Several years ago, a friend of mine was going through a rough patch in her marriage and asked me if I believed in soul mates and if so, did I consider my husband to be my soul mate.
At the time I was married about five years and gave her what I thought was a truly enlightened answer. I told her that I didn’t believe that we have one soul mate in our lives. I believed that we had many soul mates.
And yes, I believed that my husband was one of my soul mates.
Well, that was almost 15 years, one child, and at least four or five jobs ago.
So now, after close to 20 years with my prince charming, I wonder, does he still fit the bill? Is my husband my soul mate?
I mean, really, wouldn’t my soul mate intuitively know that my vision of cleaning the kitchen includes wiping the counters?
So I thought about it and did a quick search online and found that there’s a lot on the subject. I found “10 Traits of Your Ideal Soul Mate,” “How to Know When You’ve Found Your Soul Mate,” and lots of quizzes including “What Candy is Your Soulmate?” (mine was a Mars bar, chocolate and caramel there’s a surprise).
And of course there are the definitions, most of which romanticize the idea of soul mates like this one from Dictionary.com :
“Your soulmate understands and connects with you in every way and on every level, which brings a sense of peace, calmness and happiness when you are around them. And when you are not around them, you are all that much more aware of the harshness of life, and how bonding with another person in this way is the most significant and satisfying thing you will experience in your lifetime.”
Seriously? If this defines your relationship, then more power to you but I don’t think it’s a sense of peace, calm or happiness that I feel at three in the morning when I get woken up from a sound sleep because my soul mate is conducting a symphony of teeth grinding and snoring.
Don’t get me wrong, I like romance. I’ve watched the movies and read the books. I too had visions that one day a man would walk through my door and say, “You complete me.”
And I do love my husband, we have a wonderful life together and he is very supportive. But does he complete me? Do we connect in every way and on every level? The honest answer is no.
But what if a soul mate is something entirely different? What if your soul mate is not the person who brings you peace and calm or the person who completes you.
What if your soul mate is someone who makes life more difficult by challenging you to see the things about yourself that you didn’t want to see.
Would that be someone with whom you’d want to share your life?
Take a look at something else my search turned up, a quote from author Elizabeth Gilbert:
“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back…A true soul mate… tear(s) down your walls and smacks you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.”
Yikes, why would you want someone like that in your life? Someone who exposes my insecurities, who tears me down, who makes me look at my imperfections?
Hell, if my husband did that he’d be out on the street.
So, no thank you. I don’t need my husband to be my soul mate.
I’m perfectly happy believing him when he tells me that my outfit doesn’t make me look fat and that he really does like my singing.
Because it’s those little white lies that we tell each other that bind us together. The ones that pump us up rather than tear us down.
It’s being there for each other, through thick and thin, good times and bad that really matters.
Because after all, what’s a few crumbs on the counter?