So, I can tell you confidently, my husband is not my soulmate.
He’s not, and that’s good news for me and for all of us.
The idea of soulmates has been co-opted by our culture from the ancient Greeks. On the more mystical end, people believe that we’re created as a half a soul that’s looking for the other to complete it, but more usually it’s come to be an idea in our culture that there is ‘The One’ person you’re supposed to marry.
But, here’s the thing; that’s 100% baloney.
Why that’s good news:
1. Is he really “The One”? One of the major anxieties I hear from people contemplating marriage is that they’re wondering if who they’re with is ‘the one’. Searching for a soul mate means always wondering whether or not there’s someone out there that you should’ve waited for or who’s looking for you instead of making the relationship you’re in the best that in can possibly be.
2. There’s no one out there that completes you but God. I don’t have to wait until marriage to be a complete person, and, if God forbid, something were to happen to either of us and one of our lives was to end unexpectedly, it also means that our purpose and identity don’t end with the other person either. This is addressed to my single friends out there too- you are not an incomplete person.
3. Conflict is not a deal breaker. Letting go of the soulmate idea means that when hardship and conflict come, you don’t find yourself questioning everything. When I feel like my husband and I have nothing in common or are running a three legged race and losing, knowing that my husband is not my soulmate gives me the assurance that it doesn’t mean we made the wrong choice. It doesn’t matter that things are hard or annoying or inconvenient sometimes. We’ve chosen each other, and we need to learn to serve each other better.
4. People and emotions change. Give emotions and feelings freedom to change without assuming that something is wrong with your marriage. One a lot of times you hear people qualify their soulmate criteria by saying something about the way the other person makes them feel; sparks flying, butterflies in stomach. All of that is nice, but what happens after the thrill dies down? Instead of defining your marriage by the way you felt when you first fell in love, you can accept the natural ebb and flow of connection, attraction, sweetness in a relationship.
So, if you can’t trust your feelings to tell you who you should marry, here are some practical things to consider :
CHEMISTRY : The first one is obvious. Do you have chemistry? Good. This is the one our culture tends to put a premium on, so I’m sure you have chemistry.
FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS : Do they have a good relationship with their family? The way someone interacts with their siblings and parents can tell you a lot about them.
FAMILY COMPATIBILITY : Do you get along with his family? Once you’re married, these people are your family for life. And, the people your spouse comes from can tell you a lot about who they are and who they will be.
FUTURE PLANS : When you talk about the future, are you headed in the same direction? Kids, careers, etc?
SHARED VALUES : Do you have the same values in life? Do you share the same faith? Speaking personally, my husband and I, our life together and as individuals is driven by our faith. It affects how we spend our time, money and resources, and it’s plotted us on a course toward the same end.
CHARACTER QUALITY : This one is so important. Do they have good traits for partnership? Are they motivated and ambitious? Short tempered? Obnoxious? Honest? Lazy? Marriage is so much more than a decades long romance.
CONFLICT RESOLUTION : Are you able to be honest with each other and resolve conflict in a healthy way?
A SECOND OPINION : Do the people you love you the most in life, and who you trust most in life, think this is a good match? Parents, friends and loved ones can see blind spots for us sometimes. Often we’re too close to the situation to evaluate it honestly. If you’re thinking about marriage, talk to your loved ones, get their thoughts and be prepared for whatever they have to offer.
WILLING TO SERVE : Are you committed to serving one another? I know not all of you share my beliefs, but one of the most beautiful things about a Christian marriage is when the two people in it are striving daily to love like Jesus, to serve like Jesus. That’s what makes marriage really sweet.