Finding Your Soul-Mate?
Wayne and I attended a Grace Marriage workshop that our church has just implemented to help marriages grow. The emphasis is that we practice looking at our spouses with grace instead of having a performance mindset. A performance-based marriage works like this: “Well, if he does x then I will respond by doing y. But if he doesn’t act like what I want, I won’t play nice.” A grace-based marriage looks for ways to show grace to the other and help that person through any struggles.
When you commit to marry someone, you are not just getting a romantic life partner or a parent for your kids or a companion. You are committing to being Jesus to that person for life and helping that person become like Jesus, too. It’s a high calling, so Jesus and Paul said not everyone should do it. (Matt. 19:11 and I Cor. 7:7 + whole chapter.)
But if you do commit to do it, you should recognize that many spouses are not the “soul-mate” our romanticized culture promises. I’ve done some reading on arranged marriages in other cultures, and it upends many of our Western beliefs. Spouses in arranged marriages say they grew to love their spouse over time. And it’s a real and deep love – it’s just not based on initial infatuation. Most tellingly, the divorce rate in arranged marriages is far lower than our romance-based marriages.
So “soul-mates” are largely a romantic creation. After the infatuation ends and reality sets in, along with disappointment, the tendency in our culture is to feel like maybe we married the wrong person. We missed our soul-mate. That’s a lie. I think a spouse can become a soul-mate over time, but you can have a good marriage without feeling like you found your soul-mate.
And after you’re married, you will likely find someone else down the line you are very attracted to and think you could have married. This happens in good and bad marriages. It’s just biology + psychology: a physical attraction coupled with a disappointment or a perceived need. Don’t ever think to yourself, “Oh, I shouldn’t have married my spouse! This is my soul mate here! I should have waited!”
That’s straight from Satan’s playbook. He wrote that out for you before you even got married. Rip that page out and throw it in the fire. You didn’t make a mistake. You are just attracted to someone else for a short time. It will fade. If you leave your spouse for this new “soul mate,” you’ll have the same thing happen in a few years. You’ll find a new person you are so attracted to and think you’ve made another mistake. Or your spouse will. Satan perpetuates the lie.
So, once you’ve chosen who you will marry, don’t ever second-guess. Make it permanent and see how God wants to use that marriage to make you like Him.