It was the noted 20th century philosopher Ferris Bueller who once said,
“Life comes at you pretty fast. If you blink, you could miss it.”
According to a survey that ran today in the London Daily Mail, there’s a whole lot of blinking going on.
One in three women over 60 regret marrying the
A third of women aged over 60 said their biggest regret was marrying the ‘wrong’ partner for them, a survey showed today.
Among the other biggest regrets cited by the over-60s, romance featured heavily.
One third of British women (30 per cent), and almost two thirds of men (58 per cent) regretted not dating more people before settling down, while three in ten (31 per cent) regretted letting their one perfect partner slip through their fingers.
Worryingly, nearly a quarter of all men (23 per cent) and a third of all women (30 per cent) regretted marrying the wrong person.
Surveys like this underscore a growing sense of anxiety in our culture regarding the search for a “soul mate”.
And no wonder we are worried.
When you ask the average person how they will know when they have found the right person, things get pretty vague and undefined.
When dealing with people on this issue, more often than not I will hear:
“I’m looking for the right chemistry.”
” I want to feel a real connection.”
“I won’t just love them, but I will be in love with them.”
Whether it’s through popular songs, movies and television programs, or conversations over coffee, the message our culture sends is hard to miss.
There is somewhere out there, this incredible, over the top experience called romantic love.
Find that right person and they can put you in this state for the rest of your life.
And so we search and seek this unending state of bliss.
And when we enter in to the first stages of a relationship, we may end up thinking we have found it.
Even entering into the challenging adjustments of the first year of marriage we might be able to maintain it.
But then life happens.
Children are born.
Stress and sleep deprivation reveal just how fragile that once overwhelming feeling of “connection” can be.
Then there are financial and career challenges.
In laws can seem like outlaws.
And if we continue to define our relationships based on feelings of bliss or making a connection, no wonder that by the time they hit 60, a majority of women in this survey think they must have missed the boat.
But is it equally possible they have merely missed out of the true meaning of marriage?
The Bible tells us that God was the One Who created marriage.
In fact, Jesus tells us He designed it to be one of His first and best gifts He could give to us as people.
And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
But marriage was never intended to be a substitute for the peace and fulfillment God desires to give to us in a relationship with Himself.
And this is where we miss the boat.
Only God can love us perfectly and unconditionally.
And when we look for perfect, unconditional love from someone who is just as imperfect as we are, and who will tend to love us as long as we make them feel good just as we do, we are barking up the wrong tree.
The Bible describes this tendency to go looking for love in all the wrong places in the book of Jeremiah.
“ For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)
Let’s face it, trying to get water out of an empty well gets a little old after 40 years.
But the answer isn’t to spend the next thirty years lamenting that you didn’t choose a better hole in the ground when you were in your twenties.
Maybe the answer is to find the love we have been looking for all along at God’s fountain of living waters – His unconditional love He freely gives to all who will simply ask for it.
Jesus made a remarkable promise:
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-38)
Consider a remarkable alternative to our culturally conditioned search for a soul mate.
Learning to receive God’s unconditional love personally.
And sharing the joys of that love relationally.
This frees us to enter in to relationships not out of a desire to find someone who can “complete us”.
But to enter in to relationships because we are already full and satisfied in Jesus’ love.
In fact we are so satisfied, we even have an overflow from our hearts to share.
It has been said that the first step to a successful intimate relationship isn’t to find the right person, but to become the right person.
And when that happens, we won’t find ourselves still chasing the mirage of romantic love when we hit 60.
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