Every since I was in high school (and even to this day) I have been both delighted and intrigued by those older couples I would see out. I would see them at a wedding or a restaurant, but one could tell simply by observing that they had been together forever. Soulmates.
I would notice the weddings rings on their wrinkled fingers and love watching the way they would interact, the way they would serve each other. He would pull out her chair, she would give him a bite of her cake, he would pull her in to dance closer and she would comfortably lay her head on his shoulder secure in his arms, next to his heart...I would notice how they would anticipate one another, the silences, the simple enjoyments of the other's company, I would appreciate the ways they would talk, laugh, tease, and flirt with each other after all those years. I loved it.
Clearly they were soulmates. They were meant for each other from the start, fitting perfectly into each other’s worlds.
Or were they?
Me, being the perpetually curious-ask-lots-of-questions-because-I-want-to-know-so-I-can-learn-from-it kind of girl, had to know these couples secrets. So, in college I started asking every single older couple I encountered who had been together for a long time what they thought the 3 biggest contributors to having a good relationship and marriage were.
Interestingly enough, not a single one of them said it was because they were “soulmates”. Not a single one said it just happened. Not a single one said “oh we naturally fit together.”
You know what they all DID say? You have to work for it. Love takes work and love takes time. You have to pray together. Be humble and forgive one another. Laugh together. Play together. Serve and observe each other. Sacrifice for one another. Respect one another. Never stop dating no matter how long you’ve been married. You have to make time for one another. Share your hearts with one another. You have to learn to trust and be open with each other, but all of those things don’t happen over night. It takes choosing, making a decision, it takes effort, and it takes hard work. But it’s worth it!
One man told me, “I wake up every morning saying to myself ‘how can I make her happy? How can I make her day better and lighter?’” His wife, sitting next to him smiled and piped up, “and I do the same thing! I want to make his day better so asking myself how I can do that starting off first thing in the morning helps set the tone.”
So is there such a thing as a soulmate?
I think it depends what is meant by that question. On one hand, the way most people in the worldly mindset mean when they reference having a “soulmate” I believe, doesn’t exist. Because these same people who claim they met their soulmate, many of them are no longer with that person after some years. So what happened? Did they cease being soulmates? Then there is other questions that come up like what happens if their “soulmate” dies? Or chooses another person? Is their relationship and marriage doomed to fail?
But on the other hand, God created us and He has a plan for our lives that is good and in His all-seeing mind He knew who would be best for us, when and how. He also knew that we had free will and would sometimes choose something different. But the beautiful thing about the Father is He is always blessing us even when we make mistakes! So what does that mean? It means in our freedom to choose who we will marry (and there could be many different people whom we could be compatible with) and we walk down the isle and enter into that sacrament of matrimony, that person standing in front of us becomes our soulmate.
And armed with the Grace of the Sacrament, it’s our job to become each other’s soulmates more and more each day.
How do we do that? By doing what those couples who had been married for 40, 50, 60 and even 70 years shared (yes, one couple I spoke with had been married for 70 years!). Basically, by choosing to love that person standing in front of us. By choosing them every single day, moment by moment with God’s help. By entering into the beautiful work that relationships are but that make them so worthwhile. In fact, from what I’ve observed, and found in many things (not just relationships) it’s the work that makes it all so rewarding.
So perhaps instead of sitting back, waiting for that perfect person, that “soulmate” to appear, start praying that God will give you a receptive and loving heart. Start praying for the person He will bring into your life to also have a receptive and loving heart. Start becoming the kind of person that you want to be in marriage. Be living a life of love, virtue, and sacrifice right now. Work on being the best version of yourself.
And please share with us, what do YOU think? Do you think soulmates exists? Those of you who are married, what have you found to be the things that contribute to a beautiful relationship and marriage?
We’d love to hear your thoughts!