A few days ago, Huffington Post ran a piece titled "My husband is Not My Soul Mate" by Mary E Graham (it's probably still trending). Obviously, the title was meant to provoke controversy. It's not the first time this statement has been made and most likely won't be the last but I was curious, so I gave it a read.
I understood, and to an extent, agreed with some of her points, such as not looking to other people to bring you fulfillment or happiness, and that the societal definition of "soul mate" will only set you up for disappointment (I'm paraphrasing here). But by the end of the piece, it had turned into a Christian gospel message that I felt gave an alarmingly bleak and resigned outlook toward the author's relationship with her husband and the relationships her children might find themselves in later on in life.
Graham claims that because she and her husband are flawed (a.k.a. "sinners"), they cannot meet each other's needs fully. That their flaws ("sin") have given them an unfillable "hole" within themselves. That no matter how "awesome" they are, it will never be enough. As a former Christian, I have heard this idea many times before. It basically means that the reason we're all so miserable and unsatisfied in our lives is because of the "sin" we were born with. Christ died for our sins; therefore only He can fix the "empty hole" that sin has given us.
Because that hole isn't of this world. That want and need we have for someone to know us, really know us, will never be satisfied while we're here on earth. And I think that idea, that lie we've been sold, damages so many relationships, ends marriages and leaves countless people unhappy when they'll truly never be happy.
Well, with that attitude they won't.
The only thing that's standing in the way of your own happiness, fulfillment, satisfaction, meaning, purpose, whatever, is yourself. Not "God." Not "sin," but YOU and you alone.
We cling to the idea of sin because it takes personal responsibility off of ourselves. Sin means we can't help the way we are -- it's a "birth defect" after all -- and we're powerless to change it. THIS is the real lie we've been sold. And this is what does the damage to our relationships, happiness and sense of self. It's easier to shrug off all the things we hate about ourselves and claim, "but by the grace of god..." than to look within ourselves, find the role we play in our own suffering and lack of fulfillment and change it.
If you believe your husband is not your "soul mate," it's because your definition of "soul mate" is unattainable, and you're seeing your husband for his "sin," instead of for what he is. If you believe you will never be authentically known or understood by anyone other than "God," it's because you have yet to see yourself as anything other than a "sinner" in need of saving. If this is the kind of life you want to settle for and introduce your children to, that's your right to do so, but you are robbing yourself and those in your life, of experiencing something beautiful.
Personally, I'm certain my fiancￃﾩ is my "soul mate." How do I know this? Because he was my friend before anything else, he respects me, he doesn't try to "fix" me. He knows to rub my back when I wake up in the middle of the night freaking out from my incessant nightmares. He refuses to let me carry my baggage alone (literally and figuratively). He encourages me to make my dreams come true, even if I think it's pointless to try. But most importantly, I know he's my "soul mate" because when I see him after working all day and all happiness has been sucked out of me, there he is. With a smile, a hug and an "I love you." Despite all my flaws, he loves me like it's the easiest thing in the world.
If that's not the definition of "soul mate" then perhaps it needs to be, then maybe Mrs. Graham would realize what she really has instead of what she doesn't.