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Mr. Perfect was asking me about a remark our minister made about the election. He was talking about how it didn’t matter who was in the White House because God was in control and had set up the government. Mr. Perfect asked me if I believed that it really didn’t matter. I said I did. I believe God works all things together for good for them that love Him and are called according to His purpose. God can use even non-believers to carry out His will. At some point, the conversation switched to making bad choices in mates and divorce, as many conversations do these days for various reasons. As I was explaining my beliefs to him, it struck me that choosing a mate has a lot in common with choosing a President. Here’s my list of similarities:

  • You have to do your research. Anyone can tell you anything, but you have to look at a person’s record. Does he/she keep their promises? Are they swayed by special interests with deep pockets? Do their policies line up with your beliefs on how things should be run?
  • False advertisements and slander abound. Sometimes people oversell themselves when they are trying to get a position. They only put their best foot forward and pretend they have only done well their entire lives. They may even attack a rival’s record and cast doubt on their ability to handle a position. Even special interests groups not affiliated with either candidate will pay for advertisements against a candidate or in favor of a candidate that shares their beliefs. Similarly, when we are going about mate selection, a potential mate may only let us see their best qualities or will cast doubt on someone they see as competing for your affections. Your friends and family members may also have a lot to say about the person’s suitability. Their inner circle will have things to say about you as well. Discernment is key in determining who to let advise you. Read and listen for yourself and weigh biased opinions against the truth you have observed.
  • Debates don’t mean much. Being able to present your arguments for or against issues is important. Looking confident and keeping your poise under pressure bodes well for your ability to handle the position. But when you have your ceremony and are bestowed with the title, foreign leaders and even members of your own House aren’t going to abide by debate rules. There won’t always be a mediator to keep the conversation on track and mudslinging to a minimum. Everyone won’t be swayed by pretty words. How are you going to work with people to get things done? Can you concede the small points and stand firm on the more important ones? Are you willing to stay in the room until an agreement is reached?
  • Prayer is necessary. There’s no way to get around the fact that we will never know everything we need to know about a candidate endorse them unreservedly. Even if we could know this, there’s no way to predict how being elected can change them. At some point in time, you are going to have to choose one of the candidates or not vote. Time can run out and make the choice for you or you can decide for yourself. Either way, God knows all. He knows things we can’t possibly know. Prayer for God to show you who someone really is, to give you discernment, to help you know what questions to ask and who to believe is crucial. If you want God to be a part of your relationship, invite Him in early and let Him stay. Take advantage of the advantages you have in being able to have God personally involved in helping to prevent you from choosing the wrong person for the job.
  • You can only choose one. As good as the candidates may or may not be, you can’t vote for all of them. You may be compatible with one on the social issues and another on the economy. No candidate is going to match up perfectly with all of your ideals (or as Chris Rock says, you won’t meet anyone who loves Star Wars and the Wu-Tang clan as much as you do). You have to choose the best man for the job and support him, or don’t choose anyone.
  • A president can’t change anything without the House and Senate. There are a number of roles in our lives that need to be filled, just like there are many levels of government. These are checks and balances. If a democratic president has a majority republican congress, unless some bipartisanship takes place, they will cancel each other out. The congress won’t pass the laws the president wants, and the president will veto the bills that congress wants. You need a mate that can work well with your congress and you can work well with theirs. You can’t be engaged in a power struggle for every issue. Is this someone whose agenda you can support and push through, or will you constantly filibuster them?
  • There are strict rules for impeachment (aka you can’t undo your vote). Once your vote is cast, it’s hard to recall it. After someone is elected and they do a complete 180, it’s hard to get them out of office before their term is up. Only two presidents have been impeached, or investigated on suspicion of wrongdoing that may lead to removal from office (Nixon resigned before impeachment proceedings against him began).   Both men still remained in office. It’s equally as hard to undo a marriage. Divorce is “easy” in today’s society, but the spiritual and mental ramifications are not easy to overcome, let alone what God has to say about it.
  • Even if you pick the “wrong” candidate, God’s will can still be done. God can use your “wrong” mate. Even when what they do is meant for evil, God can use it for good. All things work together for good for us as Christians. You may be “stuck” with a less than perfect candidate who makes mistakes, but God is ultimately in control.

That’s my two cents, anyway. Leave yours in the comment section.

What are some other ways in which choosing a mate is similar to choosing a president? In what ways is it different? I haven’t even touched on the ceremony similarities. I probably won’t because I don’t want to drag election talk on past today, so feel free to start there.