Chances Are, You’re Married to the Wrong Person


Romeo and Juliet.

Image via Wikipedia

Actually, it should be said, “Chances are 100% that you’re married to the wrong person” (assuming you are married).

You may not be surprised to hear that you’re married to the wrong person. You’ve believed this for a long time, so it resonates. But you are a little troubled, possibly even vexed, that I know this about you. And you’re aghast at the very suggestion that it was bound to be so, that, whoever you are, you married the wrong person.

If this sounds wildly implausible to you, then I recommend reading a post by Lori Lowe, titled “We All Married the Wrong Person”—at her Marriage Gems blog.

In her post, Lori recounts the high points in her interview with Dr. Scott Haltzman, a psychiatrist whose books focus on marriage and family dynamics. Haltzman explains why we should acknowledge that we’ve married the wrong person. For that, we should consider the evidence that it’s true.

  • We never know a person completely when we step into marriage with him or her.
  • Marriage frequently begins with star-crossed lovers, blind to each other’s faults or limitations.
  • We bring unrealistic expectations into our marriages, expectations that cannot be fulfilled by anyone.
  • We all change with time and circumstance, so that we find we’re married to a different person over time.
  • The frequency of divorce is alarmingly high.
  • Couples that remain married acknowledge that they are not always completely happy in their marriages.
  • The pool of marriage candidates may be so large that the odds of choosing the right person are low to begin with.

Lori’s excellent post surfaces many valuable points. There are others to consider.

First, the whole concept of a right person to marry needs to be examined. Even if we allow that more than one person could be right for us, we should wonder:

  1. What does it mean for a person to be right for me?
  2. How would I know that a certain person is right for me?
  3. How would I know later that the person I married is not right for me after all?
  4. And what if every “right person” marries the wrong person—that is, marries someone other than me?

Second, suppose there is no “right person” for anyone to marry, at least in the sense that so many hope for. Anyone you marry will, sooner or later, disappoint. But this does not mean:

  1. You should never marry.
  2. Your marriage to the wrong person cannot succeed.

And it definitely does not mean that:

  1. Any person you marry is good enough.
  2. There is no person who is wrong for you.

Third, some readers will argue from a religious point of view that for those people who should marry, there is always the right person. This, they may say, is tied to the sovereignty of God and God’s special means of guidance for individual believers.

Even if this is true, the questions raised here are still vital. They translate into questions about what God desires for us, how we know what God desires for us, and how we know when we’ve found what God desires for us.

Fourth, we should commit to having a successful marriage, and let go any idealistic notion of being married to just the right person and having a perfect marriage.

Fifth, we should welcome a different conception of the values and rewards of marriage than what is so widely assumed today.

Scott Haltzman’s books:

A book I recommend on decision making for the Christian, and its wisdom approach to marriage decisions, is Decision Making and the Will of God, by Garry Friesen.

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Today’s Message from Carrie Prejean, Former Miss California


It all started when she answered a politically select question with a politically inorrect answer. For that she was denied the Miss USA crown. Even her Miss California standing was in jeopardy. Then Donald Trump kindly came to her defense. More trouble surfaced, however, with the revelation of photos of Ms. Prejean, well . . . “revealed.” Yesterday her pal, Donald Trump, defrocked the beauty queen with words akin to “You’re fired!”

cprejeanToday Carrie Prejean rebounds, starting with an article for BigHollywood.com. For an article ostensibly written by her, the title is a little weird: “Exclusive: Miss California Speaks Out After Pageant Firing.” Prejean defends herself against allocations that she violated the conditions for wearing the Miss California crown. Conveniently, the professional photos go unmentiond. They are, of course, unmentionable.

The whole ordeal has turned tawdry. It doesn’t help that Prejean has expressed a dual affiliation, one in her capacity as Miss California USA and another as a firm and vocal believer in God and God’s providence. Christians with a public platform may learn from her experiences.

The Most Important Lesson

Miss Prejean says today that she’s learned a most important lesson from what she’s been through. You might find this interesting. She writes that “nothing is more important than standing up for what you believe in, no matter what the cost may be.” This is how she answers vicious attacks, to which, she maintains, she has consistently responded with integrity.

