Tag Archives: Lori Lowe

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.

Do Your Friends Support Your Sex Life?

I have an uncanny ability to find myself in conversations about sexuality with girlfriends. I’m not always the one to introduce the topic, but I am comfortable discussing it. God blessed marriages with physical intimacy, and I want to encourage couples to fully enjoy this gift and make it an integral part of their relationship.

However, many Christian women speak out against sex rather than for it. Sometimes it’s a comment made with presumed jest: “I told my husband he couldn’t touch my girly stuff until after he touched up the paint job.” Or a complaint: “I can’t walk through the room in a nightgown without him attacking me.” A statement of indifference: “I don’t care for sex, but we have it a couple of times a month.” Or even a negative declaration: “I hate sex, and I would be happy if we never had it again.”

To be honest, most of my friends think I’m as rare as an albino alligator — a Christian wife who loves sex. Good gracious! I should be put on display and tour the country. In fact, I recall a specific conversation with close girlfriends that turned to the topic of marital intimacy. I put in my two cents and was dismissed by another lady who joked, “We can’t ask you; you like sex.”

Standing up for rockin’ sex in marriage can be a lonely endeavor. At times, it has felt futile. No matter what I say, some gals seem determined to treat sex like an obligation or a bartering tool in marriage.

Speaking of “futile,” sometimes I wish I could set myself up as the Borg Queen of Marital Intimacy. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. We could just suck in the naysayers one by one and make them realize how terrific physical intimacy can be in a marriage when it’s working as God intended. But alas, I don’t think I could pull off the hairdo.

Queen of the Borg from Star Trek

Queen of the Borg
Star Trek

Thank goodness that I do have beautiful women of God in my life who, like me, are on God’s plan for sexuality in their marriage. For instance, my best friend lets me bounce blog post ideas off her and has offered some terrific wisdom. She and her husband have their own story of challenges, but she has pursued healthy sexuality in her marriage as part of God’s blessing from Day One and reaped the benefits. There are fellow female bloggers who speak well of sex in marriage (Kate Aldrich, Lori Byerly, Sheila Gregoire, and Gina Parris among them). In particular, I thank God for my growing friendship with Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage, a woman whom I respect and who can put me in stitches with her brand of humor.

I think every Christian woman needs others in her life willing to speak out in favor of marital intimacy. Too often, we can find ourselves in conversations with people who intentionally or unwittingly diminish the importance of great sex with our husbands. It is not biblical to refuse your spouse. It is not biblical to make your husband drag you to the bedroom (symbolically, of course). It is not biblical to participate in intercourse like it’s your child’s first band concert (You’re only there for them, and you hope it’s over quickly). It is not biblical to discourage your friends from having what God designed for them — a healthy sex life with their mate.

Instead, I want to hang out with some gals who find sex in marriage to be hot, holy, and humorous — like I do. It is indeed all of those things. I am blessed to have girlfriends who encourage me to make it hotter, holier, and humorouser. Oh wait, not that last one. I do that on my own.

Do you have friends like that? Do your friends encourage you to have the right attitude? Do they give you tips when you need them? Have they suggested you seek help or get answers when there are problems? Do your friends support your sex life? And are you that kind of friend?

By the way, Sheila Gregoire of To Love, Honor and Vacuum did a recent post about the oddity of finding herself being a “sexpert” after she wrote and talked about intimacy. Great read: How Do I Get Myself into These Things.

Honors & Hi-Fives

Honors

I feel a bit like this:

Miss America crowning photo

I’m not pageant pretty, but I was definitely honored at the end of 2011/beginning of 2012 with some kudos from fellow marriage bloggers. It feels a bit like getting a tiara! (I don’t have a tiara. Even though my sister once asked, “Doesn’t every girl have a tiara?” I do have a banner from my high school prom, but that’s another story altogether.)

Anyway, before I lose focus completely, let me say “Thank you so much!” to:

Grow Your Marriage Award 2011Lori at The Generous Wife who awarded me a Grow Your Marriage Award. She identified “a few blogs that continually stand out to me because of their quality and because of the heart of those who write them.” Seriously, that is tiara stuff, people. I placed in the “Bravery” category (although my husband might label it “Frankness”). This category also includes wonderful fellow bloggers Sheila Gregoire of To Love, Honor and Vacuum, and Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage with Lori saying, “these gals regularly (and with great insight) blog about female sexuality. It’s a tough subject fraught with all kinds of issues and general embarrassment. You go, girls.” Thank you, Lori.

AND TO

Sheila Gregoire at To Love, Honor and Vacuum for including FIVE quotes of mine in her 50 Best Marriage Quotes of 2011. (Who knew I actually said quotable stuff?) Sheila’s list is a great resource, and I recommend you read it all the way through. There is a lot to think about there, and so much wisdom for marriages collected in one place. Thanks, Sheila.

If you haven’t visited The Generous Wife; To Love, Honor, and Vacuum; or Intimacy in Marriage, I love what these ladies do in boldly speaking up for God’s plan for marriage.

Honors out of the way, I proceed to Hi-fives. Some marriage experts and advocates whom I respect have recently come out with resources that you might want to know about. I am giving a hi-five to these folks for going the extra mile and producing helpful material for couples. I am not getting any kick-back for including these here (though if someone wants to throw $$ my direction, I’ll leap for it like a bridesmaid going for the bouquet). Perhaps you’ll add them to your To Be Read List for 2012, just as I am doing.

First Kiss to Lasting Bliss by Lori D. Lowe of Marriage Gems. This book “features the real-life stories of couples across the U.S. Many of them used adversity to improve their marriages. . . .You will get to know the couples and their often difficult journeys, as well as the keys to their now-strong marriages.” First Kiss to Lasting Bliss is available in both print and ebook format.

The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex by Sheila Gregoire at To Love, Honor and Vacuum. This book isn’t out until March, but I’m biting my fingernails in anticipation and you can pre-order it now. I love Sheila’s Wifey Wednesday blog posts; they are frank, profound, and insightful. She boldly advocates for marriage on her site. Mark your calendar and keep your eyes open for its release. I will definitely let you know on my website when it officially comes out.

A Penny for Your Thoughts from Stu and Lisa Gray at Stupendous Marriage. “The Husband and Wife editions of A Penny For Your Thoughts EACH contain 99 questions you can ask your spouse. Ranging from family history to movies to music to sex.” These are conversation starters to increase communication on a range of issues and deepen your relationship with your spouse. Each version (husband and wife) costs only 99 cents! At $1.98 for both of them, that’s less than the vanilla hot chocolate I just ordered at the coffee shop and much more lasting.

Also, this past year, Stu and Lisa Gray of Stupendous Marriage and Gina Parris and Corey Allen of Winning at Romance and Simple Marriage respectively started podcasting shows. Both are free downloads. Check out The Stupendous Marriage Show and Sexy Marriage Radio.

What do you think? What resources do you recommend for improving your marriage? What particular book or blog has helped you?