Is My Spouse My ‘Soul Mate’?
Is my spouse my ‘soul mate’? There have been multiple interesting articles and blogs recently on this subject floating around the cyberworld. I’ve enjoyed the perspectives. People seem quite passionate about this subject. Today, I’m going to share a bit of my story that culminates in some thoughts on this that may be helpful as you navigate your journey towards marriage. This is a longer post than usual, but decided it would be best as one post due to the subject matter. So, grab your favorite drink and hunker down for a read about my personal journey to the man of my dreams!
Let’s begin by looking at a few of the perspectives that are present regarding this topic. Those who married who they felt God said was ‘the one’ or their ‘soul mate’ and are happily married are passionate about singles waiting until God brings that person into their life and not interfering with God’s sovereign choice. Normally, but not always of the I Kissed Dating Goodbye bent. Those who married who they felt God said was ‘the one’ or their ‘soul mate’ and are divorced because of infidelity, terrible relationship skills or any other reason are either embittered at God or people, healed and happily remarried to someone they chose, unhappily remarried or somewhere in between. Unfortunately, I’ve known a few too many who fall under the former–divorced and embittered from a bad case of ‘the one’s’.
Those who have been widowed are either remarried or passionate about the person they lost being the only one for them and content to stay single. Those who married believing it was completely their free will are passionate about this road. Those who met in their friend group with group hangouts being their main way of connection until they knew that person was ‘the one’ are passionate that this is the road to take. This view can be unhelpful and somewhat condescending advice for grown adults. As though adults are not mature enough and can’t be trusted to go on a real date. Or maybe that’s just me! It also tends to work if you meet when you’re 12, still in high school youth group, sometimes in college or if you’re in a very large church. Many are either past this stage or these situations are inaccessible. Plus healthy dating with healthy boundaries includes growing a friendship with the intent for more.
Each of the above perspectives do have experiences to back them up.
So, is my spouse my ‘soul mate’? My husband and I have had multiple discussions about this subject. We both agree that we chose each other, but there were also so many amazing God confirmations and some pretty incredible supernatural moments in our relationship after we chose each other that put a momentum behind us that we can’t deny. Although, I shy away from this as a rule, we both received accurate prophetic words about each other before we met.
Is there a tension between God’s sovereignty and our choice? God lives outside of time; does that mean He knew who we were going to choose, so He put that person in our path? Do we have complete free will in the choice just like with choosing His Son? Is there ‘the one’? Do we have a ‘soul mate’?
Those who are unmarried desiring marriage can be faced by the question of ‘the one’ or ‘soul mate’ at the forefront in their road to marriage. That can certainly create a confusing road, one where you’re constantly looking for signs from God to enter. I would like to propose that possibly we’ve been focused on the wrong questions.
There seems to be no biblical facts that support this notion of ‘soul mate’ or ‘the one’. God doesn’t find it necessary to present this question as a deciding factor in marriage anywhere in the Bible. I’m not sure where we came up with this idea in the first place as it has appeared to complicate things beyond His original set up. He created Adam, said that it was not good for man to be alone, created Eve and then He ordained marriage (Genesis 1-2). Marriage was and is God’s idea. He tends to focus on guidelines for sex and marriage in the Bible and how to conduct yourselves as married couples, but no real guidance for the dating or courtship piece other than remaining pure.
Strict cultural rules governed the road to marriage during biblical times; you could either stay single, live a promiscuous life or have an arranged marriage. Interesting. It was not about dating, courting (as defined through books like I Kissed Dating Goodbye), or falling in love; you basically ended up with who your parents or guardians thought would be good for you. And many of these arranged marriages were decided based on how good it would be for the family bank account or the amount of sheep, cattle or goats that came into the new family’s possession from the woman’s dowry. How romantic! Once in a while a man could choose his wife, but it was not based on falling in love. Women were never allowed to choose their husband.
In the story of Jacob and Rachel, it was love at first sight for Jacob, but even he did not make it through the strict cultural rule for the eldest daughter to marry first that was enforced by Laban, Rachel and Leah’s father, through trickery. His incredible love for Rachel propelled him to work 14 long years for her, 7 of which were after he was tricked into marrying her older sister, Leah (Genesis 29). This also reinforces the culturally acceptable practice of polygamy. I sure am glad I’m alive today!
I would like to suggest that we have a culturally relevant God. He is on the cutting edge. I would also like to propose that possibly when Jesus conquered sin and death through His death and resurrection, made us new creations in Him, gave us the mind of Christ, put the Holy Spirit inside of us to guide and direct us that He empowered us with a choice for our spouse because He now lives in us and we are like Him. There is still room in this equation to pray and ask for guidance from Him, but He has entrusted us to an incredible degree. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57, 2 Corinthians 5:17, 1 Corinthians 2:16, 1 Corinthians 3:16, Colossians 1:27, Galatians 2:20)
I spent my twenties believing that God would bring me ‘the one’, that I would ‘just know’ and it would ‘just happen’. I read all the courtship books, used and embraced all the Christian slogans and kissed dating goodbye. I think the Christian slogan I heard the most and was also the most annoying was ‘When you lay down your desire for a spouse and stop looking, it will just happen.’ Definitely not my experience!
