Editor's note: This article was originally published on Kevin Thompson's blog. It has been republished here with permission.
We long for the idea of a soul mate.
every Adam has an Eve.
every Romeo needs a Juliet.
every Pebbles gets her Bam Bam.
A good number of people believe there is one perfect person who was created for us and the great challenge of life is for us to find them.
The Greek Myth
The idea of the soul mate comes from Greek mythology. Legend has it that the Greek God, Zeus, looked down on four-armed and four-legged humanity with fear. He was afraid we could become too powerful and might overtake him. In an effort to weaken us, he cut us in half so that we would spend our days searching for our twin soul, our soul mate, our other half.
It is from Greek mythology that some believe there is only one person created exactly for you.
If the idea of a soul mate is true, then
Marriage should be easy. If someone was created just for me, we should then fit together like a perfect glove. Every one of my weaknesses should be compensated by her strength, and each of my strengths should compensate for her weaknesses.
It's possible to marry the wrong person
It wouldn't just be possible, it would actually be likely. If there is just one person I can marry, the chances of me finding that person – especially on the first try – is slim. If I marry the wrong person, I'm either destined to failure or need to divorce.
If I'm single, my life is not complete
If I'm looking for my other half, then I'm just half a person until I find them.
All of these are lies. They are mistaken beliefs which interject stress into dating relationships, weaken marriages, and create discontent in anyone believing them.
The Christian Truth
In contrast to soul mate mythology, Christian theology gives a different view of marriage.
The Christian view of marriage is:
Every person is created in the image of God and in no need of being completed by another person. While men and women complement one another, we do not complete one another.
The great challenge of relationships is not to find the one person created specifically for you. The great challenge is to pick someone and work at the relationship to such an extent that eventually it feels as though there could never be anyone else for you.
Choice Trumps Force
My wife is not my soul mate. She wasn't created just for me. She does not complete me.
As romantic as it sounds to say she was "created for me," it is far more truthful to say, "God gave her the choice to marry anyone in the world and she chose me."
If soul mate mythology were true, love would not be a choice but an uncontrollable urge. Christian theology is much more beautiful. My wife wasn't forced to love me; she has chosen to love me. She wasn't created for me; she has given herself to me.
The idea of a soul mate might sound more appealing on a card; it might feel more romantic in a movie; but in truth it is but a mirage of something far better – a truly committed relationship based on the individual choice of love.
Which is better, a love of choice or a love of force?
I'm grateful my wife is not my soul mate. It reaffirms her true love for me. She was not forced to love me, but has freely chosen to do so. And that is the greatest Valentine's gift I can ever receive.
Kevin A. Thompson is Lead Pastor of Community Bible Church, a multi-site church in Fort Smith, AR. He currently writes a daily blog focusing on leadership, marriage, and parenting (specifically parenting a child with special needs). Along with his wife, Kevin is co-owner of JThompsonMMC, a full-service media and marketing company based in Fort Smith. He is a graduate of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and Oklahoma Baptist University. Kevin is also the author of "Friends, Partners, and Lovers—What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work.