If a clock could count down to the exact moment you’d meet your soul mate, would you want to know?
That’s the question asked in an interesting little movie called Timer. The movie takes place in a world where lonely singles can get a timer, a computerized clock implanted in their wrists, which will determine the exact second they will meet their soul mate.
That would be great, right? It would eliminate wasted dates and anxious hours wondering if the one you’re with is The One. It would cut down on divorces and spare you the heartache of pining over someone you’d never end up with. As the movie says, having a timer “takes the guesswork out of love.”
In some ways, that’s the same thing we’re hoping to do here on CatholicMatch, isn’t it? We try to take a little of the guesswork out of love by eliminating certain people from the outset. We narrow our search by specifying certain characteristics we’re looking for in a mate: belief system, age, height, body type, favorite foods and music.
CatholicMatch can be a great tool in our search for a mate. But it has its limits, of course. A computerized matching system can determine compatibility, but it can’t determine whether two people are destined to be together. And if it could, would that be such a great thing?
What if you got a timer and it revealed that you’d remain single the rest of your life? Would you really want to know?
Or what if your timer determined you still had three years, seven days, 41 minutes, and 55 seconds until you met your soul mate. What would you do with all that time? Go to the gym and get in shape to make yourself attractive for your future mate? Why bother? If your soul mate is predetermined, they’re going to love you anyway, right?
Technically, if you knew with absolute certainty that you’d bagged your soul mate, you’d never really have to work to maintain your love relationship because it’s all predetermined.
And that’s the biggest problem with the concept of a timer. It feeds into the cultural myth that romantic love is some kind of magic. It’s destiny. It’s written in the stars.
But as anyone who’s ever been in a romantic relationship can tell you, love requires work. It’s not magic. It’s a mystery that calls us to deny ourselves for the good of the other. For whatever reason, God designed it that way. And He doesn’t allow us to know the exact moment we’ll meet The One. If something as mysterious as romantic love could be whittled down to such a precise science, would it still be what it is: love?
The highest kind of love, the kind God calls us to in all relationships, romantic or otherwise, is not about a clock or getting our own dreams fulfilled. It’s not a commodity that can be quantified. It’s an act that is ongoing.
In the movie, two people have just started dating, and the guy asks his girlfriend what she wants from their relationship…
“A guarantee,” she replies.
And that’s what it comes down to. We all want a guarantee. A guarantee that The One is out there and we’ll find them. A guarantee that, no matter what, someone will be there to love us for the rest of our lives.
But in the end, I think some things we’re better off not knowing. What do you think?