Creating and choosing love vs finding love: A Question of Agency Resolved
Lets start with an idea from Dr. Jason Carroll, a BYU Family Life professor: We don’t need to think about marriage as “a needle in a hay stack.” You may ask, “But doesn’t God know the end from the beginning, that he knows the future, whom I will marry?” Yes he does! He has it all in a book. But were he (God) to open that book and show you the future, the page about whom you marry WILL BE IN YOUR OWN HANDWRITING.
Can a relationship be “meant to be”? Not in a sense of predestination, but yes in a sense of a thing becoming what you designed it to be. Yes, we are to marry someone we love, but there is not a one single person who could satisfy the prerequisites for successful soulmate marriage. This does not detract from romance, it is the essence of romance. The essence of romance being working to create love, and agency.
This is the most profound thing I’ve heard in years was taught by Dr. Jason Carroll, a family life professor at Brigham Young University: The omniscience of God doesn’t disable your agency, marriage included. We don’t need to think about marriage as “a needle in a hay stack.” You may ask, “But doesn’t God know the end from the beginning, that he knows the future, whom I will marry?” Yes, he does! He has it all in a book. But were he (God) to open that book and show you the future, the page about whom you marry WILL BE IN YOUR OWN HANDWRITING.
This thinking lines up with the teachings of the prophets. Many, particularly President Kimball and President Uchtdorf, taught that there’s not just 1 person who you should marry, and that if you don’t marry that person you’re doomed. Rather, whoever you chose becomes your soul mate, and there are many compatible choices. Once you’ve chosen you focus on building that relationship into the most beautiful thing ever, and you remain together forever.
Here is a quote from President Kimball on soulmates: “Soulmates are fiction and illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and playfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price.”
Here is President Uchdorf on the same topic, “I don’t believe there is only one right person for you. I think I fell in love with my wife, Harriet, from the first moment I saw her. Nevertheless, … I don’t believe she was my one chance at happiness in this life, nor was I hers… Once you commit to being married, your spouse becomes your soul mate, and it is your duty and responsibility to work every day to keep it that way” (“The Reflection in the Water” [Church Educational System fireside for young adults, Nov. 1, 2009]).
Don’t Be Relationship Accountants:
Jason Carroll poses this question: Are We Forgetting how to fall in love? We have a generation now which is forgetting how to fall in love! We become relationship accountants, weighing everything exactly! Yes there is danger in marrying too soon, you want to do a home inspection before you move into a home, but we can’t lose the “ah you’re doing this? Sounds a little risky, but well I’m doing it too, as long as I am with you!” We can value the momentum!
Differences allowed in Togetherness and Marriage
To be one does not mean to be the same. It’s couples who deal with differences well that succeed (not couples that have a small amount of differences) (the scientists are showing us this left and right). Some differences stay around the entire life span, but they learn to deal with those and even be playful about it. It reminds me about Spencer Kimball’s words, that his wife did her stuff, he did his stuff, and when they did stuff together they picked things they both like, and thus they got along just fine. Also Hugh Nibley taught that Adam and Eve didn’t spend all their time together, heavens no (the ancient texts are showing these accounts of course)!