So which is it? Are we swirling around a buzzing hive of compatible numbers, or are we the stars of an epic romance? Well…
Our psyche is thrown off when we don’t achieve resolution. For this reason, there are a lot of questions floating around that we’ll argue about until we’re blue in the face because we’re so sure our own resolution is the proper conclusion to reach. So it is with the great soulmate debate. As is so often the case however, I believe that the truth actually exists somewhere in the gray murky realm in between in which no solid answers are easily attained. All I can do is present to you my own thoughts, and hopefully, part of it will resonate with you.
See, my problem with the compatibility group is that I believe that God takes a very real and active interest in our lives. I think that there are many times, situations, and moments that are orchestrated for our general benefit. I believe that God is narrating the circumstances around my life, and in his Grace, he allows me to choose how to approach and maneuver my way through those circumstances. With this understanding, I am the main character in my own (hopefully) epic story.
But where the soulmate group gets it wrong is that the movie they want to be in isn’t actually about them. The same way my life isn’t actually about me. I may be the main character, but the focus of my story (if I’m doing it right) is about my interactions with God, others, and the world around me. That is to say, my own happiness and resolution is not the point of my story. As such, I am not entitled to anything… including a soulmate.
Before we continue, I feel I should take a moment and try and express to you what I mean when I say “soulmate”. It’s a hard thing to define. For lack of the proper string of words presenting itself to me, allow me to try and provide a snapshot of what I mean.
Having a soulmate goes beyond having a significant other, or even a spouse. It’s both of those things sure, but it’s also more. It’s terribly rare. I’ve only seen a handful of couples that I believe might fall into the below description. Consistently though, I will hear them describe the same things:
From the beginning, their relationship began to take on a shape unlike anything they had ever experienced before. They communicate. Constantly. They keep thinking that someday they’ll assuredly run out of words, but every night they turn out the lights and lie next to each other and talk. Hopes and dreams, fears and worries. Some have reported they’ve never had a real fight. Seriously. The most they’ll cop to is a few serious disagreements, and they talk their way through those. When one of them is wrong, they say they’re sorry and they mean it. The other say’s that it’s alright, and they mean it. They want good things for each other, all the time. Despite years together, it seems one is still not comfortable with or willing to pass gas in front of his other. They respect each other and each others’ opinions immensely. Neither of them are comfortable making jokes about getting divorced. Neither of them ever feels like they have anything to complain about when a group of friends starts complaining about their opposite gendered partner.
Perhaps the most noticeable trait of all…they both find marriage is ridiculously easy. They have an amazing relationship and seemingly never have to work for it… Or maybe more accurately, it never feels like work. Even when bills are past due, the car has been repo’d, and life is collapsing around them… Their relationship is the one place that feels safe. So long as they have each other, absolutely everything else around them is completely irrelevant.
The common thread behind it all is that every day, all day, they do their best to love each other more than they love themselves.
When I say “soulmate”, that’s what I’m talking about.
I know, to some of you it may seems like I might as well tell you stories about glittering unicorns… But its real. I’ve witnessed it. And, I think perhaps in my better moments I have even gotten close to it. But, as I said, it is rare. I’ve seen a lot of great relationships. I’ve learned a lot from other couples who are far more learned than myself. And yet… This kind of simpatico synergy is something that I’ve only caught glimpse occasionally.
Why? Why would something that good be so difficult to find? Honestly, I’m not sure. I don’t know what sets one couple apart from others, although I have a few theories… One, is that it has absolutely nothing to do with the couple themselves. What if having a soulmate is a kind of… Spritual Gift? The same way some of us are gifted speakers or artists or accountants, perhaps God has given some of us to be gifted lovers? Maybe from the moment he envisioned us, he knew right off the bat that he would grant some of us the ability to love one another in a truly remarkable way? Perhaps just to give the rest of us something to shoot for?
My second theory, is just the opposite. Perhaps the soulmate status is completely about the people involved? Abraham Maslow put together a theory years ago about “self-actualization”. The idea is that in order for a person to reach their full potential, their hierarchy of needs must first be met. (Physiological, Safety, Belonging, Esteem… In that order.) What if there’s a similar paradigm for couples? In order for you to reach your full potential as a soulmate, you first must have some understanding of your relationship and its inner workings?
I guess I tend to lean more towards the first theory than the second. The soulmates I’ve spoken with are always quick to point out that they believe they’re just as messed up as the rest of us. They have their own issues and problems, their own baggage. When asked about their relationship and why it doesn’t curdle when the rest of life spoils, they simply shrug and say “It just works.”
No matter the reason, I believe that soulmates are real. Whether or not we’re privileged enough to be granted one is irrelevant. Essentially, the only difference between a pair of soulmates and a pair of “normies” is that the normal pair may just have to work a little harder to make their relationship exactly what they want it. Which, is something I think we should all be willing to do anyway.