Soul Mates: Myth or Reality?
Allison Ford | Divine Caroline
November 03, 2010
Many people think of soul mates as two people who find each other and know immediately that they’re destined to spend their lives together in ecstatic harmony. Others consider the idea about as credible as crystal healing, love potions, or the tooth fairy.
Our culture is saturated with the notion that there’s one perfect partner out there for everybody, and to settle for anything less than this perfection is to deny oneself a chance at true happiness, which is surely waiting in the wings. The National Marriage Project, conducted in 2001, found that 94 percent of twenty- to twenty-nine-year-olds said that the person you eventually marry should be your soul mate, and 88 percent reported a belief that for everyone in the world, there was a spiritual twin out there somewhere.
While the notion of soul mates sounds like a good one, does it color how we view relationships and marriage and set us all up for failure?
An Unrealistic Expectation
From the time we begin dating, most of us can picture an idealized version of our perfect partner. We want someone of a certain height, appearance, and intelligence, someone who perfectly complements our strengths and camouflages our weaknesses. Many believe that once we find this perfect partner, we’ll be happy together forever. One problem with this perspective is that it views relationships as things that happen to us, rather than things that we create by working hard on them. It assumes that once we’ve found our intended, they will complete us like the missing piece of a puzzle, and everything from then on should be easy and effortless. The search for a soul mate is dangerously close to the search for a completely perfect relationship, something we all know doesn’t exist.
Most people who believe in the idea of soul mates believe that the harmonious bliss of a new relationship is proof that their new love is indeed the one they’ve been waiting for. Eventually, after the newness of a relationship has worn off, people worry that the corresponding dip in excitement (which is perfectly normal) signifies that the relationship wasn’t meant to be after all. Dr. John Grey, PhD, author of Becoming Soulmates: Keys to Lasting Love, Passion and a Great Relationship, writes, “If we want a great relationship to deepen and last, we need to realize that ‘happily ever after’ includes feelings other than happiness. The myth of ‘soulmates’ is about a relationship that is blue sky forever. Always sunny, and that sunshine pours down on us, brightens us up, lifts us. In a real-world relationship, challenges come. The sky occasionally clouds.”
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