I usually courted the men whom I just fell into relationship with based on the above information. What I mean by this is that all I knew that I wanted was ‘the one’ that God had for me. When the signs from God that I thought were there for a man I liked seemed to line up, I would enter a relationship when the man pursued me. There were plenty of signs in the Old Testament, God used them to guide and direct His people regularly. The majority of signs that are present in the New Testament or New Covenant that we live in currently due to the Holy Spirit’s presence in us are the signs and wonders that follow the believers. I still meet many women (not as prevalent in men) who are looking for signs from God regarding a specific man in their life. This tends to happen before any commitment which can lead to months and even years of waiting for a man to pursue. This has a pattern of ending badly. Remember, Christ is in you. You have the mind of Christ, and He also trusts you. Could what we’re believing be holding us back from an amazing relationship? Could we be waiting for a command from God when what’s He’s wanting is a relational interaction and partnership?
Somewhere along the way, through some pretty interesting teaching, I began to mistrust myself to make a good decision about my future husband. Ultimately, I became disempowered in this process. I also received several prophetic words and had dreams about marrying men that ended up marrying other women. I had male friends who voiced to me that I was ‘the one’ that I didn’t reciprocate that feeling with. All awkward, confusing and sometimes painful situations for either or both sides of the party. After several failed and very painful courtship relationships with several men whom I thought were ‘the one’, I began to ask the question ‘How is this working for me?’ There were many long, painful and frustrating years in between waiting for my ‘soul mate’. These were the times that I would question God’s goodness.
After I began to ask some questions about how this was working for me, the Lord began to speak to me of partnership. He began to show me that the more invested I was in the choice for my husband, the greater I would value that man. My responsibility would be to choose Him and love Him daily. I wasn’t going to walk blindly into a lifelong relationship, but I was going to be an active participant in choosing a Godly man who I knew I would be choosing every day for the rest of my life. This was when I began to realize I was empowered and live in freedom in this area. Its also when I really began to realize that feeling dis-empowered was more the root of the pain of singleness than being single was. I believe people can truly thrive and be happy while single all at the same time as desiring marriage and moving forward. Things I wish I had learned earlier! I wasn’t just waiting around like a sitting duck for ‘the one’ to come to my front door and sweep me off my feet. This could potentially work out for you if you’re set on marrying a FedEx man!
Honestly, I couldn’t imagine being married to anyone else right now because my husband feels like my ‘soul mate’, ‘the one’, and my perfect fit, but I don’t necessarily believe that someone is ‘the one’ until you choose them and marry. Such an interesting tension, but one that neither my husband nor I ever focused on while we were dating nor do we now.
I observed during my single years up to this day that the most amazing marriages I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing are those who don’t focus on whether that person is ‘the one’ or their ‘soul mate’. The most incredible marriages are of people who have complete honor and respect for each other and express that through their words and actions. They are incredibly thankful for their spouse, have fun with each other and have high level beliefs about God and life. They believe in their spouse more than any other person. They are the ones who choose to love God wholeheartedly, have fully received His love for them and love their spouse from this place and choose them daily. So, this is the posture I take and the actions and beliefs that I hold dear to my heart for my marriage. Honestly, my husband and I joke that we’re still waiting for the first year of marriage to be hard. It has been the easiest and most fun time of our lives. I’m believing that for this generation of marriages!
I also had decided two years before I met my husband that I would lay aside the question of ‘the one’ and begin to ask some different questions about myself and my future husband. I also began to date. I had several mentors that walked through this season with me. I wanted to be and find someone who honored and respected myself and others to a high level. I focused on having high level beliefs about God, relationships, dating, marriage and life and looked for someone who did as well. I practiced thankfulness and began to receive love and love others to a greater degree. These were also traits I was looking for. Attraction and chemistry are also a large part of choosing a spouse, but I think that we may be too rigid in the timing and intensity that these need to be. God’s Spirit is inside of me, so I knew I would know who to choose at the right time.
So, is your spouse your ‘soul mate’? I’m not sure, but I’m not advising anyone to spend time on something that God didn’t take time to even minor on let alone major on. I would like to propose that some of us may be asking the wrong questions as we move towards a marriage relationship and carrying unhelpful beliefs from past teaching, experience or one-sided advice that may be unhelpful. God does not live in some kind of box that we create, and the way that He will hook up each of His children is unique and beautiful; whether its through a friend, online dating, meeting at a church, event or through any other avenue of connection. Some may still hear God telling them they should marry a certain person. About 5% out of 100% of stories that I hear of how people married include this. He is partnering with you to write your own personal love story. It will be incredible and fit you completely; He knows you better than anyone else.
For some of you, God has or will ask you to partner with Him and date. Some of you will feel you are to wait. Your relationship with your Father is intimate and He will guide and direct you. Whatever you choose, know that you are empowered in your own love story. You are partnered with God as the leading lady or man of your own life!
Wendee Mannon, CEO OnDaySix, Wendee’s Bio
*Image is of myself and my husband Shane, on our wedding day. Credit to Heather Armstrong Photography.