Soul Mate or Sole Mate?

Entwined hearts

By Eds 07 (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

I don’t believe in soul mates.

It’s a popular notion in western culture that there is someone out there perfectly designed for you — a soul mate. This belief is actually rooted in Greek mythology.

According to the myth, the world was once populated by beings who were both male and female. As they became faster and stronger, the gods feared that these humans would challenge them and take over the world. Zeus had a great idea. He severed the beings into male and female counterparts. By doing so, he limited their power, doubled the number of humans available to worship the gods, and introduced a new way of reproduction. In the wake of Zeus’s actions, the humans now search long and hard to find their natural mate, the one who is their specific counterpart, their “soul mate.”

Of course, we no longer belief that Zeus was involved, but the concept of soul mates remains. Author Richard Bach said, “A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks.” There is the ever-popular love scene from the movie Jerry Maguire in which Tom Cruise’s character appeals to Rene Zelwegger’s by saying, “I love you. You complete me.”

I admit to being attracted to the notion of my “other half,” especially when we Christians talk about two becoming one. One divided makes one-half, right? And having my hubby say something along the lines of “you complete me” or “you’re my soul mate” can weaken my knees a little.

But I don’t really believe it.

I’m not sure others do at their core. In fact, Tom Cruise has been married three times, Renee Zelwegger married and divorced once, and Richard Bach was married three times — divorcing his wife whom he had described as his “soul mate” after 22 years of marriage. Despite what these people said in books or movie parts, they haven’t experienced it themselves. I can find plenty of other examples of people claiming to have found a soul mate only to break up years later.

Instead, I believe in Sole Mates.

Of course, you want to choose someone with whom you have a special connection and a shared direction in life. But if you want a really great marriage and wonderful intimacy within that marriage, you’d do far better to adopt the biblical notion of sole mate.

Throughout the Bible, marriages come about in various ways. Fathers gifted their daughters as wives to worthy men, parents arranged marriages, kings selected wives, and men and women fell in love. The Bible’s one direction in this regard is to marry within our faith.

After that, the focus is entirely on how you treat one another in marriage. Presumably, however you get your spouse, if you are both committed to God and His commands and to one another, you can have a great marriage. It isn’t about finding your soul mate, but about committing to your sole mate.

Lori Lowe of Marriage Gems recently reported on a long-term study by UCLA psychologists looking at commitment in marriage. Fewer marital problems and reduced divorced rates were associated with the type of commitment that says:

“I’m committed to this relationship, but it’s not going very well — I need to have some resolve, make some sacrifices and take the steps I need to take to keep this relationship moving forward.” In other words, the partner is willing to take active steps to maintain the relationship, even if sacrifices are needed. He or she says, “I’m committed to making this relationship work.”

This shouldn’t be surprising, since this is the very kind of commitment described by agape love in the New Testament. It goes beyond friendship love (philia), familial love (storge), and romantic love (eros). Those are all significant forms of love. But agape is a selfless, sacrificial love, committed to the well-being of the other. It says, “I value you, my sole mate, and our relationship above myself. I will seek out our good each and every day for the rest of my life.”

Indeed, if you take that attitude, your souls will feel closer. You will have a spiritual connection, as well as an emotional and practical one. Taking this approach to the bedroom, you will experience an intense physical connection as well, as your bodies become “one flesh.”

However you snagged your honey — whether it was a beautiful romance and engagement worthy of its own film depiction or you got knocked up in high school and married the dad in a shotgun wedding — God can mold this into a marriage worthy of heavenly applause. Your Father is rooting for you. He isn’t concerned that you missed your perfect soul mate and instead landed your sole mate. Don’t mistake God for Zeus. The LORD knows that if you do things His way, you can find joy and intimacy in your relationship.

Embrace your sole mate. Make sure he knows that he has your attention, your commitment, your whole self. Start tonight.

11 thoughts on “Soul Mate or Sole Mate?

  1. Julie Sibert

    Hey Mrs. Hot Holy Humorous… I’m with you… I don’t believe in soul mates either.

    Your post is beautifully written and so real. I especially like this paragraph:

    “However you snagged your honey — whether it was a beautiful romance and engagement worthy of its own film depiction or you got knocked up in high school and married the dad in a shotgun wedding — God can mold this into a marriage worthy of heavenly applause. Your Father is rooting for you. He isn’t concerned that you missed your perfect soul mate and instead landed your sole mate. Don’t mistake God for Zeus. The LORD knows that if you do things His way, you can find joy and intimacy in your relationship.”

