Thursday, November 8, 2012

Marrying Your 'Soul Mate': Does Such a Person Exist? -

A great marriage is not when the “perfect couple” come together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences. ~ Dave Meurer

Unfortunately, some people use very strange criteria in making their decision about who to marry. They have some limited set of characteristics in their heads that tell them when they’ve found Mr. or Ms. Right. How often have you heard someone say, “I’m getting married because I found my soul mate”?

He Knows My Inner Being

Never fully defined in any literature, the term “soul mate” is used by people as if we all clearly understood what is meant. We have asked a number of people to explain what a soul mate is. We never get the same answer. Nevertheless, it’s a popular buzzword. Some definitions of a soul mate is a person who…
  • has the same background as you. 
  • thinks like you.
  • understands you. 
  • knows you before even really knowing you.
  • knows you better than you know yourself. 
  • you can talk with for hours even when you first meet. 
  • has the same interests and hobbies as you. 
  • has your best interests at heart.

Others say a soul mate…
  • sees into your inner being. 
  • is like the missing half of you. 
  • is a perfect match for you. 
  • is your twin or counterpart. 
  • is the one, true person for you. 
  • immediately connects with you.
If you think there is only one person out there who is the right one for you, you are vulnerable to marry when you think you have found that person. There is much evidence that there are likely many people in the world who would make an acceptable mate for you. The risk of thinking otherwise is that when you believe you have found “the one,” you abandon all sensibility and are driven to marry that person. Some people believe in soul mates because of their divorce experience. It didn’t work with my ex because he was the “wrong one.” Now I will go and find the right one, who will be the opposite of my ex.

Since you believe there is such a thing as the one soul mate in the world for you, you have some preconceived notions in mind. Some people are searching for someone “just like me.” Others believe that someone is their soul mate if they have similar backgrounds, thoughts, or views. Still others believe they will intuitively know a soul mate by their connectedness to them. We’re not saying that having things in common isn’t important. Quite the contrary, it is very relevant in a successful marriage. The problem comes when you are on a mission to find an individual who has one or a few narrow set of similarities or characteristics, and you take it as a sign to marry.

Finding a soul mate is a great start, but people are multidimensional. You cannot judge a person as right for you because he or she has certain similarities or just seems tuned in to you. Now you need to spend considerable time learning all about other aspects, such as the differences between you, the habits and quirks he has, any shared values, dreams, goals, opinions, and so forth. Don’t fall into the trap of the “soul mate mentality” and think someone is right just based on initial impressions.

If you are on a one-track search for Mr. or Ms. Right, you are not ready to remarry. Don’t get confused when you date that because someone has what you deem desirable similarities to you, this is enough of a basis for marrying.

Are You at Risk?

Searching for a soul mate can be dangerous. Are you at risk for this behavior? Do you have a “soul mate mentality”? Believe you will know the “right one” the minute you meet him or her?
Search for your next spouse looking for one important trait—maybe the opposite of what your ex had?
think there is only one person in the world who is right for you, and you are on a mission to find him or her?
have a set of criteria for the ideal spouse or a simple formula for knowing who would be your soul mate?

Here are some tips to help you avoid trapping yourself in the soul mate myth.
  1. Retrain your thinking. If you have a “soul mate mentality,” educate yourself about the risks. One way to do this is to read and reread the stories in this book of redivorced people who naively searched for their soul mates only to get burned because they refused to see or acknowledge any problems once they made up their minds.
  2. Don’t shop for duplicates or opposites. Finding your mirror-image mate in background or experience is no assurance of a good match. Likewise, just because someone doesn’t have the ugly habits or traits of your ex (drinking, yelling, spending, controlling) doesn’t mean he will be right for you, either. List the problems of your past marriage(s) and make certain that these are not the only criteria you use to select a future spouse.
  3. Don’t be unequally yoked. If you choose someone who has a major difference in belief systems from you, it is likely to become a problem after the “honeymoon phase” is over. When your most fundamental beliefs are at odds, you will eventually see divisions creep into the marriage that could lead to its downfall. Any disagreements or major differences in belief systems will certainly become more pronounced if and when children are part of your family.
  4. Allow enough time dating. Quick decisions about a soul mate can be overcome if you date someone at least a few years before marrying. Be alert to problems and red flags. 
Taken from: "Finding the Right One After Divorce". Copyright © 2007 by Edward M. Tauber and Jim Smoke. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene

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