Every once in a while, in between baby daddy disses and inspirational quotes, I find something interesting on my Facebook timeline. That’s what happened over the weekend, when one of my Facebook friends posted this article titled “My husband is not my soul mate,” written by a blogger who goes by her first name only: Hannah. I literally felt my eyebrows shoot up in intrigue. Did she not love her husband? Did she settle in her marriage? What is she talking about?!
I had to read it. And though, I would consider myself a romantic type, at the end of her piece, I could see her point, even if I didn’t necessarily agree with everything she said. This is how the piece went. Before she got into describing why her husband wasn’t her soul mate, she wanted to make it clear that she does love him.
“I wouldn’t want to imagine life without James. I enjoy being with him more than anyone else in this world. I love him more than I ever thought you could love someone, and I miss him whenever I am not with him.”
So why exactly is this man not her soul mate? Her rationale was actually quite simple. Contrary to what she believed as a stary-eyed teenager, Hannah says God never promised to bring us “the one.”
“…my theologian biblical scholar father shattered my dreams by informing me that God doesn’t have a husband for me, doesn’t have a plan for who I marry. Nope, he said, a husband is not only not a biblical promise, it is also not a specific element of God’s “plan for my life.” God’s plan is for us to be made more holy, more like Christ… not marry a certain person. And then he gave me some of the best relationship advice I ever got: There is no biblical basis to indicate that God has one soul mate for you to find and marry. You could have a great marriage with any number of compatible people. There is no ONE PERSON for you. But once you marry someone, that person becomes your one person.”
Whoa. I’m not going to lie, my mind was a little blown trying to grasp this one. It really did go against everything I’d heard growing up. How many times have we heard women say they’re waiting on the man God has for them? How many times have we been told to pray for the type of man we want? Just recently, in her interview with Oprah, soul singer India Arie said if there were one question she could ask God himself, she said it would be “where is my soul mate?” (One of my coworkers was so disgusted that she would waste such an opportunity with a selfish question.) The soul-mate pathology is so real. But Hannah argues that God never promised us that. Instead, she says that God is seeking to make us more holy, not trying to hook us up.
I can agree with that. In the grand scheme of things, I’m sure God’s priority is that we become more like him. But on the other hand, I believe God knows us and knows that some of us– a lot of us really– yearn to share our lives with someone. God knows we need people to support us, in various capacities. So it’s not hard for me to imagine that God puts people in our lives at certain times for certain reasons, including spouses. But ultimately there’s free will. We get to choose who stays and who goes and at what time.
But it’s interesting to think that God doesn’t ordain these things himself. If we think about God being omniscient, doesn’t he know who we’ll ultimately end up with? He knows who we’ll meet and whether or not we’ll choose to be with that person, right? Maybe he didn’t necessarily plan it but I’m sure he’s not surprised by the decisions we ultimately make in our lives. And I’m not convinced that you can’t pray to God and ask for the type of person you want and he won’t reveal that person to you. It happens all the time.
But I do agree with her about the one soulmate thing. I’m one of those people that believes we have several soul mates throughout our lives. A lot of us can learn to love almost anyone. (Remember how your grandparents grew to love each other?) Having one predestined, predetermined soulmate always sounded too fairy tale to me.
Hannah explains that loving someone is an active choice, not some type of mystical force that takes you over.
“My marriage is not based on a set of choices over which I had no control. It is based on a daily choice to love this man, this husband that I chose out of many people that I could have chosen to love (in theory, don’t imagine that many others were lined up and knocking at the door). He is not some illusive soul mate, not some divine fulfullment, not some perfect step on the rigorously laid out but of so secret “Plan for My Life.”
At the end of the piece my mind had been truly stretched. There were so many lingering questions. Does God have our life partner planned for us? Do we all have a single soulmate? How much is up to us and how much of it is God’s plan? Points to ponder. Feel free to weigh in below and if you can read Hannah’s piece in its entirety, here.