Let me start out by saying that I love my wife very much, and I know life without her would mean a dramatic change for the worse. That being said, she is not my soulmate or my better half. I do not look to her for completion. The truth is that I was complete before I ever met her. I found my completion in Christ, the One who created me and gave me purpose. My wife is many things to and for me, but I cannot expect her to complete me. It is not fair to either of us. If fact, she would have me point out that we, as people, look for completion in far too many things that cannot bring it. We look to our jobs, our things, our children. We look everywhere but to Christ. I truly believe that makes these things and people into idols, a thing we have become all to comfortable with. I could, and may someday, write a whole book about how okay we have become with idols, whether American or otherwise. But for the time being let me get back to marriage relationships.
Many couples get into relationships thinking that the person they are getting together with will be something for them that God never intended for two people to be for each other. Almost 11 years of marriage have taught me that my wife is meant to be one thing, and only one thing to me: my wife. It is true that she does many things to make our relationship work, but she is not those things. Should she quit doing those things, or be rendered incapable of them, she is still my wife. Whatever comes, I am to love her as Christ loves the Church. Just as the Church does not complete Christ, though it is referred to as His body, so too, my wife does not complete me, though Scripture says “the two shall become one”.
In many ways my wife and I are indeed in sync. We even act in unison often, and consult each on major decisions. But even though we live as one, we are separate complete human beings, completed in Christ. In our marriage we are a team of three: Christ, myself, and my wife. We have learned that it is unhealthy to labor under the illusion that each of us will be something other than we are meant to be. Scripture refers to Eve as Adams “help mate”. God made two distinctly separate people from one, and those two people worked together to build humanity. There is certainly a measure of unity in a marriage, but the very idea of unity entails more than one thing working in harmony as if they were only one thing. We are indeed wed in unity, but that in no way means that I should expect her to complete me, nor should I be surprised if we don’t fit together like a hand and glove.
The notion of soulmates is first of all not Christian, but it is also unhealthy and unhelpful. Too many people find themselves disillusioned by marriage when they discover that the person they married isn’t a perfect match for them. When differences that don’t seem to compliment each other arise, it can be difficult and disastrous if a person believes that a true match is a soulmate. My wife is not my soulmate, nor do we always mesh. The difference for us is that we work through differences. Neither of us is perfect, and neither expects to be right all the time. We are focused on our marriage, our promise to God and to each other. Looking for a soulmate means that you are first and foremost looking at yourself and judging each potential mate against your own quirks and flaws. Where we have gaps, and rough edges we rely on the Lord to fill in with grace. We can never find a perfect match, but I wouldn’t give mine up for the world.
There is much to learn, and to think about in regards to marriage, unrealistic standards should not be one of them. We should also be quite careful when we begin to edge people and things over to spaces that are to be reserved for God alone. Perhaps we can begin to love our spouse solely because Christ loves us, and has blessed the union of matrimony. One final note for those who may be curious, yes my wife has read and at least generally agrees with me on this matter.
God bless you all, and May He guide and bless all of your relationships with health and happiness.