I’ll never forget the first time my husband told me he didn’t believe in soulmates. I’ve always felt like the term itself was a little cheesy, but up until that point I suppose I had never really given the idea much thought. Still it seemed a little…unromantic. In our culture we’ve been inundated with movies and stories of finding true love. And what is true love if it isn’t one special person you’re destined to be with for all of eternity? That’s what the world would have us believe, and I admit, I did buy into the romance of that in my younger years.
In the Beginning
I suppose in many ways the way my husband and I started our dating relationship could be considered very romantic. It is definitely very similar to a barely believable Hallmark movie. The story goes that our mothers were best friends in high school. My mother was even maid of honor in his mother’s wedding. Then my mother moved away, got married and our mothers didn’t see one another again until they were both pregnant with us (insert collective “awww”).
After I was born, my mother enlisted in the Air Force. I spent the rest of my days exploring new states and countries every few years, while my husband spent his days exploring wheat fields, farm equipment, and the inside of engines in our small hometown. Fast forward to August 2005. I was visiting my great-grandmother who is very dear to me before I left for college. I was enrolled in a Christian college in Oklahoma City. At the church potluck a sweet older lady was chatting with my grandmother when I was beckoned over to meet a boy who was also OKC-bound.
Friendship Blossoms into Something More
Honestly, I didn’t give it much of a second thought. I was engaged to a boy from high school in a very toxic relationship. Our friendship slowly bloomed as he and I began to ride home together to visit our families. He was always kind and respectful, and I valued our friendship. When my engagement came crashing down around me, he was there with words of comfort and support. A couple of months later I was there to reciprocate when he and his college girlfriend broke up.
At this point I had never had a romantic feeling toward him. It would be another couple of months before our friendship began to blossom into something more. I remember when I first really realized how blue his eyes were, and suddenly I could hardly bear for him to look at me. That sounds so ridiculous, but it is so very true. After a chaste kiss to the hand I was sold, and the rest, they say, is history.
My Plans are not the Lord’s Plans
I promise you have endured that long story for a purpose! Jaded by my broken engagement and the betrayal that came with it, I told God I was done looking for a soulmate. My plan was to study, focus on school and my faith, and leave the rest up to Him. How funny it is to me now that I thought I actually had complete control of things in my life! Alas, I was young and needed to learn so very much more about the Lord and myself.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
I had no way of knowing that this man would challenge me in more ways that I ever knew possible. He showed me how to love without shame. I learned how to dream within boundaries and how to plan for an unpredictable future. He unleashed desires in my heart that I had fought against, desires that were God’s will hushed by my own plans and dreams.
So now comes the question:
If he was so good for me, so helpful in my walk with the Lord, wouldn’t that make him like an–I don’t know–soul mate? If you look in God’s word (and I have), there’s no mention of one perfect person to fulfill us, aside from God, of course. And it makes sense. God wants to hold that most special place in our hearts. He requires us to love him above all else and above ourselves. God very plainly wants to be first in our hearts. He does not build another human being to be perfect in our eyes. No, He reserves that place for himself.
Choosing to Love
So as flawed human beings, we are destined to choose love. We must choose to love one another in the hardest of times. In my experience, choosing love has been the single easiest way to resolve any conflict in our marriage. I don’t expect him to fill my needs, to perfectly anticipate my desires, or insure that our marriage stands strong against the enemy. And I would not measure up if he expected those things of me.
Instead of expecting to fit like a hand in a glove, we expect the snags and grooves along the way. If one of us has a rough spot, we work to buff it out. If the other has a hang up, we find a way around it. There has yet to be a bridge that we cannot cross in love. When we are both overworked, overtired and over-stressed, it is much harder to choose love. However, it just gives us more opportunity to practice.
How do you choose love with those you care about?