Waiting for 'the one'
The concept of ‘the one’ or a ‘soulmate’ is a very romantic notion. It is comforting to have a Fairy Tale view of the world and to believe your soulmate - usually a prince on a white horse - will come riding into your life, sweep you off your feet and ensure your happily ever after ending.
Moving from romance to Philosophy, the American writer, Richard Bach, wrote: ‘A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys and keys to fit our locks.’
At its simplest level, a soulmate is someone you feel so intimately connected to that you could spend eternity with. Searching for your soulmate involves finding the other half of your soul.
An idealistic secular view
We have Plato and Greek mythology to thank for the origin of this concept or idea of a soulmate. Plato’s theory was that humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus cut humankind in half, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other half.
Psychology has many voices on this topic. Articles abound and confuse; from the Karmic connection, the Twin Souls/Twin Flame connection, creating the reality of your soulmate to rejecting the notion completely and preferring the view that soulmates aren’t limited to one person.
Movie plots thrive on the soulmate ideology. In the movie, Jerry McGuire, Tom Cruise says to Renee Zellweger, ‘You complete me,’ as the music plays and the audience swoons. Literary romance fiction relies on this concept of a soulmate.
Within the modern, Western Christian landscape today, we have bought into this elusive soulmate notion.
Many are delaying marriage as they search and wait for their soulmate. Their reasoning is that otherwise they will be ‘settling.’ After all, if ‘the one’ exists, you need to find them, otherwise everything is messed up. Online dating sites have fuelled this with psychometric and personality compatibility tests and algorithms matching up potential suitors.
At a basic level, a soulmate is that person who finishes your sentences for you, the one who knows what you are thinking before you do; the yang for your yin. Waiting for that doesn’t seem a lot to ask, does it?
The problem arises when you realise that, realistically, our hearts or souls are desperately wicked; they are disfigured. So, for a soulmate to fit your disfigured soul, it too would have to be disfigured. Suddenly the concept of a soulmate no longer seems so perfect.
A practical Christian view
A woman, married for 50 years, imparted these words of wisdom to me: ‘When you are married, you start becoming soulmates.’ Let that sink in. That is profound and beautiful. That is hope. As I reflected on that, I realised the comforting truth in her statement.
It has taken many years for my husband to learn me, to know me.
Years for him to start attaining ‘soulmate’ status.
It took years for him to recognise that panicked look in my eyes in a crowded room and gently come alongside me. It took years for him to interpret my body language and change the dance. It took years for him to observe my moods and discern it best to stay away and leave me alone. It took years for him to be tapped into my insecurities and offer a hug or a cup of tea (or a weekend away – not so often). It took years for him to graciously overlook my irritabilities and let things go. It took years for him to articulate my feelings and emotions better than I could.
It takes years, not just because we tend to be slow learners and impatient teachers, but because it takes that long to learn and grow with another person; to become not only physically one with another person, but spiritually and emotionally one. To start becoming soulmates.
Becoming soulmates slowly evolves as you ‘do’ life together. It happens in the mundane and the ordinary; among the quarrels, fears, tears and smiles. Among good times and bad times, for richer for poorer and in sickness and in health.
It happens when you feel like walking away because it is so hard. Suddenly you realise this person really gets you. That this is the only person you can truly be yourself with and sometimes yourself is really ugly and messy and yet they are still there. They forgive you, a thousand times.
They serve you in little ways, daily. They are invested in you. They love you, just because they do. They are committed to you.
You don’t find that. You grow that, day by day, moment by moment.
The cultural dating norm is to find your perfect match, your soulmate. And yet you cannot determine a soulmate over candlelight dinners. You will not recognise a soulmate in a dating relationship. What you may recognise is potential and compatibility among the rosy glow of sweet romance.
You cannot wait for ‘the one.’ He doesn’t exist. He starts existing when you say ‘I do.’
