Samuel 17:25; 1 Samuel 18:27) or for cold, hard cash (Genesis 29:20; Ruth 4:10; Hosea 3:2; Hosea 12:12).

Other marriages were arranged by the parents, (Genesis 21:21, Genesis 24:1-67, Genesis 29:1-35), while other men just went out and kidnaped their brides (Judges 21:21-23).

I know that these "extreme" marriage arrangements reflect the culture of their day, but then again, so to the ones I've just mentioned. My purpose in mentioning all these things is not to condemn or sanction the methods; instead it is just to underscore the problem that who you will marry is perhaps the most difficult and certainly one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Marriage is sacred. That's why we often refer to marriage as "Holy matrimony." Marriage is a big deal. It is a big deal to you, your family and to your God. Marriage is important enough that God witnesses them. Malachi 2:14 says, "the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth"

But don't think for a minute that is all that God does. He doesn't just passively watch us as we marry; instead, He wants to be the driving force that joins us together. In Mark 10:9, Jesus said, "What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."

And that is the key to the whole thing. Marry the person that God joins you to. Don't let things like sex appeal, earning potential or common interests become the deciding factor in who you will marry. Instead, seek out the person God is joining you to. Today, I call on you to make that commitment. Right now, turn this area of your life over to God and pray for the wisdom to follow His leading. I can tell you by personal experience that you will be glad you did, if you only will. 

I know that today I've focused primarily on those in our church who are single, but I hope those of you who are married have taken this opportunity to rethink how important your wife or husband is to you. Today, I invite you to spend a few moments reflecting on how blessed you are and to pray for others in the congregation who are not as blessed, that they will have the wisdom to follow God's leading as they search for their soul mate. 

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