It saddens me to hear that this is “the most important lesson” she’s learned from the ordeal. Yes, she has been attacked. Yes, some attacks have been vicious and motivated by malice. And yes, Carrie Prejean acted with courage when she answered a politically-motivated question in a way that ensured that she would not win first place in the Miss USA pageant. She says she anticipated the possibility of the question, prayed it would not come up, then answered candidly when it did. I wrote about that and the fallout here.

So Ms. Prejean was not completey surprised by the verdict when the crown went to someone else. What may have surprised her is the effort that followed to incriminate her, to demonize her after so publicly taking a pro-marriage stand. As these things do, this led to the exposure of some pictures taken not so long ago. And no matter what Ms. Prejean says now in public, her photo-shoot clashes with her public image as innocent, with having traditional values and sticking to them.

Faced with the public appearance of hypocrisy, there are far more important lessons to learn than the one affirmed with such poise by Carrie Prejean. She says, “Nothing is more important than standing up for what you believe in, no matter what the cost may be.” What does it mean to stand up for what you believe in? Surely it means more than simply asserting your beliefs. Surely it matters no less whether your belief-assertions are matched by public and private conduct.

The Nature of Integrity

This is a question of truth—truth that you believe what you say you believe, the truth of what you believe, and the truth of the inner person. These are three distinct ways in which we are related to truth as individuals. Integrity is a matter of alignment among all three. First, do I truly believe what I say I believe? Second, is what I believe actually true? And third, is my life in harmony with what I believe?

These are hard questions. No one who contemplates them feels completely assured of his or her own integrity. But we are not always uncertain; sometimes we simply know that we fall short. This is why we must ask these questions of ourselves. They are a means of testing how faithful we are to our own values.

Carrie Prejean concludes her article with these words:

I am proud to be an American, and blessed to have had the opportunity to exercise my freedom of speech. I am excited and looking forward to where God leads me in the future. I know He has big plans for me. I am proud to be the strong woman God has molded me to be. I will always stand for the truth, respectfully, and never back down.

Americans have much to be proud of. Americans are blessed with the privilege of free speech. Of course, for the believer, it’s not only about freedom of speech. With freedom comes responsibility—the responsibility to speak with integrity.

Divine Guidance

Ms. Prejean speaks, finally, of divine leading. Her doctrine of divine guidance cannot be discerned in detail from the brief comments she makes. She claims to know that God “has big plans for me.” She doesn’t speculate about what those plans are. But the language she chooses is arresting. “Big plans.” But why not simply “a plan”?

Or why big plans for me? Ms. Prejean is “proud to be the strong woman God has molded me to be.” Many speak this way when talking about divine guidance. God’s leading is personal. It is special. It is large. It is for me.

Maybe we need to ask ourselves a few questions. Where do we get our ideas about divine guidance? What do they say about our view of God? And what do they say about our view of ourselves?

Carrie Prejean is a public figure. She stepped very deliberately into the limelight and became a kind of celebrity. She’s human, with human ambitions and human limitations. She has an opportunity to speak freely of what she believes and why. Today she’s declard in a very public way her values and her beliefs. She’s related them directly to how she understands God’s work in the world, how God leads individuals, and what individuals can expect from God when they use their free speech to affirm their values.

This young woman has provided believers everywhere with an opportunity for sober reflection about issues of integrity, the role of the believer in the world, and dependence on God, come what may. We do well to consider what are the most important lessons we can learn from her example.

Divine Guidance and the Decisions You Make


Book Cover.How Then Should We ChooseI spoke in chapel at Biola University on the subject of divine guidance recently. Some have asked for a suggested reading list on this topic. On issues of divine guidance and decision making, I recommend the following three books, suggest reading them in the following order, and urge you to read the Friesen book if you read only one:

Each of these is linked to Amazon for your convenience. Much of the Waltke book is available at this link on Google. For a convenient outline of Friesen’s view, click here. This overview of Friesen’s position will give you a good idea of the approach he takes. But to really understand the position, you’ll have to consult his book. I encourage this because his careful study of the scriptural material on this topic has done the most to shape my view and practice.

A new book compares three approaches, presented and defended by their respective proponents: How Then Should We Choose? Three Views on God’s Will and Decision Making (Kregel, 2009). Garry Friesen is a contributor, along with Henry and Richard Blackaby, and Gordon T. Smith.

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