You know how the movies and books go, they often describe how a man and woman magically find each other out of all of the billions of people in the world, and they instantly know that they were destined for each other.
Sparks fly. Fireworks erupt. The world stands still.
They know that they are meant to be soul mates, and that they will complete each other and fulfill each other like no one else ever could. They just know they will be completely perfect for each other. Together, they will have unending bliss in this lifetime. They will feel totally in love every moment of every day. Infatuation will never end for them.
They won’t even have to work at nurturing the romance. It just magically happens without effort or problems.
A lot of us believe this idea.
But is this worldly idea of one perfect soulmate in all the world for each of us biblical?
There are four areas I want to address with this issue:
- Is there actually a person who can completely fulfill us, never disappoint us, give us total security, peace, joy, eternal happiness, and perfection?
- What kinds of fruit does the soul mate idea bear?
- What does the Bible say?
- What does the Bible not say?
The truth is, there is no perfect human
There is no completely flawless human soul mate who will never hurt us, always completely understand us like Hollywood portrays, and who can meet our deepest spiritual and emotional needs every second of every day forever.
- For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rom. 3:23
If we try to put a man on the throne of our hearts like this, we are making him into an idol. The problem with idolatry is, it always destroys us and it always destroys the relationship we have with the person we idolize. (Another way of describing this kind of relationship would be “codependent.”)
- It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. Ps. 118:8
- Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord… Jer. 17:5-6
Once we marry a man, that person is to be our spouse for life. We are to work on that relationship and nurture it out of love and honor for God and for the marriage covenant and our husband.
Marriage is a good gift. It is a blessing. God intends for each marriage to portray a living picture of the gospel (Eph. 5:22-33).
But marriage is also hard. There are difficulties. This doesn’t mean we abandon our marriage covenant. Check out what the Bible says about divorce.
But there is a perfect God who can fulfill us
What we really need is Jesus. We need the perfect Creator of the universe, the Prince of Peace, the Lord of lords, the Great Physician, the Good Shepherd, the Heavenly Bride Groom. He is the only one who can meet our deepest spiritual needs all the time. He is the only one who will never fail us, disappoint us, or leave us.
If we have Him, we have the Greatest Treasure in all the universe!
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:5-6
- Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jer. 17:7-8
- For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jer. 2:13
- “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” Matt. 22:36-40
In Him, we truly can have absolute security, peace, joy, contentment, fulfillment, purpose, and our identity.
The problem with the world’s soul mate idea
When we have a mindset that a person can take the place of all that only Jesus can do for us, when we depend on a human man to be our soul mate, this is what happens:
- We marry a man we idolize, with all these unrealistic expectations and then realize that he is not perfect. Even if he is a strong Christian, he sins and stumbles at times. And we are shocked and appalled. We begin to resent him and disrespect him.
- We assume that we married the wrong person and we need to divorce this guy and find our real soul mate so we can be happy. We are angry at God for allowing us to marry a man who is not the soul mate we wanted more than anything.
- With the soul mate mindset, our primary hope is in a flawed human being, not in Christ.
- Our goal is our own momentary happiness (which is one of the greatest idols in our culture) rather than holiness or exalting Jesus above all and seeking His glory above everything else.
- The marriage covenant and God’s commands for us as believers and as spouses become secondary to our feelings and desire for Hollywood style romance.
I believe this kind of soul mate concept is very dangerous to our marriages.
In reality, any Christian man we marry is not going to be perfect. And any Christian woman a man marries is flawed, as well. That includes us! We will have plenty of opportunities to give and receive grace, forgiveness, mercy, and unconditional love and respect. We all have a steep learning curve in marriage. And we all need the power and wisdom of God’s Spirit to build a strong, godly marriage.
What should happen when we realize our spouse is not perfect, is—it should remind us that only Jesus can truly meet our every spiritual need. And it should remind us of our own sin and how much we are completely dependent on Christ because on our own, none of us have any good in us. And it should also make us remember that the only one we can completely trust to be faithful all the time is Jesus.
What does the Bible say?
Is there only one man for you out there? One specific man that you have to find among the billions of others?
- Well, for Adam and Eve, there was definitely only one potential spouse for them. It was pretty obvious who God’s will was for them to marry!
- And for Eleazer, who was looking for a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac, he did pray for God to show him the wife He wanted for Isaac and God answered his prayer. (Although, Rebecca was certainly not perfect.) We can certainly pray for God to lead us to a godly spouse.
But for us as followers of Christ, what are the qualifications we need to have for choosing a spouse?
- A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. 1 Cor. 7:39
- Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? I Cor. 6:14
So really, the main thing is, we are to choose someone who is committed to living for Jesus. The rest is pretty much up to us.
In biblical times, most marriages were arranged. Sometimes the spouses didn’t even meet before the wedding. Or they were betrothed from infancy. There was no dating like we know in our culture.
Of course, for those who are already married to an unbeliever, God’s will is for them to stay with that spouse if possible and seek to influence the other one for Christ.
What does the Bible not say?
There are no verses that say things like:
- Seek the one true love that God has for you among all of the other people in the world. Don’t marry anyone but him. If you marry some other Christian man, you are doomed to misery forever.
- There is only one man for you that is perfect for you. Pray for God to help you find him. If you can’t find him, God can’t do anything of value with your life.
- If you realize you married someone who is not perfect for you, divorce him and search the world for your real God-given soul mate so that you can be happy.
God’s will is for us, as Christian women, is for us to remain single and completely devoted to Christ or for us to marry a believing husband and remain completely devoted to Christ and faithful to our marriage covenant.
Did you know that we will not be married to our human husbands in heaven? Marriage is temporary for this lifetime. In heaven, all of the members of the Body of Christ make up the Bride of Christ and Jesus is the Bride Groom. We will celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb together and be one in Spirit eternally together with Jesus. Earthly marriage is just a temporary picture that foreshadows heaven.
Again, only Jesus can promise happily ever after in heaven. There is no 100% happily ever after on earth. In fact, Scripture promises that on earth, and in earthly marriage, there will be trials.
- those who marry will face many troubles in this life, 1 Cor. 6:28
But here is our hope in Jesus:
- “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
FOR A HEALTHIER WAY TO VIEW THE CONCEPT OF SOUL MATES, please check out this post by www.gotquestions.org.
How has the soul mate concept impacted you? Has it been helpful or hurtful? What scriptural support do you find for your beliefs on this issue?
(If you can’t see the comment space below, click on the title at the top of the post and then scroll down to the bottom of the post.)
Much love! <3
I Was SURE I Would Never Make My Husband an Idol – Guest Post
Oneness in Marriage (overcoming codependency)
Closeness in Marriage Is Not What I Expected – by A Fellow Wife (also about overcoming codependency)