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Finding Your Million Dollar Mate
By Randy Pope
Moody PublishersCopyright © 2004 Randy Pope
All rights reserved.
So you Want to Get Married?
What if you could find the perfect mate, someone you could live with the rest of your life, who would meet all your longings and expectations? What would that kind of match be worth to you? I think you'll agree it would be priceless! That's exactly what this book is about ... finding your million dollar mate.
Marriage is a big deal to anyone looking for that special someone with whom to spend the rest of his or her life. Everywhere I go it's on people's minds.
During a recent visit to Chicago I struck up a chat with a taxicab driver. I said, "Where are you from?"
"Pakistan," he answered.
Fascinated, I ventured a few questions to get him to open up. "How can you stand this weather in Chicago?" I asked casually.
"I hate it. I absolutely hate it," he retorted. "I've been here fourteen years, but I'm moving to California to get away from it." At that point he grew animated and said, "But first I'm going back to Pakistan to get married." After congratulating him, I asked him to tell me about his bride-to-be. He replied, "I don't know her. We've never met. Our marriage has been arranged."
My interest level intensified as I urged him to explain. He gladly continued, his eyes darting in and out of view in the rearview mirror as he navigated the congested Chicago streets. "No, I've never met her" he said, grinning. "I'll go home and give her an engagement ring, but we're not going to rush into it. After we get engaged we'll spend time getting to know each other."
"When you say you're not going to rush into it, how long will you actually be together before you get married?"
"Well, we're going to give it at least two months. That should be plenty of time."
Wow! An arranged marriage and only two months of dating! That's how they do it in Pakistan.
Obviously the methods for finding a mate are as numerous as there are cultures and lands.
And options abound for anyone who chooses to begin the mate quest. People can search on-line, go to a matchmaking party, or try their hand with a tarot-card reader. I recently read about dating nightclubs designed to allow singles to meet several eligible people in one night. When the bell rings each person moves around the room and strikes up a conversation with someone of interest. Conversations are timed. After twelve minutes another bell sounds and each person shuffles to the next person. Each time the people are hoping to learn as much as they can about whatever person they happen to be talking to. And in twelve minutes the expectation is that they will be able to size that person up, get a read on the chemistry between the two of them, and by the end of the evening, narrow the choice. The results are tabulated and matches are made. Imagine that. I call it icebreaker dating!
Even reality TV has cashed in on the business. Since so many people dream about finding that special someone, reality dating shows have struck instant gold.
The world has grown obsessed with reality dating. First on the scene was The Bachelor, then The Bachelorette. Following that, Joe Millionaire. And soon after, Married by America and For Love or Money, and, of course, Cupid. By the time this book is printed, there'll be many more. The wildest of all is Mr. Personality! Producers drape masks over the faces of a group of guys, half of them decent looking, the other less than handsome, parade them in front of an eligible woman, and say, "OK, you pick, but you'll never know what they look like until you've made your decision." Now that's what I call a blind date!
Unreal Expectations of a Reality Culture
Sadly, there's nothing real about reality TV. Especially in the dating craze. A journalist writing for the Christian Science Monitor interviewed a group of singles as they watched back-to-back episodes of these wild dating games. The article chronicles their reactions and reveals the unreality of reality TV:
While the unscripted TV craze now includes everything from celebrity "moles" in Hawaii to Allen Funt [Candid Camera] versions of high school reunions, dating remains a popular topic for the genre. This week two new shows debuted to predictably high ratings for a culture always fascinated by the spousal quest.... "How can you say these shows are about relationships?" asks 15-year-old Whitney Williams, sitting cross-legged on the rug and leaning forward attentively. "All they're doing is lying to each other. Relationships are supposed to be based on trust."
The idea of finding the perfect mate on television is met with a snort of derision from 23-year-old Melissa de la Rama. But then, she adds, maybe they're just looking for love. "I guess I don't blame them for looking for love in a weird place."
I'm with her. I don't blame these young people for looking for love. We all desire that, don't we? Yet the results are coming in on the staying power of these matches made in TV land, and the news looks grim. Total devastation. Reality dating wreaks havoc, especially in the lives of those not chosen. Under the lights and cameras of that world of make believe, excited contestants make it so far only to be eliminated. The consolation prize? More pain, hurt, and rejection while the world watches from its living room. You can get that anywhere.
Most leave having never even gotten to the proposal. They simply weren't chosen by someone they'd just met. Losers end up feeling, well, like losers! Distraught over a breakup before a get-together ever took place. The expectations left the planet and went into orbit.