    Yes indeed… God is rooting for us and we shouldn’t mistake God for Zeus.

    Thanks again for another great post!!

  2. Stacy Makes Cents

    I LOVE this post! You are SPOT on…the divorce rate would drop drastically if more people embraced this mindset.
    Keep on keepin’ on…love your posts and your take on things. Thank you!

  3. Erica

    Great post, thanks! I know that I married who God wanted me to but we didn’t have a very romantic dating/courtship and no wedding at all, so sometimes I get more focused on that, instead of making our marriage now one that is “worthy of heavenly applause.” (Loved that phrase by the way!)

  4. Erin

    My mom told me that one of the reasons their marriage has been successful now for 36+ years is that they determined from the beginning that divorce was never an option, that they were in this life together and no matter what they would never even joke about divorce.

    I know that if someone is in an abusive or adulterous relationship that some of those rules have to change. But I think it is a really great rule to live by. Looking at your husband as a permanent part of your life no matter what is a really great way to make you seek creative ways to make your marriage work. Because if you’re going to be together always, it might as well be good, right?

  5. Do Not Disturb Blog

    Love this post. Very well written and I fully agree. Commitment, sacrifice, God’s help….those are the things that make marriages last. I recently had a conversation with someone who said they didn’t see what was so hard about marriage and I thought to myself, “You must not be doing it right!”. I am not saying that marriages are difficult all the time or that there are serious problems but I think anything worth fighting for is difficult. It is not human nature to put someone else first thus marriage is not easy. Thanks for sharing.

    Megan

  6. Damilola Afolabi

    I also believe there is no biblical basis for the soul mate concept. Knowledge of this will enable folks that feel stuck in certain relationships to break free and live their lives 100% until they find their ‘sole mate’.

    Love your post as always.

  7. Bushido Mama

    Love this post and couldn’t agree more! I spent the first year of our marriage doubting that I’d married the right person and thinking that I had made a big mistake. But it was a done deal, we’d made the vows, and divorce wasn’t an option. Now after 12 years (and five children!) together, we’re happier than I would have dreamed possible. It’s because we both have the mindset that our only options are 1) live together miserably or 2) live together happily.
    It’s worth every bit of the work we’ve put into it!

  8. Reid

    And let me add that Cameron Crowe, the writer and director of that scene from “Jerry Maguire,” got divorced from his wife of many years, Nancy Wilson, not that long ago.

    I agree with all this, yet I also believe this, which squares with the Bible a lot more neatly: “Soul mates isn’t what you ARE, it is what you BECOME over time.” I believe that is true for pretty much every successful marriage.

  9. van Rooinek

    If you ever find your one true soulmate — RUN! It was the worst heartbreak of my life. To be rejected by the one I was seemingly created for, whose mind echoed my own and vice versa, just about did me in.

    I eventually married someone else, she is my SPIRITmate not my soulmate. Our emotions and interests aren’t quite so in line, and we don’t finish each other’s thoughts (well…after 10 years we sort of do now) but we are in tune with each other’s faith and morals, to a much closer extent than the “soul mate”.

    A soul mate is just an emotional match. Meeting one can be emotionally powerful, just as meeting a good physical match can be a powerful visual memory. But neither one is your magical mystical destiny person. Learned that the hard way.

  10. Mrs. Right

    I never believed in “love at first sight” or “soul mates” until I met my husband. But I guess I just used the term “soul mate” because that’s the phrase that’s bandied about everywhere. This is a second marriage for both of us, after our spouses each went their own way in sexual sins (we didn’t know each other until after divorces).
    We do feel “complete” with each other, and it’s because of the full spirit, soul, and body connection we have to each other. We don’t take it for granted, though. We have been through many terrible tragic circumstances, yet our love (and our faith in our Creator and hope in eternity) has sustained us through it all. I truly feel incomplete when we are apart, and I know he feels the same.
    I will now refer to him as my sole mate 🙂
    BTW, I just discovered your blog a few days ago, and I’ve been reading my way backward through each and every post. I love them all! Blessings to you!

Comments are closed.