I've seen a couple of blog posts about how there's no such thing as a soul mate making the rounds on Facebook lately, and it really disturbs me.
It seems people are above the idea, as if rejecting the idea of soul mates is more spiritual.
I have to disagree.
Oh, there was a time in my life I would have been all over the idea that the idea of a soul mate was ridiculous. As a wide-eyed ministry student in college, obsessed with doing E V E R Y T H I N G R I G H T, I would have scoffed, too, at those less-spiritual ones who wanted to marry for passion or chemistry or, God forbid, ATTRACTION. I made my very mature list of requirements for a future spouse, which included...
Christian. And by 'Christian' I wanted someone who LOOKED very Christian on the outside; someone who went to church every Sunday and followed all the rules of good Christian dress code and pew selection and whatnot.
A Good Family. He must come from a family with NO divorces. That one guy I thought I'd marry in college? I marked him off the list because his parents had been divorced, because just NO. You must have someone with a stellar family track record of no divorces. At the time, not even any of my COUSINS had been divorced, so I deserved to be picky.
A College Degree. In my family, there are degrees in chemistry and double majors and Master's degrees and even my grandparents had college degrees. I can't even fathom being asked out by a non-degreed person in those days, because NO.
Height. I'm 5'10" and need to be able to wear heels when we're sitting together on a well-chosen pew in church.
And then I found myself an Old Maid at the horrifyingly old age of 25.
I know, it's shocking how old I was, and still unmarried. And the LAST of all my friends to get married. Warning bells sounded.
And a guy came along who had all the criteria on my checklist. Christian? Check. Education? Check. Taught Sunday School? Check. He had a really good job, even. Of course that was on my list.
And so, because I had my handy little list of 'musts,' I totally ignored the feeling in my gut, the still, small voice saying that this wasn't IT. This isn't ANYTHING like I've ever dreamed about, or anything close to what I pictured. I was NOT ATTRACTED to him, but I told myself that I was making the spiritually mature choice. And I ignored every one of my friends who said ".....Um.... are you SURE?..."
I told myself that they just weren't as in tune with what was RIGHT as I was.
Because Godly people KNOW that attraction is fleeting... the righteous thing is to marry someone who repulses you physically, because who's really attracted to their spouse after ten years, anyway?
And you can't trust chemistry. Chemistry is shallow. And by gosh, I was gonna do something mature and un-shallow to prove to EVERYONE...
I mean, if it wasn't meant to be, then WHY would God bring this person into my life who had everything on my VERY inspired list?
Of course, my gut feeling, which I've since come to believe is the Holy Spirit, told me something different, but I didn't trust that. Heavens, I was the ripe old age of 25, OK? And if I let this one slip away, WOULD I HAVE TO SPEND THANKSGIVINGS ALONE WITH MY CATS UNTIL I DIED?!! TIME WAS TICKING AND THEREFORE THE LORD WANTED ME TO HURRY!
It's a very real fear, when you're halfway through your twenties and all your friends are already married. But what you might not know at 25 is that men who appear Christian on Sunday might slip off to strip clubs when nobody from church is looking. And a college education doesn't mean intelligent conversation. And the family who LOOKS very together might have ZERO love in their hearts for each other or for anyone else, and those are the most torturous people in the world to have to spend the holidays with.
And all those things that appeared right in the beginning all turned out to be lies, and I found myself alone ... and then, I met a guy who made me laugh.
And I realized how much I had missed laughing. When there's no laughing, who cares which pew his parents sit on in church?
There was oh, so much laughing.
And so many things we had in common.... so many remarkable similarities about our childhoods... so many silly things and inside jokes and shared understandings and ridiculousness that would matter ZERO to anyone else, but it's THOSE things that form a soul connection with another person. A marriage without a soul connection is a very lonely and miserable place to be.
And then there's that whole 'gut feeling' that comes from a still, small voice. Never, ever ignore that. Oh, if ONLY I had not ignored that when I was 25....
So after many years of lessons learned by making bad choices, and the wisdom gained from maturity, I would definitely tell my daughters, contrary to what these other bloggers say, to hold out for their soul mate. Find the one that your soul loves. There's a reason that very phrase is in the Bible.
I don't care if my future son-in-law has a college degree.
I don't care if he comes from a whole family tree of failed marriages.
I do care that there's lots of laughing.
I do care that we all pray about it, and a still, small voice tells us all, "Yes. This is it. THIS is the one."
I care that he works hard, that he loves Jesus, and that he tells the truth... those intangible qualities that you can't put on paper.
Marriage is hard. Even under the best of circumstances, even when you're married to your soul mate. Even soul mates can act like total jackwagons and make you want to kill them dead. Seriously, funny is good, but nothing makes me homicidal faster than sarcasm at the wrong moment...
And when the hard times come, as they inevitably will, it won't be the fact that he does or doesn't have a college degree that makes you want to wake up and do this thing again in the morning.
A good marriage is not about a list you can write down on paper.
I could find ANY number of men who would score 100% on an arbitrary list of criteria. I canNOT find any other person on this earth who shares the connection that Michael and I have.
And most importantly, I canNOT find another guy that I know in my gut is the ONE. I prayed, and I know.
In my whole life, there has always ever been only one of those.
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