But are these "reality" shows really so far removed from real life? Rates for divorce and desertion climb painfully higher each year. The statistics startle even the most progressive soul. According to recent research, higher than 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce. How's that for reality?
Yet, despite such ominous projections, millions of people continue to search for that perfect someone to grow old with. In fact, if you're single and looking for a mate, either for the first time or once again, you are among approximately eighty million eligible singles in the U.S. alone! A recent census showed that out of all the house-holders accounted for in America, nearly half are unmarried adults. Many have never been married–about fifteen million people between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-four–and over twenty million of the single adults in the U.S. are single again following a divorce. No wonder reality dating shows hit prime time with a bang!
Is there Really a Perfect Mate for me?
With so many options for finding that perfect someone and no shortage of eligible singles, why are the odds stacked so high against marriage? I'm convinced there's something fundamentally wrong with the search process.
Finding the right mate is a wonderful goal and a powerful desire in just about every person's life. Different cultures approach it in different ways. But whether it's Pakistan or Paducah, finding the right mate is serious business. If you have any interest in marriage, the big questions you're likely asking are, Who will it be? How will I find that person? And how do I know when I do? Perhaps the most important question of all: How do I keep from becoming another bleak statistic?
I believe there is a way to find lasting fulfillment in marriage–to find that match truly made in heaven. But you likely won't find him or her on a game show or in some trendy, smoke-filled piano bar or even on the Internet. Finding the mate who's best for you is about deciding what matters most. That requires honest reflection about what drives you in life and determining your overarching purpose for living.
The mere fact you've picked up this book and started reading tells me you're wondering about marriage ... or you care deeply about someone else who is wondering about getting married.
Quite likely, you're single, have done some dating either in high school or in college or both, and now you're standing in the real world wondering if Mr. Right or Ms. Right truly exists. It may be that you're single again after a divorce or following the death of your spouse–in either case you're no doubt still wrestling with many tender and often conflicting emotions vying for control.
Whatever your situation I want you to know you're OK. No matter where you are in your process, what you're feeling as you read is perfectly normal. Being single does not make you a stranger in the land.
In fact, now would be an appropriate place for me to make some clarifying comments about being single.
I don't want you to believe that since I'm writing a book about finding your million dollar mate that marriage is for everybody. I don't believe that at all. But I am convinced that both being single and being married are gifts from God. If you subscribe to the notion, as I do, that there exists for you a divine design, then that design includes either the gift of marriage or the gift of singleness. Each gift comes with its own set of wonderful blessings and challenges. And if God's plan for you is to be single then He promises to provide you with everything you need to accept and even embrace that plan as part of His calling on your life.
Everything about the culture in which you and I live contradicts that perspective. And that's precisely why I felt compelled to write this book. But as we will soon see, culture is not a reliable guide as to what is best for you or for your life.
What I want to do in the pages that follow is help guide you through the maze–to navigate the tossing sea of questions and emotions and help you land safely on the other side.
I've been there ... right where you are. And in my nearly three decades of working and counseling with couples, I've journeyed nearly every path with people like you. So let's explore together and see what we discover!
But before we go there, take some time to reflect on what you've read. A section that I will call "Think About It" will end each chapter. This brief section will help you reflect on what you've read and prepare you to go on to the next chapter.
Think About It
How are you feeling? Choose the emotion that best fits:
Can't wait to turn the page!
What are the reasons you decided to read this book?
How often do you think about marriage these days? Do you think there really is someone just right for you with whom you could spend the rest of your life? Why or why not?CHAPTER 2
My Million Dollar Mate
As a college student I had to make three major decisions in life, decisions that stood above all others: Who would be my master? What would be my mission? and Who would be my mate? I came to the decision of Master while in high school, but it wasn't until my years studying at the University of Alabama that my decision about my Master began to radically impact my major life decisions.
Actually each of us has only one master–that one driving force behind all that we do. It becomes the compelling drive of our lives. For some the master is self–an obsession with satisfying those inner wants and passions. When self reigns, everything the person does feeds an insatiable appetite for self-satisfaction and fulfillment. Others have confessed being mastered by a deep longing to achieve significance–to leave a legacy, something by which they can be remembered when they're gone from this earth. That longing for significance drives them to achieve more and more. Many more are under the rule of money. Financial gain controls them. Money becomes their master. They work harder and harder to stockpile more and more.
At one time or another I have served nearly all of them. I have experienced a divided allegiance from time to time as well. You probably have too.
