Not Your Soul Mate

Hannah doesn’t believe her husband is her soul mate. In her blog post, My husband is not my soul mate,” written on her one-year anniversary, she confesses how she came to this conclusion. Her description of her own teen years may ring a bell with young women who have grown up in the evangelical church.

“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.” 

The author describes many of the superficial beliefs Christian young women may hold about meeting their future spouses. Hannah says she used to believe those things, too.

“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 […] 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.’”

The “soul mate” discussion is not a new one here. (Here’s one example.) And Boundless has long held the position that the Bible does not really support the idea of a soul mate — or one person in the universe meant specifically for you. Hannah describes the benefit she’s found in rejecting the whole notion. 

“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 illusive soul mate, not some divine fulfillment, not some perfect step on the rigorously laid out but oh 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.”

I think this author makes some excellent points. In general, I don’t believe looking for a soul mate is the same thing as looking for a godly spouse. Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.” It does not say, “He who finds a soul mate finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.” 

However, like any good insight, I think we can take the “anti-soul mate” campaign too far, encouraging people to marry someone with whom they have very little chemistry, because, “Hey, it doesn’t really matter who you marry.” The concept of a soul mate — a person you are attracted to, share similarities with and understand deeply — is a great description of the type of person who makes a good spouse. And when you marry someone, you do form a soul connection. 

In addition, I don’t believe we are left alone to pick at random from millions of potential marriage partners, who we could theoretically love equally. When we are alert to His guidance, God directs our steps to our life partner in the same way He directs our steps to other things, such as job opportunities, where we live, where we go to church and friends we meet. So my husband may not be my soul mate, but he is the man God ordained for me to marry and partner with in this life. I honestly don’t believe someone else could have fit the bill in exactly the same way. That’s the beauty of human individuality and God’s creative process through marriages. I believe God brought us together to accomplish specific things for Him — the raising of our children, for example. Could He have led us to marry other people? Certainly. But He didn’t. 

Instead of looking for a “soul mate,” singles should be looking to the Lord as they proceed toward marriage. Then they can have confidence in His leading as they choose the person they will love for the rest of their lives.