I hate to burst your bubble, but soulmates don’t exist. I know, it’s difficult to read. You won’t make eye contact one day with someone on the subway one day and just know that they are “the one.” As nice as that would be, it probably isn’t going to happen, and you should be careful about meeting people on the subway. I had my bubble burst by Gary Thomas when I read The Sacred Search. It’s a great book, and it changed my view on love and marriage. Before, I thought there was one person that God had in His plan for me that I would meet one day and that would be it. That would be “the one” for me, and I would just know. As it turns out, that’s not how it works.
Human to human attraction is based on five factors that psychologists have determined to be the reason why we find someone to be of interest, either for friendship or romantic relationship. Those five factors are proximity, exposure, physical attractiveness, similarity, and mental attraction. Thomas’ point is that it doesn’t matter who you marry, the important thing is why you marry them. In a Christian context, this means that you marry someone because know that a life with them will be Christ-centered and help you to build His kingdom together (sorry for the Christianese).
Sometimes, I worry I’m never going to meet anyone and be single forever. I know all of my single sisters can relate. I’ve chosen to go to college in a crazy city of 8 million people, but it also happens to be one of the worst places to meet other single people, especially as a Christian. It makes me wonder if I had gone to a different school in a different city if I would have a boyfriend right now. And the answer is maybe. But I didn’t miss out on meeting my soulmate-the one I was destined to be with because the raw truth is he doesn’t exist. One day I might meet someone that has qualities of someone I want to marry, but that could be next week or 5 years from now. And just because I meet him doesn’t mean we’ll be together then or ever. I say this because there are important factors, both practical (like geographical location) and spiritual.
Relationships, and especially marriage, take work. People have personalities, emotions, and needs that may be different from those of their partner, and it’s going to take grace and understanding from both people to deal with that. That’s why the idea that it will just work between two specific people is out of a fairytale (which are fun to watch in Disney movies but disappointing when we believe they happen in real life). Life gets real. People change their minds, get sick, act stupid, and sin because they are real people.
If I have come off as sounding like a bitter, single female, that’s not what I meant for this article. I believe that romantic love does exist. It’s just a little different than what is portrayed in fairytales and romantic comedies. My hope and prayer is that everyone who wants to get married will be led to someone at the right time and for the right reasons.
I love listicles and Stacey Becker writes some great ones about relationships. She lists out 14 Traits You Should Look For In a Man Before Agreeing to Marry Him. She also lists 15 Signs You’re Dating A Man Who Can Handle An Independent Woman that speak to my ‘strong, independent woman who would like to eventually find a man’ soul.
P.S. Another article that I think all single, Christian women should read An Open Letter From Mr. Right by the lovely ladies of the Unfiltered Movement. It does a fabulous job of explaining why God might be saying, “Wait.”