It sounds so romantic: ‘Destiny’ has each of us perfectly matched with someone with whom we will form an instant rapport. All we need to do is find that special someone and bliss will surely follow. All our heartache, all our problems will be history as we lose ourselves in the rapture of each other’s love…
The Soul Mate Quest has become somewhat of an obsession in our society. Singles hold out for it, Hollywood gets rich on it and disillusioned couples abandon perfectly normal marriages for it. The truth is the soul mate quest is more fantasy than reality…. and holding onto this myth will more often deliver disillusionment and pain than the promised ecstasy of perfect, unending love.
The Soul Mate Quest implies that sustaining a successful relationship is effortless: find the right person and everlasting happiness will follow. Yet no real relationship can survive for long without active investment and conscious self-sacrifice… true love is about giving rather than getting. When a relationship inevitably gives us grief, rather than helping us to be resilient, the Soul Mate Quest numbs us to growth… “it’s not my fault” we tell ourselves, “we just chose the wrong person”.
The implication of the Soul Mate Quest is that the other person is expected to be ‘my everything’. People expect their ‘Soul Mate’ to meet their every need – to be a best friend, an ideal lover, a healer of past wounds, a dedicated cheer squad for their personal development, a companion for their every interest, their intellectual, physical, social equal in every way. It’s an impossible job description and a nightmare for anyone foolish enough to think they can fulfil it.
‘Soul Mate Believers’ are far too quick to pass over a perfectly good marriage prospect, or give up on a perfectly normal marriage, for the fallacy that there must be someone else out there who is ‘The One’. Take a reality check: put the Soul Mate fantasy aside and start living the relationships you’ve got instead of wishing on a star for something that will never satisfy anyway.
Francine & Byron Pirola are the founders and principal authors of the SmartLoving series. They are passionate about living Catholic marriage to the full and helping couples reach their marital potential. They have been married since 1988 and have five children.
Their articles may be reproduced for non commercial purposes with appropriate acknowledgement and back links.