The word soulmate (sometimes written as soul mate) is used in different contexts but for the purpose of this article, it is used as it relates to the topic of marriage. The word is sometimes not used or even mentioned but there is this belief that everyone has one soulmate whom they are to be married to. Anyone who 'finds' this soulmate will have marital bliss for life and those who don't find their soulmate are doomed to lose out on marital bliss or at best, they will lose out on having a great marriage. What's the story behind this belief?
According to wikipedia, in ancient Greece, "Aristophanes presented a story about soulmates in The Symposium by Plato. It states that humans originally consisted of four arms, four legs, and a single head made of two faces, but Zeus feared their power and split them all in half, condemning them to spend their lives searching for the other half to complete them."
Okay. I realize the picture of humans with four arms and legs is quite dramatic but if you examine the story closely, isn't this what most of us do either sub-conciously or consciously? As soon as we are ready to find a marriage partner, we think there is this someone out there meant just for us. We think of that person as "the one". We hope and pray we find "the one" because if we don't…we shudder at what life might be like if we don't find "the one". Then we meet this amazing guy who just makes our heart skip a beat! He smiles at us and everything is still. We can almost hear the angels sing. Our heart jumps in excitement. He must be "the one"! We start a relationship with this person and somewhere down the road, things aren't working as they should. So what's the conclusion we reach? Maybe he really isn't the one. We must have made a mistake. And so, the search continues…
If this in anyway describes you, let me save you from this misery and tell you point-blank: there is no such thing as "the one"? So much heartache and confusion has been caused by this erroneous belief. Perhaps no one really told you the four arms and four legs story but chances are Hollywood planted this concept of soulmate in your mind so firmly. We watch movies where a couple seem to be doing just fine until the wife meets her "true love" or the husband meets his "soulmate". A happy marriage goes sour, someone feels trapped and looks for a way out so they can go be with their soulmate. This is pure, unadulterated nonsense!
By the way, what if your supposed soulmate is in New Zealand and you happen to live in Mogadishu? Or your assigned soulmate has decided to be a catholic priest somewhere? Does that mean you are doomed to a life less than fulfilling as far as marriage is concerned?
First of all, marriage is a commitment to love someone and share the rest of our lives with that person. Whether or not your heart skips a beat when a guy walks into a room is irrelevant here. It only shows that the person has qualities that you admire. If you can understand that, it will save you from a lot of confusion. When we come up with qualities we want in a spouse, chances are there would be more than one person in this world who fits that category (unless of course you want someone with two heads and three noses). Understanding this helps you put your feelings and attraction to someone of the opposite sex into perspective.
It's not about finding the guy who has your other set of missing arms and legs. It's about finding someone whom you can love and accept for who he is and he can do the same for you. It's about making a commitment to that relationship. Of course there will be moments when you'd find yourself attracted to someone else. This doesn't mean you are supposed to be with that other person, it just means they have qualities you admire.
This soulmate thing has destroyed marriages and shattered homes. Some people have abandoned their families because according to them, they found their soulmates. This is even more disturbing when it happens in Christian households. There is nothing in the Bible – as far as I know – that points towards the idea of a soulmate. It is nothing but a selfish mindset that makes us think another human being was created for the sole purpose of making us happy. Sorry to burst your bubble but no one is that indispensable.
I recently saw an article online teaching people how to find their soulmate. It states "The more people you meet, the more likely you are to meet your soulmate, so try and talk to as many people as possible. You never know if the next person you talk to could be your soulmate." Hmn, so we are supposed to meet and talk to people, not to know them or be of any value to them. We should just meet them and be interested long enough to figure out if they are a soulmate or not. That sounds like usury and selfishness to me. This kind of attitude and conduct robs you of developing meaningful relationships with members of the opposite sex. All we become conscious of is whether or not this person fits into our soulmate box.
My friend, people who have happy marriages and have been together for decades have attributed their success to faith, love, understanding, good communication, forgiving spirit, mutual respect and the like. I'm yet to meet someone who attributed it to finding their soulmate.
Quit waiting for a soulmate to pop out of the thin air. Live life. Make friends. Serve others. When the time comes to have a relationship with someone, nurture that relationship. If you find yourself attracted to someone else, thank God for making such an attractive person and move on. If you are single and searching, know that God loved you enough to create more than one person that you can marry in this world so don't live in the fear of 'missing it'.
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