I’m just going to admit it right now: I’m a sucker for fairy tales. I love the idea of that one guy and that one girl meeting while singing in a forest/fighting ogres/at a ball, then falling in love and living happily ever after. Something about that serendipitous dream makes my little heart go pitter-patter. But when it comes to real life, thinking there’s just one perfect soul mate per person can bring a lot of pain.
“Once upon a time…” can very quickly become “What in the world just happened?” if all you focus on is finding a soul mate. I’ve been there; I was so convinced that he was the one that I ignored every single red flag that whisked by me. Why put myself through such pain and misery? Because I had told myself he was The One, and of course God would never have brought him into my life if he wasn’t.
The way we approach romantic relationships—as a fairy tale, a work-in-progress, or even a mountain summit—changes how we act once we are in those relationships. When we think there is only one person in the world for us, we act accordingly. We either stick with a relationship that’s not worth it, we spend decades holding out for perfection, or we worsen conflict in an existing relationship.
My experience is a prime example of staying with a guy who wasn’t worth it, and I’ve known men and women who are so convinced perfection is out there that they won’t even give non-perfection a second glance. Believing in soul mates is a lovely, inspired idea, but what do you do when you and your soul mate start arguing? Are you allowed to fight with your soul mate, when they are supposed to be the one person on the planet who truly understands you? Expecting perfection via soul mate is an easy way to get frustrated.Believing in soul mates doesn’t have to mean that you will marry the first person you date. It doesn’t have to mean you and your significant other will never argue over money or in-laws or carpet colors. Knowing you’re part of a growing experience, not simply a divine move of fate, could make all the difference in the world.
The Biblical view of a soul mate is a little hazy because God never really comes out and says that he made everyone in pairs. He does say that we shouldn’t be alone (Genesis 2:18). There is also a lot about how to act once you’re married (such as 1 Peter 3:1-5) and how to act before you’re married (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5). The closest the Bible seems to get to talking about soul mates is saying that marriage combines two souls with the Holy Spirit: “Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his” (Malachi 2:15a).
If your soul mate is simply the one God connects you to for marriage, we have a lot of redefining to do. To get started, here’s a pair of things I like to keep in mind while soul mate searching:
Remember who your soul belongs to
God doesn’t mess around where it comes to marriage. The fact that his Spirit is a part of every godly marriage simply speaks to how much it means to him. Your soul mate isn’t just someone who thinks like you do; it’s the person God binds you to in spirit. Your significant other might feel like your better half, but that person does not complete you. God is the only one who can do that.
Keep moving forward
Whether you are single or married, know that God will help you through whatever comes your way. When the world tells you a soul mate will always bring you happiness, dive into the Word and get the truth: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow” (James 1:2-3). It might be hard to look forward when you experience tribulations, but remember that God is holding onto you for dear life. It only makes sense to hold onto him just as tightly.
If you know someone who believes in the idea of “soul mates,” will you encourage them by emailing them this post?
Photo credit: Peter Werkman