He doesn’t come with a signboard announcing he is your soulmate. He is potentially in front of you in the form of many guys. But if you are waiting for ‘the one,’ then in a dating relationship your expectations are so high. You start critiquing everything he does and says. In the process you are passing over many guys because they don’t tick all the boxes in your self-determined ‘soulmate’ list.
I am not saying don’t have a list. I am saying make sure you have the right list. I am not saying don’t have expectations. I am saying have the right expectations. I am not saying you must settle for less, I am saying have a sober view of yourself.
You don’t wait for the one. If you do, you will be waiting a long time. Trains are coming into the station and leaving while you sit at Romance Central waiting for the one train that you want to hop on board with and yet you are at the wrong station. That train ‘aint comin’.
‘A soulmate isn’t something you find. A soulmate is someone you intentionally and prayerfully become.’ [Tim Alan Gardner]
Look for a guy you want to spend time with and ‘do’ life with. Look for a guy who you are prepared to forgive when he irritates you and who forgives you.
Look for a guy whose imperfections make you realise you aren’t perfect either and who loves you for that reason. Pray for a guy who loves Christ above all and wants to serve Christ and is prepared to deny himself for you and others.
That is a guy who can become your soulmate when you decide to spend the rest of your life with him.
And when that guy asks you to marry him, you say ‘I will.’
A beautiful Biblical view
That is why marriage is likened to Christ’s love for His bride, the Church. That is why He died for her. That is why He is purifying her and sanctifying her. He loves her intimately. He knows her intimately.
The essence of soulmate beauty is expressed in this marriage union.
This is illustrated in Jesus’ description of marriage in Mark 10:7-9: ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.’
The concept of a person as a soulmate is Biblical and is realised to a degree within the bond of marriage. You start becoming 'soulmates'. God so transforms and sanctifies both husband and wife within the context of marriage that you each fit and complement each other to display His glory and Christ’s sacrificial love. By the act of commitment and covenant love, a husband and wife start becoming 'soulmates.'
‘The sacred secret to becoming soulmates is pursuing a mutual communion with God.’ [Drs Les and Leslie Parrott.]
By desiring to represent Christ in our marriages, we will start to find
the 'soulmate' experience we are longing for but it will still be incomplete.
Although it has been years, my husband still does not know me fully or love me perfectly.
There are times he fails me and times he doesn’t have a clue as to how my mind works. He cannot articulate all my innermost desires and dreams or sense my darkest fears.
This expression of soulmate theology within marriage is a mere shadow and pales in comparison to the expression of Christ’s love for us.
Within marriage, although it points to Christ, it is imperfect and will never fully illustrate the love of Christ. It is a pointer to a soulmate experience far more glorious and far more satisfying.
We can know this true soulmate love right now.
Christ is the perfect 'soulmate.' For us to be completely complete, we first need to say ‘I do’ to Him.
That happens at the cross. Christ knows us deeply, He loves us perfectly and He completes us entirely. That is what the cross achieved for His children, His bride. Find that first.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 articulates clearly that God has put eternity into a man’s heart – that deep soul longing.
Christ knows us intimately. He is the ultimate bridegroom. He knows the darkest corners of our hearts and the deepest depths of our souls.
'You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.’ [Psalm 139:2-6]
‘"So who am I going to marry?" Love Jesus and you will find out. "How will I know when I find the right one?" Love Jesus and you will see.’ [Dan Delzell]
As you are waiting for ‘the one.’ may you be found waiting for Christ.
As you are looking for ‘the one,’ may you first be looking to Christ.
As you are praying for ‘the one,’ may you be delighting in God’s presence.
Jesus is the One.
He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus said, ‘I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.’ [John 8:18] and then He said ‘Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.' [Matthew 11:28-29].
Jesus found us when we were not looking for Him.
He sought us out and loved us when we were so unlovable.
He transformed our disfigured hearts and made them new and beautiful.
Jesus, our perfect bridegroom, is who we will be spending eternity with.