I’ve read a few blogs lately refuting the idea of soul mates. Currently, they are coming from the Christian perspective that God doesn’t promise us marriage and THE ONE. God’s plan for us is to grow closer to Him and that may or may not include marriage. One particular post that was very popular went on to share the marriage advice her biblical scholar father gave her:
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. -From My husband is not my soul mate
I’ve also heard similar ideas among secular scholars, biologist, and feminists and had them myself in my college dorm room. When one is ready to marry and with someone else who is ready to marry, people get married choosing from a variety of compatible people.
While I would love to get onboard and I do believe that marriage takes the work of recommitting to the relationship often and I don’t believe God promises us what we narrowly envision for our lives, I can’t let go of the moments of Scott’s and my courtship that were unlike any other experience I’d had.
I was a serial monogamous dater from 15 years old until just before meeting my husband. I didn’t like being alone. I liked being liked. In fact, just before meeting Scott was one of the first times in my life I felt comfortable being on my own. I had no desire to date for the sake of dating anymore.
In fact, I just gotten off the phone discussing the spiritual side of finding THE ONE, and my phone rang again. It was 2002 and I thought: Maybe this is THE ONE for me. On the other end of the line was Scott, my future husband, but I had never talked to him on the phone nor given him my number. Earlier that day he had asked a friend if it was too weird to look up my number in the medical student directory and call me out of the blue. His friend said no and he took a deep breath and called. Our courtship was just like that.
There’s a line from a novel I picked up in London in a bookstore on a whim because I’d finished every book I brought on the trip.
We may go through our lives happy or unhappy, successful or unfulfilled, loved or unloved, without ever standing cold with the shock of recognition, without ever feeling the agony as the twisted iron in our soul unlocks itself and we slip at last into place. -From Damaged by Josephine Hart
And while I would never want the relationship this icy shock of recognition caused in the novel, I don’t live in books. I do, however, remember conversation after conversation when Scott would understand me in a way I didn’t believe possible. I felt seen. Parts of me others had mocked or ignored, he nodded or laughed at in a way that never felt condescending or rude. His laughter felt freeing. I could see the same happening for him, too.
I never felt that shift with anyone else. I knew all the giddiness of the beginnings of a relationship. The pitter-patters of maybe I’ll see him tonight and should I call him or wait until he calls me? Does he like me or like like me? Will we kiss? Do more? Do we hold hands in public yet? Do I sign my emails “Love, Alex” or “Like, Alex”? Do I love him? This wasn’t anything like that. These moments with Scott were jarring. Unnerving. They made me realize the best parts of a relationship are long after the beginning butterflies. When everyone else I dated faded into arguments and ugliness and clinginess and playing pretend, Scott and I became more. More real. More close. More us.
Do we have soul’s mates destined by God? I don’t know. I joke sometimes that God needs to send me neon signs because I’m so stubborn and stupid when it comes to what’s good for me. Maybe I just needed it to be very obvious that someone could marry me so I would get married. I certainly believe my marriage and children have made me grow closer to God. I needed someone on Earth who could peer past all my crap and call me out and pick me up and love me through it so I could believe just a little bit more. And I still crave being in Scott’s presence at the end of the day because no one sees me and hears me like he does.
However, Scott did that before we had any commitment to each other. Before we could choose to be THE ONE.
I can’t deny those moments of recognition that rocked me to my core so many years ago. I keep turning it over in my mind. Analyzing it. Praying on it. What does it mean? Maybe I don’t care if it’s destiny or God’s will or fate or souls or brain chemistry or luck. I just care that Scott is still here almost 11 years after that first calling me as THE ONE. And maybe I think everybody deserves to be seen and to see someone as they truly if they wish.