There was a time (way back when I was attending BYU) when I was engaged to married. It didn’t work out. The end came suddenly and I was stunned and heartbroken. When I asked my boyfriend why he was leaving, the response was simply: “I prayed about it and felt it was not right.” I was too young, too inexperienced, and too sad to explore further. God said no and that was that.
As I look back on the experience I think that perhaps Mike did feel uncomfortable the situation, but I’m not sure his discomfort came from heaven. We had a short and speedy courtship and while that was not uncommon with our peers, it was still short and speedy – and that alone is cause for anxiety. We had some tangled friendships. And, among other things, were far from sorting out a financial situation that would work well for our future. Whether his feels of unease came from heaven or in response to these uncomfortable circumstances, I still think he made the right choice, so does it really matter?
Since that time I’ve heard similar stories about how God led individuals in to or away from marriage. And I wonder. Inspiration? Just a positive set of circumstances and a little bit of courage? Both? Neither?
My brother-in-law, Tim, claims that he did not pray about his choice to marry my sister. He says: “God gave me a brain and I used it.” He says that he dated Lisa (my sister) and was impressed with her, they fell in love, he felt good about the whole process, thought it through and could see no reason not to propose – so he did. He’s still in the family 15 years (and 5 children) later to tell the tale.
We are taught in church to pray about this big decision and be sure of our spiritual confirmations, but Tim’s approach seems very reasonable and plausible. So how does it work? Is it inspiration? Is it a good choice? Both? Can inspiration, so hard to understand, be wrong? Can our brain, full of hormons and infatuation, be wrong?