Who knew that you could apply logic to the realm of romance and relationships? For far too long, the Western notion of "love at first sight" and "written in the stars" and other such feelings-based nonsense has guided the modern marital zeitgeist. Well, I'm here to show the difference between induction-based reasoning and deductive reasoning with reference to Mr. or Ms. Right. Or Mr. or Ms. Right-Now. Whomever you might be considering. And how, if we were to listen to the left brain when dealing with something that has been the domain of the right for far too long, it would allay most, if not all of the fallout resulting from a poorly planned matrimonial mash-up. I would first like to say that when you or a loved one goes through a divorce (for me, it was my parents) you hear all the adages that make up the prevailing attitude of the event. I think the one that stood out the most for me was this phrase: "The seeds of the divorce are there when you go up the courthouse steps to apply for the license." Or down the aisle, or wherever. The church. And that's a paraphrase by the way, I forget where I read it. The point is, if a marriage is destined for failure (Destiny, hah!) the reasons for it were there all along. Someone wasn't all in. What follows, at least for the partner most hurt, is a long, dark night of the soul during which they analyze to the nth degree every piece of information in an attempt to ferret out the clues that might have shown the end from the beginning. So why not do it now? If ya got the guts!
I don't mean to be flippant. Please understand that I'm not a bitter cynic who's been scorned by the opposite sex and am now here to spew invective at engaged individuals. I am however, concerned about the pathetic state of Western marriage in general (bored, by and large). Wondering if maybe the whole "disposing thereof" should be put into the hands of couples from a generation or two prior who've made it thus far. Put the arrangement of prospective couples in the hands of those who actually know what they're doing. As I know that sanctioning something like that would never fly, the best I can offer is my two cents and the exhortation to put the thing in God's hands and have Him bless accordingly (or not).
Say you've met someone. They now fill your dreams and color your days. You're on cloud nine, ten even. And before I go any further, if you believe in God and that God has created you and also someone for you (as do I), then the procedure should be simple, right? In an attempt to divine a simple answer (yes/no), we try all sorts of things. Tantamount to pure divination, any sign we see either points to the fact or fiction of the one in question. S/he loves me? S/he loves me not? Enough to tie the knot? Oh, I'm so confused. This would be an example of deductive reasoning. From the top, down. Loosely defined, sure. But whenever we take a conclusion and assert that it's the right thing, in this case, right person (a "yes"), then we tendentiously see all attendant phenomena as agreeing to their future station as spouse. I would argue against this being the right way to go about thinking of the whole matter. As I mentioned in the previous post, if there's one thing on this earth about which I'm agnostic (agnostic: without knowledge), it's the heart-depth of another person. I might be somewhat perspicacious (I like to think I am), but on any deeper level, I need the insight of the Holy Spirit to let me know if someone's being genuine, honest, merely factual, or just shining me on.
"...for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts..." (1 Chronicles 28:9)
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
Now, you may be asking yourself, "Why would someone want to deliberately deceive me into marrying them? Are you saying there's no vestige, no trace of love in them for me at all?" And if you're not asking yourself this, you should be. The world is replete with those who take delight in causing the downfall of others, strip-mining their faith and their confidence before they move on to the next victim. Some call them "emotional vampires", elsewhere in other circles they are known as "sociopaths". The Bible uses such terms as "flattering" (Proverbs 26:28), "subtle", (Proverbs 7:10), "cunning" (Ephesians 4:14), among others. The truth is if we don't retain some glimmer of a realization that the person we're looking to spend the rest of our lives with could be a wolf in sheep's clothing, truly, we are being naive.
With these keywords in place, I believe we can then look to the method of induction (a bottom, up approach) as a means of analyzing any qualifying qualities in a prospective mate. Feelings fade. This is the natural order of things. And if this rubs you the wrong way, then take a step back and consider the mental effectiveness with which your boy/girlfriend or fiancée gives you. Do you feel like yourself (remember, can’t truly love another until you love yourself) when you’re with them? Now take feelings out of the equation and consider the smallest of cues, of clues. If you're Christian, are they? Good. Do they ever bring up topics of discussion in matters spiritual? How deep are they? How sound are they in their doctrine? Now put feelings back in. Does the love of God shine through them? Are they patient? Kind? Compassionate? How do they treat the waiter? Seriously. Everything tells. And as you are making the biggest decision of your life (next to salvation), one that will in turn make or break you, everything should be on the table. Think. *clink* Bottoms up!
While this process might be anathema to many in the throes of a complicated romance, this side should be explored by all. A logical, hands-off approach to finding a mate will not disappoint. Then again, if we don't think through things rather than simply feel what feels good, we may very well end up being the ones who are disappointed. Where did it go wrong? The clues, the answers, were there all along. And depending on how the marriage turns out, you'll find that it was arranged from the outset, after all.