Alex and Scott Engagement Photo

Did I Marry My Soul Mate?

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.

Alex and Scott Engagement Photo
Scott and I in 2003. We’d been together for six month and had just gotten engaged.

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.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents an 2 elementary age children, 4 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

22 thoughts on “Did I Marry My Soul Mate?

  1. I love that picture of you two.

    Matthieu prayed as he was washing the dishes, “God, not only do I not know what I need, I don’t even know what I want. I pray that you find a wife for me.”

    Two hours later, my roommate Neyra, “You should really give my roommate Jennie a call. You would get along great.”

    Matthieu: “Could this be the answer to my prayer so soon? Naaaa.”
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    1. I love that story. It was a bit jarring to hear the voice on the other end be a male I didn’t recognize. I imagine Matthieu felt the same way since I did the same thing he did and told myself Scott and I were just friends (until we hung out for more than an hour together).

  2. I love this post. It is very similar to when I met my husband. I don’t know if GOd puts people in our lives at the right time or if it was just pure dumb luck but I like to think it was fate. MY husband has called me his soulmate ( his words not mine) about 2 months into dating. In fact, he proposed after only 4 months of dating. But consider this, I wasn’t suppose to be at Purdue. I was supposed to be in Boston. I wasn’t suppose to be graduating in 98, I was suppose to be graduating in 96. I wasn’t supposed to be single. I literally broke up with my long term boyfriend of 3 years 2 days before meeting my husband. The only reason I met him is because I met a girl ( that he grew up with ) in my LSAT class. She introduced us after a month of trying to invite me out with her. Neither he or I were intending to fall for someone but there he was, seeing me. The real me and it wasn’t about what I looked like or what I did or who I knew or how popular I was or what I was going to school for, it was two people who heard and saw one another; through all the other shit. When we met, I was suffering from severe eating disorders for going on my 8th year. He quite literally saved my life with his unconditional crazy impetuous love. Him seeing the real me gave me the strength to stop hiding behind what other people expected of me. He is my soul mate. God did that. God had to intervene for all of this to happen.
    Seriously LOVe this post, Alex. XO

  3. What a very sweet post. I love that he called you out of the blue like that, and you definitely make a great point. I can’t make myself believe that there’s ONE person out there for me, though. I love my husband, desperately, but are there others out there I could be compatible with? Sure. But not many. It’s not a _common_ thing to find someone who gets you so well and makes you so happy, and I don’t think finding a great love is supposed to be easy. But to me, the act of loving and marriage is the act of saying, “I love you so much, I don’t want to look anymore.” That always seemed so much more romantic than saying “I’m with you because I must be with you!” Instead, I see at it as, we both searched and, in the end, chose one another.
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    1. Sometimes I wonder if love and marriage is just different for different people. Maybe because I never thought I would get married, I don’t see myself as having other people I would be compatible with? Or WILLING to be compatible with? Hmm….
      Love is interesting and complex with faith and biology and psychology (personal histories) playing their parts. Although I guess great love stories have a universal attraction so maybe we aren’t too different. I DON’T KNOW {throwing hands into air} but I’m glad you and I are both happy in our loves.

  4. Having met you both before you were married and watching the two of you during courtship during medical school and residencies, I would have to want to believe you are soul mates. You both light up talking about each other and have from the beginning. You are lucky to have each other! Wishing you many more years of happiness! Love the picture of you both in this post. . What a wonderful moment captured!!

  5. OK, that is the sweetest story and photo – you are glowing with happiness! I’m one of those people who doesn’t believe in soulmates or “the one”, but this post really makes me think.

    1. I don’t have the answer. Just my experience.
      Maybe what we each need in and from love and a mate is different. I needed to be floored because I wasn’t much for marriage? Or maybe we all have a soul mate if we just waiting to let our souls be unlocked and did the hard work to keep that relationship in place?

  6. That is a fabulous shot of the two of you.

    I love this post. I am fairly sure I don’t believe in one-person-as-a-soulmate, but I absolutely believe that there are moments with certain people that change the trajectory of our lives in major ways, and I think it’s the free will part of us that can choose to act or not act on those intersections.

