Editors note: In Altared: The True Story of a She, a He, and How They Both Got Too Worked Up About We (Waterbrook), Claire and Eli (aliases) reveal themselves as a couple who "met," "dated," and "broke up." Sure, that sounds like the predictable story of innumerable other couples. But Claire and Eli went further. They took stock of their relationship, considered why things had gone awry, and awakened to "the possibility that marriage was less of linchpin to Christianity than we initially thought." And they collaborated on this book, a joint memoir of their courtship spliced with theological reflection on the dangers of allowing blissful anticipations of marriage to distort our understandings of love and discipleship.
God gave me a desire for a husband or wife, and therefore I know he'll provide one."
Heard this before? We have, countless times. Whether in small groups, post-breakup consolations, late-night talks with roommates, or any number of conversations with other Christians, there was often the sense that our desire for a spouse meant that God would provide one. We're not sure we ever heard it from the pulpit, but quite a few of our friends, and even ourselves at times, thought that longing for a spouse meant marriage was imminent.
But if we desire a husband or wife, does that always mean God will provide one? We can't answer one way or another, of course, but the breadth of the statement and the conclusions drawn from it make us uncomfortable. We ourselves often don't know the difference between our own desires and desires from God. And even if we are sure a desire is from God, can we be sure He'll be faithful in the way we think He will? It would seem ...1