Why finding your soulmate shouldn’t be your end game
When my husband and I received pre-marital counseling, we were asked this question.
“Do you see the person you’re about to marry as your soulmate? “
My fiance (now husband), as logical as he is, responded with a resounded “no” that sent me into a frenzy, uneasy about walking down the isle to marry my apparently unromantic German realist.
Me being a hard core romantic, I wasn’t sure I could deal. Like, uh, what engaged couple doesn’t see one another as their soulmate?
But now looking back, I couldn’t agree with him more. After a long, hard discussion brought on by his seemingly insensitive response, I realized that, I also didn’t see him as my soulmate. Going even further, I could have chosen someone completely different to marry, and probably would have ended up fine. I’m glad I didn’t — just saying.
And while this may seem a bit bleak, we were NOT one another’s soulmate. Let me elaborate a bit.
What is a soulmate?
By popular belief, a soulmate is someone who is relationally perfect for you; someone you share everything with; who is ideally suited to one another as a close friend or romantic partner. Someone who completes some part of you that was missing.
Usually people referring to marrying their soulmate, or finding their soulmate, has to do with the fact that there is and was only one person in the world who is right for them — apart from this, no one else will do.
Popular culture also displays marriage as a happily ever after conclusion and resolution to your life. Well, it’s either that, or skip marriage all together because if it’s not that, it’s not worth it.
While the term “soulmate” is a very endearing thought, it couldn’t be more falsely personified — and here is my Biblical reference to back my thoughts on the matter.
There is none! Nowhere in the Bible does it reference a soulmate. Nada.
In the Bible we learn about unconditional love, forgiveness, perseverance — all necessary for having a lasting marriage. In popular culture, we learn that when we don’t get what we want, we move on to the next relationship that hopefully makes us happy.
When we place such expectation on our marriage, we are setting it up for failure. What happens when our spouse screws up? Lies? Hurts us?
Should we then get divorced because by our standards they are no longer considered our soulmate? It’s this kind of thinking that has left nearly half of all marriage ending in divorce — our spouse no longer making us happy, justifies us giving up.
If you’re a fan of old movies like I am, you might have seen the popular 70’s movie Love Story, that depicts a “soulmate” type couple who fall madly in love with one another, only to find out she is dying. They get in ONE fight that leaves the guy apologising to her, only for her to respond with the ever so beloved phrase, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
I don’t know about you, but apologies and having grace for one another in mistakes made is ESSENTIAL in having a healthy marriage.
Because we are fallible, love means HAVING to say you’re sorry. It’s human, and the most beautiful example of what Christ did for us — forgave us for our humanity.
So, whether you’re looking for your soulmate, or have found them already, understand this — perfection and happily ever after fairy tales of marriage most likely won’t exist for you. But that’s okay. Because what exists behind humility and grace for our very imperfect marriages, is a glimpse at something so profound that emulates Christ’s love for us — unconditional love.
There is reward and joy to be found in seeing your spouse as the one God and you chose to commit to and love for the rest of your life, in-spite of all the ways you will hurt one another.
Why you should stop looking for your soulmate and what is marriage if not a fairy tale?
The first historical record of marriage (that is if you believe the Bible to be a legitimate record of history) is that which is seen in Genesis 2. The response upon Adam seeing his newly formed wife Eve for the first time, was, “at last.” Not only was that response beautiful in and of itself, it emulates how God designed us to feel for one another upon first meeting and getting to know the one we will marry — at last I have found you.
But don’t mistake that for our current situation when it comes to looking for our one true love. After sin entered the world, this all changed, along with the fact that Adam was Eve’s only choice and visa versa. They were the only true soulmate couple of all time.
And while God did intend for marriage to be a perfect reflection of Christ and the church — two people becoming one, caring, unconditionally loving, committing to one another, understanding of each other, even with our gender differences — He also realized that things had to change after the fall. What does that mean?
Well, it means that we are still his beloved children, but our perfect relationship he desired us to have with one another, is flawed. It can no longer function as a perfect and unscathed happily ever after. Which is why finding your soulmate is never mentioned in the Bible —only direction in how you should act within your marriage now that sin is so prominent within it.
So who are you in relation to your marriage?
You are still responsible for your own actions, happiness and purpose. You are your own person — a perfect child of God. That has and will never change.
Your spouse is not there to fill a part of you that never existed or make you feel feelings of happiness at all times.
And while couple after couple are getting divorced because of their marital dreams shattered, psychologists, counselors and authors are doing all they can to help couples succeed in marriage, as well as figure out just what’s going wrong — why hardly anyone stays married these days.
Well, I can guarantee that any book or psychologist who tells you that you should do what you feel, only stay in a relationship that makes you happy, or find your soulmate and live happily ever after, doesn’t know what they are talking about. In fact, this misinformation is detrimental to your life.
That ideal might make sense for instant gratification, but it’s pretty oblivious to the fact that marriage, in and of itself, requires a lot more than good feelings and fulfilled expectations. It requires hard work, selflessness, humility, grace and meeting one another’s needs in more ways than one.
Check out What Men Need Most and What Women Need Most as well as these resources of knowing how to have a healthy relationship.
So if you should stop looking for your soulmate, who should you be looking for?
As God so lovingly puts it, our sole purpose in life is to love Him with all our heart, soul and mind. But how does this give us advice as to who to look for in a future spouse, if we aren’t suppose to look for someone who “complete’s” us; our soulmate?
Well, we obviously look for someone who is doing exactly that — loving and pursuing God.
As that is great and all, it doesn’t cover the practical side of things. But what if I told you that when we put the spiritual first, everything else will fall into place? What if I told you that as long as you are both pursuing God, you will be fine?
Would you believe me or be convinced? Probably not.
But there is so much more to it than that AND it’s Biblical.
As we can acknowledge from this article that we shouldn’t look for someone to complete us because there is something wrong with us otherwise, we need to figure out what we should be looking for in a spouse.
There are obvious elements that superficially attract us to one another — physical appearance, personality types, occupation, etc .But there is something that goes a bit deeper.
You as a child of God, are perfect and unique in and of yourself. You don’t need a man or woman to complete you. BUT there are beautiful attributes that separate our genders, leaving us naturally and instinctually in search for a “helpmate.”
What is a Helpmate?
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:18.
God realized that the man He just created was in need of a partner so he wouldn’t be alone. God didn’t look at Adam and say, “doesn’t look complete, I’m going to make someone who will make him better.”
Neither did he look at Adam and find him insufficiently capable of doing the tasks around the garden, or raising the kiddos.
No, he simply created a helper so that Adam would not be alone.
Both creatures were unique in and of themselves, yet different enough from one another, that their own uniqueness brought something to the table that fulfilled an area the other couldn’t, within a family setting, i.e., the woman giving birth, or the man being physically stronger.
This is the WHO you should be looking for.
Someone you’re not only physically and emotionally attracted to, but also someone you see as a helpmate — an imperfect person who pursues and loves God, and chooses to love and commit to your imperfect marriage.
Not someone who, if you were without, would leave you worthless and helpless with no desire to live.
This is a result of someone thinking they married their soulmate, ended up disappointed, got divorced, and feel worthless because of it.
Stop looking for your soulmate to complete you. Look for a helpmate to walk with you in this crazy hard life, and never give up on you.
Obviously, we can’t control the outcome to our marriages. But finding someone who sincerely loves Jesus, and understands the different roles within your marriage, is someone who can be the closest version of happily ever after you will ever find.