You married them.
OK, OK, maybe I can give a little more explanation than that. But don’t complain the next time a sermon goes long.
If you’re looking for “the one,” or your “soul mate,” and you define that as being the one person in all the world who is perfect for you—they don’t exist. You’ll never find them. They’re off riding unicorns with Bigfoot.
That doesn’t mean you can’t love someone deeply, get married, and spend the rest of your lives together. In fact, the goal of this post is to make it more likely that you do exactly that. It’s just that there’s not only one person in the whole world that you could do that with. As I’ve mentioned before, the Bible doesn’t say that there is, and neither does logic or math.
The truth is, there may be any number of people out there who would be a great match for you and make a great spouse. Even just within The Porch crowd on any given Tuesday, I’d guess there are probably at least a few dozen possibilities. That’s not suggesting you should marry just anyone; but if there are a thousand people there of the opposite sex who share your faith, surely at least a small percentage would have the possibility of being a good match. Right? (Psst. Ask her out.)
The Problem With “The One”
The reason why this matters is because thinking that you do have a perfect soul mate can lead to some real problems in dating and marriage.
In dating, it can keep you single far longer than you need to be—maybe forever. If you’re looking for someone who doesn’t exist, needless to say you’re going to have a really hard time finding them. When you do meet someone, any tiny flaw or minor difference may be seen as proof that they’re not “the one” for you.
It can also work the other way, causing you to rush into things or stay with someone longer than you should. If you become convinced that someone actually is your soul mate, then you’d tend to overlook red flags—even major ones. After all, you’re meant to be together, right? If your closest friends all tell you that he or she is no good for you, you should probably listen to them. They’re usually right.
And there’s no such thing as “love at first sight.” Lust at first sight, sure. But if you don’t know anything about them other than how they look, then you don’t love them; you like something about them that will certainly change. Looks are a poor thing to base love on.
The One for You
When you marry someone, they do become “the one.” They’re the one you’ve committed to love for the rest of your life, and the two of you become one (Mark 10:7-8). They are still the one when they gain weight, lose weight, lose their job, get cancer, or make mistakes.
The idea of a perfect soul mate really causes problems within marriage. That’s because, no matter how awesome they may be, they’re still not going to be perfect. And as months and years go by, there will be times when they don’t inspire this magical feeling within you. So when you meet someone new, and different, and therefore exciting, there may be a temptation to think that this person is your soul mate. That you somehow got it wrong when you married, and you were meant to end up with this new person instead.
And that’s wrong. Verifiably wrong, since studies show that people who divorce and then marry someone else don’t end up any happier in their new marriage. It’s because, again, you’re chasing something that doesn’t exist; no human being will make you perfectly happy.
If you’re looking for a soul mate, what you’re really looking for is Jesus. He actually is perfect, and is the only one who can truly satisfy your soul. So love Jesus first, with all your heart, and then find someone who loves Him just as much and marry that person. Or, if you don’t marry, you’ll still be OK—because you’re not looking for someone else to make you complete.
–JP (With help from Kevin McConaghy)