Soul Mates?

Okay, this post will probably make me sound horribly unromantic and pessimistic, but it's something I've been thinking about a lot, especially with my younger brother's wedding in the immediate future.

I was at my future sister-in-law's bridal shower yesterday, and all of her friends were talking about how Chris and she were "perfect for each other" and all of that schmoopy stuff that comes out at bridal showers. I thought about that concept as I was coming home, and I realized that I think it's a bunch of bunk.

This opinion of mine was not formed without personal experience and lots of thought. There was a time when I was pretty sold on the idea of a "soul mate". When I was in high school, I dated the same guy from the time I turned 16 until he left on an LDS mission 3 years later. For the first year of his mission, I wrote him faithfully, fully anticipating our marriage when he got home. I was pretty sure that we were "meant" to be together. Then, of course, life did what it is so good at: threw me a curveball. It was a particularly attractive curveball in the form of Cole. Even though Cole and I had known each other for 10+ years, having grown up in the same LDS ward and attending all the same schools, the thought had never crossed my mind to date him. In fact, it was WEIRD. At the same time, however, the idea intrigued me for reasons I didn't understand at the time. So, when Cole got home from HIS mission, I agreed to go on a date with him. Our first date ended with a kiss, and a week and a half later, we were talking marriage.


What happened to the missionary, you ask? Well, he got Dear Johned. But, the story wouldn't be a good one unless there was another twist. Less than a month after we talked matrimony, Cole and I broke up. We both knew overwhelmingly that it was not the right time for us to be together. So, the missionary got un-Dear Johned, and, to his credit, he forgave me wholeheartedly. I spent the next six months harboring two separate dreams: 1- that missionary boy and I would work out (since it would be the quintessential fairy tale); and 2- that somehow Cole and I would find our way back to one another (at the time, it seemed wholly impossible).

***PAUSE FOR MODERN-DAY INTERJECTION*** If a "soul mate" exists for everyone, why was I simultaneously hoping for a happy ending with TWO different but equally wonderful guys?

Continuing on...Cole and I did find a way back together, and then I was forced with a painful decision: do I cut the missionary loose and try again with Cole, even though the last time ended less than desirably? Do I pass on the chance with Cole and stick with the steady, dependable missionary? Do I wait 5 months for the missionary to get home and decide then? I struggled a lot with this choice. Finally, I decided: come hell or high water, I was choosing Cole. Instantly, my entire future became clear, and I knew exactly what would happen. The missionary got Dear Johned AGAIN (which makes for a comical story, now that it's all passed--he got Dear Johned by the same girl for the same guy TWICE? Come on, that's funny!), and I never looked back again.

Spencer W. Kimball once said, "'Soul mates' are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price." I fully believe this is true. I know that if I had chosen to stay with the missionary, we both would have been committed to make our marriage happy and successful. If I had chosen any number of righteous young men, we could have made a happy marriage, as long as we both worked hard to make it happy.

At the same time, I cannot discredit the extremely strong feelings I had to marry Cole. Therefore, I also believe that there are some individuals more suited to one another than others. I was fortunate enough to find someone who complements me in many ways. Is he perfect for me? No. He's becoming more and more perfect for me every day. I think that's something you grow into. It's impossible for two strangers to know each other so completely that they are perfect complements of one another. That's something that takes years and time and commitment. I don't doubt that in the years to come, Cole and I will be perfect for one another, and I look forward to the journey we will take to get there.

Personally, I think this idea is much more romantic than having a soul mate.


palmer clan said...

What great unsights! I thoroughly enjoyed this one. There is so much truth in what you said.

palmer clan said...

Sorry , that was supposed to be insights. I should really reread my comments before I post.

Fernelius' said...

I believe in many soulmates, don't get the wrong idea... I believe that for what ever reason we are drawn to people at different time is our lives, in mine I believe I have had three soul mates, for what ever reason my heart and soul has felt a connection so strong it can not be denied, once when I was 14, once when I was 15, when started to see jon, and again later in life. I guess the best way to describe it is my soul knew this person before I knew this person.
It is food for thought... Love your insight.

Anonymous said...

This is Cole: I am not your soul mate, I am so offended! :)

Katie said...

I actually have to disagree with Pres. Kimball. ::crowd gasps!!:: I don't agree that soul mates are fiction or an illusion; however, I believe that whether or not you had a pre-destined soulmate or whatever, that you can become a soul mate to another individual, just like you said. You grow together and become perfect for each other. I like how you mentioned that... it's so true.

I think there is so much more to this "love" business than we can even comprehend with our human senses. I think love and marriage go way beyond the physical and mortal realm... now how's that for whimsical?? :)

I love how your posts always inspire some thought!

Jay and Natalie said...

Um, yeah, we're totally on the same page. The idea of "soul mates" kinda kills the idea of . . . agency, I guess. It's TOTALLY more romantic that you have to work to really match with someone. So, yeah, don't like the idea of soul mates. And I'm glad you had the smarts to listen to what Heavenly Father wanted for you. You got just what you wanted and deserved in marrying the man you did and you guys are such wonderful people. Now THAT'S romantic. Good job you guys!

Alyssa said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your ideas on soul mates, and with Pres. Kimball. For those who think his quote is outdated and may not apply, it appeared in the Oct. 2002 Ensign--still applicable to us today.

Soul mates are the exception in marriage and not the rule. I think there may be special cases where two people might have known each other in the premortal realm, but I do not believe in predestination. A loving God would never do that to His children--after all, like is so eloquently said in "Ever After," "What if the first love dies and I'm really meant to be with my second love, or was I meant to be with my first love?" something like that.

There are many people that one could end up marrying. It's not a matter of finding THE right one, but A right one; someone that fits you. There isn't just one right person.

Jessica, you're so great! I love reading your blog.

Katie said...

It's more that I think the concepts of a "soul mate" and/or "predestination" are misunderstood. When we try to understand and make sense of the nonlinear in a linear fashion, it doesn't seem right. So we throw it out. That happens too often these days. Of course I don't think our Father would assign us all to each other, thus destroying agency. Of course we choose for ourselves. It's just that sometimes I wonder if the ties of love and marriage extend beyond time (in both directions) in ways that we don't even understand. Furthermore, the capacity to love is limitless, so naturally we are able to love more than one person.

Just food for thought. :)

Loni Hanson said...

I had no idea you 2 got married! I guess it has been a long time! Your baby boy is so cute!

ambistoes said...

Obviously, you don't know me, but I've had many conversations with LDS members regarding this topic and it's astonishing how many people do believe the bunk. :) I was searching for Spencer W. Kimball's quote on soul mates and found your blog on the first result! Thanks for sharing your story! I had a similar experience while choosing my spouse and I totally agree with you that it's more romantic of an idea to be making the choice to make your marriage the best that it can be and continue on through eternity! I think that takes a lot of character and faith.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...