who am i?

"I write for the unlearned about things in which I am unlearned myself." - CS Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Not Searching For a Soul-Mate...

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I read Hannah of the art in life's post and thought to share it here. After one year of marriage, she boldly declared that her husband isn't her soul-mate. Now that’s a controversial statement for the hopeless romantic girls to swallow, but she made a lot of sense and confirmed this thought I've had. She got me thinking about how we(ladies) get it all wrong sometimes… most times…. All the time. I’m not sure I’m able to summarize the post the way I want to, so I’ll just copy it on here and hope you enjoy it. Obviously not everyone would agree with here, but hey!!! Check out her blog here for pictures and more on this, the comment section is pretty interesting….

It might seem odd that on this, our one-year anniversary, I am beginning a post with the declaration that my husband is not my soul mate. But he isn’t.
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. I wouldn’t want to married to anyone else other than James, which is good, because I plan on being married to him forever, and he has to let me die first.
But I reject the entire premise of soul mates.
Do you remember those awesome Evangelical 90’s/ early 2000’s where Jesus was kind of like our boyfriend and we all kissed dating good-bye because we just knew that God was going to bring us THE ONE and then life would be awesome? And THE ONE would most likely be a worship minister, or at the very least a youth pastor, and we would have to be in college when we would meet at some sort of rally to save children from disease or something. We would know that he was THE ONE because of his plethora of WWJD bracelets and because (duh) he had also kissed dating goodbye and was waiting for me, strumming Chris Tomlin songs on his guitar as he stared into whatever campfire was nearby. We would get married and it would be awesome FOREVER. If you were like me, in devote preparation for this moment, you wrote letters to your future spouse, preferably in a leather bound journal dotted with your overwhelmed tears. Yes, I actually did that. Suffice to say that I found this journal over Christmas break and it was so embarrassingly awful and emotional that I couldn’t even read it out-loud to James because I was crying from laughing so hard.
But then 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. NOT TRUE I scolded him, attacking him with the full force of Jeremiah 29:11 that God “knows the plans he has for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a hope and a future,” and obviously that means a hott Christian husband because God “delights in giving me the desires of my heart.”  He slammed through my horrible (yet popular) biblical abuse by reminding me that the first verse applied to the people of Israel in regards to a specific time and just didn’t even dignify my horrible abuse of the second verse with a rebuttal. 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.
(This advice was also used when I asked what college God wanted me to go to, accompanied I think by, “God doesn’t want you to be an idiot, so go somewhere you will learn.” )
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. As for compatibility, my mom would always pipe up when my girlfriends and I were making our lists of what we wanted in a spouse (dear well meaning Christian adults who thought this would help us not date scumbags: that was a bad idea and wholly unfair to men everywhere) that all that really mattered was that he loved the lord, made you laugh, and was someone you to whom you were attracted. The rest is frosting.
This is profoundly unromantic advice. We love to hear of people who “just can’t help who they love,” or people who “fall in love,” or “find the one person meant for them.”  Even within the Christian circle, we love to talk about how God “had someone” for someone else for all of time. But what happens to these people when the unstoppable and uncontrollable force that prompted them to start loving, lets them stop loving, or love someone else?  
What happens is a world where most marriages end in divorce, and even those that don’t are often unhappy.
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 elusive soul mate, not some divine fullfulment, not some perfect step on the rigorously laid out but of so secret “Plan for My Life.”
But he is the person that I giggly chose to go out on a date with in college. He is the person who chose to not dump me when I announced that I was moving to France for a year, then Kentucky for another year. He is the person who asked me to move to DC and I chose to do so. He is the person who decided to ask me to marry him and I agreed. At any step here, we could have made other choices and you know what? We might have married other people, or stayed single, and had happy and full lives.
But now I delight in choosing to love him everyday.
I like it better this way, with the pressure on me and not on fate, cosmos, or divinity. I will not fall out of love, cannot fall out of love, because I willingly dived in and I’m choosing daily to stay in. This is my joyous task, my daily decision. This is my marriage.
Someday I hope to have daughters and sons. I am going to pray for their futures everyday, and I will pray for who they might marry, but also what job they will have, who their friends will be, and most of all, that they delight in becoming more like Christ. But when my daughters come home starry-eyed from camp announcing that they can’t wait till the day they meet the man God has for them, I will probably pop their bubble and remind them that God doesn’t have a husband stored away somewhere for them.
He has a whole life, one of rich and abundant choices. And it is awesome. 
Oh, and for the record — I like James so much more than my imaginary, obnoxiously religious, youth pastor future husband. When I asked him if he had written Future Me letters as a child, he told me he was too busy memorizing Pink Floyd lyrics. But then he ran in the next room and wrote down what 14-year old James would have said in a letter to 14-year old Hannah: “I hope you’re hott.”  That’s why boys didn’t get swept up in that movement… they knew the truth all along. theartinlife.wordpress.com
"all that really mattered was that he loved the lord, made you laugh, and was someone to whom you were attracted. The rest is frosting. " Just one of the lines that jumped out and gave me a chest bump.  You really should check out the original post and read through the comments if you're still a little confused. The rest really is frosting... but well needed frosting though.

5 comments :

  1. Very interesting. I think that no matter what anyone believes about soul-mates or the lack thereof, in my short experience of marriage so far I can boldly say that a blessed marriage is one where both parties "intentionally" choose to love daily. It is a daily task, a daily self-motivation, a daily dying to self, a constant daily choice to say "I do" a thousand times over. Why? Because there are no perfect marriages since marriages are made up of imperfect people who depend on the righteousness of Christ to make them perfect. :)

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  2. Thank you for this post! I think I definitely need this dose of reality constantly! I am one of those girls she described lol and I have a feeling I may remember some of my ideas of marriage in the future and laugh hard!

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  3. A soul mate is a person with whom one has a deep or naturally affinity. So is she saying there was no attraction what so ever? yes we girls paint pictures, imagine and write down things about our perfect marriage to a certain prince charming and i totally get how futile this exercise is.Agreed, God does not have a husband stored up somewhere for us but our choices should be led by the Holy spirit. She is choosing daily to stay in which is fantastic but if He too should also choose to stay daily!!! it's a two way thing.

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  4. Why doesn't blogger have a like button for when your comment's been taking right out of your mouth?....
    Insightful read!Thanks for sharing.

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