Soulmates

Posted on November 9, 2015

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“And it’s only the giving that makes you what you are.”  Ian Anderson

I was in Bible study on Sunday, and the instructor made a comment that soulmates were not made, but built.  The point being that there isn’t a soulmate that was made just for you, but rather that you become soulmates by working on becoming so.

There was an elderly couple (both well into their 80’s, married 60 years) sitting at the table in front of me.  As they faced the instructor she was sitting in front of him.  When the instructor made the comment, the husband reached out and put his hand on his wife’s shoulder.  She looked back at him and there was this beautiful moment of connection.[1]  It was this moment of two people who knew exactly what it meant to develop such a relationship that you become soulmates, where your love, affection, and attachment grows deeper through the years.  Being that deeply connected is not weakness or codependency, it is marriage as it was meant to be.

Part of my practice is providing premarital counseling.  Couples are often hoping I will tell them they should get married and fearful that I will tell them that they shouldn’t.  You won’t get either one from me.  Many of the couples with serious issues that would make it difficult for them to sustain a marriage come to the realization during therapy that those problems will not go away as soon as they exchange rings and light a unity candle together.  Some choose to not get married and others decide they want to do the work to be in a healthier place.  More often, couples have some solid strengths in the relationship and we can work through the growth areas during premarital counseling.  Though they long to hear from me, “definitely, you two should get married; you are soulmates,” about the most they can get is “there are a lot of strengths in this relationship; you should be able to do well together.”  This is not a particularly romantic thought, but it is useful.

In Christian circles, there is a whole range of understanding about God’s involvement in finding your mate.  There are those who hold roughly to the idea that there is one person, fearfully and wonderfully made for you.  Your job then is to discern who that is when you meet him or her.  There is a certain romantic ideal behind this.  One challenge that these couples will run into is the buyer’s remorse that hits most newlywed couples at some point.  This is the “realization”[2] that you married the wrong person.

For any readers that are married, I can tell you that your mate is strange in ways you never could have imagined before you got married.  I know this because everybody is.  If you think someone is not weird, you just have never had to live with them.  It is one of the many advantages that affair partners have over spouses.  Of course the affair partner seems wonderful; you haven’t had to live with him or her.  But I digress.

Back to finding that soulmate.  My assertion is there is a good amount of latitude within God’s will for each of us individually.  Often when we are facing a decision, the answer to our prayer for direction is more likely to be wisdom than a direct answer of what to do.  We have free will and we have a lot of room to utilize it.  God can and will continue to work in our lives regardless of the decision we make.  He is, after all, the master of improv.

As unromantic as all of that sounds, I would actually assert that I am a romantic.  My heart is warmed by seeing couples who love each other on a deep level.  This is usually of the mutual giving genre and less of the “Some Enchanted Evening” variety.  Soulmates are fashioned moment by moment, day by day, year by year in the ways in which you provide comfort, care, and support to each other.  It’s a beautiful thing.

[1] Therapists love to see these moments.  We live for them.

[2] Note the quotation marks.

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