    1. I sometimes think of those moments — windows of opportunity — when I saw the truth or the reality of how I was living and I could chose to change (usually with God’s help) or the window would close/lights go out and I would keep on my merry way of misery. I’ve never thought of them in terms of more positive things like finding and dating Scott. I need to think on that.

  7. This is gorgeous.

    I don’t think I married my soul mate, and I can justify it with articles like the blog you quoted or saying that perhaps soul mates don’t exist or even referring to lines from FRIENDS when Monica tells Chandler that she doesn’t believe in soul mates after she meets that cheese man. (You must have watched, this, yes?)

    But then I hear stories about people who believe….KNOW they are with their soul mate.

    And I wonder……

    I think you and Scott have a beautiful relationship and you are both incredibly lucky.

    Because the thing it, if there are soul mates, I’m not sure everyone gets to find theirs.
    And it doesn’t mean you’re unhappy or un-content or in a bad place.
    It just means that perhaps you don’t know the definition of the word soul mates in the same way someone who believes they have found theirs does.
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    1. In the book I quoted, the idea you mentioned that people can live perfectly happy lives and not ever have that shock of recognition is a part of it and even the idea that finding your soul mate can be in some ways awful.
      While the novel takes that second part to an extreme, I wonder if soul mates are necessary to everyone. Or even better. Is it easier? Or harder? More intense? One shot to make it work?
      I also think love is different for different people. Maybe I needed to feel like Scott was my soul mate in order to be willing to get married at all whereas someone who liked the idea of marriage only needed to love someone and feel compatible.
      I don’t know but I’m looking up that Friends episode.

  8. That picture of you two is perfection.

    I don’t believe in soul mates. I can’t explain why. I should. Cort and I certainly SEEM like soul mates if there ever was such a thing. We were always in each other’s life. Always. Until we realized those lives needed to be one. He is the one who KNOWS me. In the way you describe between you and Scott. He is my home. HE is my home. Not this house, but him.

    Yet. I don’t know. What is something happened to either of us. Does that mean there isn’t (or couldn’t) be someone else? And does that mean you can have more than one soul mate? And does that soul mate have to be a lover…someone you marry?

    There are a handful of people in this world my soul NEEDS. But mate? I just don’t know.
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  9. Alex, love the picture. You can see the happiness just bursting out of you!

    I don’t, in any way, shape, or form, believe in soulmates. I am a man of logic and science. You say, “soulmates” and I say, “does not compute.”

    However, that’s not to say the process is entirely random. Oh no; far from it.

    Do you remember a few years ago, this bullshit thing called The Secret? The idea behind it was it’s a secret because the smartest and wealthiest people in history were in on the secret and so “The Man” or whoever runs the world, doesn’t want you to succeed. They want all the power and so they keep it a secret.

    Well, “the secret” is basically if you want something, say it out loud, write it down, tear a picture out of a magazine, and the universe will give this to you. Apparently like attracts like. You know, the opposite of magnetism.

    So okay, total bullshit. Because I’m sure plenty of people die from cancer that are positive thinkers and who fight their bodies ’til the end. But it’s not ~entirely~ bullshit. Ok, so maybe “the secret” and the idea that somebody is keeping it from you, is complete bullshit, but I do think there’s something hidden in there.

    If you are a good person. If you are a good listener, always supportive, work hard, and treat people right, you will find someone that is your “soulmate”. If you’re an asshole, you manipulate people, and always put yourself first, you won’t find that. Because the kind of person who “gets” you, doesn’t want to be with an asshole.

    I truly believe that the kind of person someone wants will only be with someone like them. Which, to me, means the universe will always have something for you when you need it. The rest of people? They’re the ones that settle for what they can get. They love the partner, but aren’t in love with the partner and somewhere down the line, they get divorced. Of course, they don’t think it was their fault the marriage went to shit, so they don’t change any behaviors and repeat the whole thing with the next person.

    I’m relatively laid-back and am willing to compromise on most things. I’d argue significantly more people would chose me over someone who was a little tightly wound but was stubborn and lived life “my way or the highway.”

    I know that was a lot, I’m sorry. But the TL;DR is, if you have an amazing spouse or friend, it’s because you’re amazing. Not because the universe decided you were soulmates and pushed you together.
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