You see, each of us freely decides who or what will be our master. That's a willful, conscious, intellectual decision. I confess I was speeding toward the goal of self-fulfillment when I came to a fork in the road. It was then I learned that God loved me so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross and provide me with an eternal hope. God in His kindness delivered me from a path of destruction and set me free from a life lived for self. His was a free gift He offered through Jesus. He did everything; I surrendered through faith. Plain and simple. God became my Master.
From that decision would flow my mission, a lifelong vocation. My life had been significantly affected by individuals who had committed their lives to serving God vocationally, and I had come to understand the power of a life lived focused on helping others on their spiritual journey. My mission soon included a commitment to sharing God's love as though I was a beggar showing other beggars where I had found food. The decision of Master and mission would determine my future direction of life–ultimately shaping my third major life decision.
That final decision now could be made–who would be my mate? Where did getting married fit into the larger picture? Was marriage in the plan for me? If so, how would I know when I found the right woman? How could I be convinced the marriage would last? Those were major issues for me.
When all is said and done, an appropriate choice of mate would boil down to the answer to three questions: Does she love my Master? Does she embrace my mission? Does she have the qualities necessary to be my mate? And, of course, can she answer the same three questions regarding me?
What Will I Call Her?
Not long after I had settled the issues of my Master and mission, I started praying for my future mate. I assumed I had not yet met her. Still, I felt compelled to bring her before the Lord each night in prayer. That prayer time became a tender routine. Before bed I would pray, "Lord, I don't know who she is. I don't know where she is or whether I've even met her. But I ask You to bless her and to protect her. I ask You to take care of her, provide for her, and keep her pure. Thank You, Lord. Amen."
That was it. That was my prayer. And I prayed it consistently night after night.
One day I thought, I need a name for her. What am I going to call her? It became important to me to identify this unknown person as I prayed. I knew I'd rather have a good spouse than a million dollars. Finding God's best for me would be worth more to me than any amount of money. So I started calling this mystery girl my million dollar mate. With that I revised my prayer to simply say, "God, please bless my million dollar mate."
A Name that Stuck
Funny how things like that catch on quickly. Many of my buddies began to hear me referring to my million dollar mate. The phrase became a household word. Eventually, I started hearing them talking about their "million dollar mates" too. That whole idea of finding someone worth more than any amount of money instantly struck a chord with my closest friends. They knew what I meant. They understood why I prayed night after night for that special girl. We all desired the very best we could find. And I'm sure you do too.
My expectations soared as I prayed and dreamed about finding my million dollar mate. Life could not have been better.
Unfortunately, life has a way of knocking us flat when we think we've got things under control. That's exactly what happened to me. What took place next hit me broadside. It all started on a summer afternoon with a note from my dad and a painful jolt back to reality.
While I was out of town, my dad wrote a note and left it for me to read. The note read: "Good-bye. I will never see you again. If you ever marry and have children please kiss my grandchildren for me. I know you will never understand but good-bye forever." That was it. The shock of it all left me numb and stunned.
At first, I could only hope it was a joke. Yet we weren't laughing. My mother was numb with shock, fear, anguish; you name it. He was gone. His personal belongings, gone. It was done. Dad had left without a trace or an explanation. None of it made sense to me.
My father and I had always been close. We enjoyed much in common and maintained an unusually strong, emotionally stable relationship. We didn't argue or fight–in fact, we displayed much affection toward one another. To me he epitomized true strength and character. He was a role model to me and to almost everyone who knew him.
Many in our city held him in high regard, both as a civic and a religious leader. He had established a thriving dental practice and built our family a spacious, beautiful home. Really, he had it all. Still the unimaginable happened.
Months went by as we searched in vain for my father. We had no idea where to look. He left no clues. The trail went cold. Then a strange course of events put us onto a path that led us to him. Though he resisted my initial requests for a visit, I eventually prevailed and set up a time to meet. Nothing in the world could have prepared me for what I'd learn about my dad, his broken marriage, and the cold realities of life.
Excerpted from Finding Your Million Dollar Mate by Randy Pope. Copyright © 2004 Randy Pope. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of ContentsTABLE OF CONTENTS
1. So You Want to Get Married?
2. My Million Dollar Mate
3. Two Pictures Worth a Thousand Words
4. Fatal Attractions
5. The Greatest Hope
6. All That Increases
7. Finding Your Million Dollar Mate
8. A Personal Story
What People are Saying About This
...Ideal for singles who are not interested in simply getting married, but who desire a growing marriage that will last a lifetime...-Dr. Gary Chapman, author, The Five Love Languages