We’ve all heard the term “soul mates,” which is supposed to refer to two people who are so united in their love for each other it’s as if they were “born” for each other because the heart of their souls seem to beat as one. They are “mates” which are destined to be together.
That would be great if it were true. But to be quite truthful, the terminology has more of a fairy tale sound to it than a realistic one. It’s not that married couples can’t be extremely close, because they can be. Steve and I are a great example of that. I can’t imagine feeling closer to ANY human being than I do to Steve. But it isn’t because we were “born” that way. We WORK at making our marriage a great one. Being “soul mates” is something you MAKE happen more than something that JUST happens!
We love what Anne Bercht, from Beyondaffairs.com said on this subject. We totally agree with what she wrote:
“Our culture perpetuates the ‘soul mate’ myth, the belief that there exists out in the universe an ideal person that matches us perfectly. And once we meet this magical person we will at last have lasting relationship bliss. Not surprisingly, happily married couples, even those who’ve been married 50 plus years, never credit their relationship happiness to being one of the ‘lucky’ ones who found their soul mate.
“Believing a happy relationship is about finding the right person is like believing successful athletes were just born that way. Of course natural talent is helpful. But it seems that commitment, dedication, tenacity, training, being coached, practice, hard work, determination to succeed and never giving up have a lot more to do with it. [Golfer] Tiger Woods would likely be insulted if you told him his success was due to luck.
“Most people get training for everything they do in life, except for the one thing that can do more for their happiness, health, financial well-being and career success than anything else, and that’s having a strong and healthy marriage. We somehow think we should JUST KNOW how to be married. Yet it should almost seem obvious by divorce rates that something is lacking. How odd that we believe it is bad luck, as if we had no control over our own destinies.
“Because I am happily married today, many people tell me I was just lucky. Considering the hard work, education and commitment I’ve put into my marriage, I find these comments by well-meaning people to be naïve. One of the keys to a successful marriage/relationship is education, learning the skills.”
We couldn’t agree more!
Anything that is worthwhile doesn’t come without paying a price in some way. And a good marriage is one of those things that come because each marital partner has sacrificed over and over again to make it so.
It’s like a beautiful garden; you can plant it and admire it for a short while, but eventually it will take a lot of work to KEEP it beautiful. And that’s especially true when human beings are involved in anything. We’re MUCH more complicated than gardens and it will take a lot of work to keep our marital relationship one that is beautiful. It’s like what Bill Hybels said in his book, Fit to Be Tied:
“Marriage can be wonderful. It can be deeply satisfying and mutually fulfilling. But if it becomes that, it is because both partners have paid a very high price over many years to make it that way. They will have died to selfishness a thousand times. They will have had countless difficult conversations. These spouses will have endured sleepless nights and strained days. They will have prayed hundreds of prayers for wisdom and patience and courage and understanding. They will have said, ‘I’m sorry’ too many times to remember. Plus, they will have been stretched to the breaking point often enough to have learned that, unless Christ is at the center of both their lives, the odds for achieving marital satisfaction are very, very low.”
Our hope is that you won’t buy into the lie, “Love should just come easy. If it’s too difficult to make our love work then we should just give it up and move on to find our REAL soul mate.”
God’s Picture of Marriage
That’s not the way that God intended marriage to be. God created marriage to be a visible picture of Christ’s love for the church. The love we commit ourselves to hold for each other when we enter into marriage is to be “agape” love. It’s just like the love Christ has for us. He loved us so much that He subjected Himself to death on a cross to die for our sins.
And as we take hold of the love gift Christ gave to us, we can live in the resurrected victory that Christ provided. We are forgiven for our sins and we have the opportunity to live a new life in Christ.
Agape love is Godly love. It never quits and is unconditional. It’s a type of sacrificial love, which loves BEYOND that which seems to be unlovable. This is a covenant-holding type of love. That’s the kind of love that REAL “soul mates” hold for each other. It’s the kind of love God expects us to live out in our marriages —a Christ-like love.
For a humorous, yet helpful look at this matter, we recommend you watch the following You Tube video with Pastor/speaker, Mark Gungor. He addresses some false notions we sometimes pick up that we might want to re-think. Please watch:
Some Soul Mates Don’t Interact as Covenant Partners
Unfortunately, some of you are married to someone who has broken covenant with you. And some of you are married to someone who is volatile and violent. For this reason, you need to find a way to protect yourself (and your children). You may have found it necessary to live apart from your spouse. We pray that even in these circumstances you’ll fight the tendency to be bitter and unforgiving and hateful. We have a lot of articles in the Bitterness and Forgiveness topic that we can help you work through these situations.
For those of you who are in “rusty marriage” situations, or in one where “you have lost your first love” for your spouse, or one where you just need to learn some things to help you to better live with each other, we have a lot of helpful articles on our web site, which we hope you can visit.
In closing, we want to challenge you with this additional thought from Bill Hybels:
“Some couples get stuck for so long they forget what a good marriage is like. They begin to settle for a mediocre marriage, or even for a miserable one. They need somebody to refresh their minds and teach them how to get back to a healthy, positive loving way of relating.”
Keep in mind what it says in Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” That includes working at your marriage relationship!
Cindy and Steve Wright
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