The Myth of Soul Mates

The term “soul mates” has been around a very long time.The concept of having one person in all the world with whom you share great love, closeness, and connection (mentally, physically and spiritually) is a notion that has penetrated popular culture.

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato is believed to be the first person to write about an “other half,” the missing person in one’s life. From his concept came the great loves we have grown up reading about: Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, Ken and Barbie.

The movies are filled with stories of people searching for their one true love and never feeling fulfilled until the moment their soul mate appears. Now, I’m a romantic and I love hearing stories of true love. Hearing about the couple who were engaged on their first date because they “just knew” makes me smile.

But is there really only one person for everyone? Do each of us have a soul mate? Or is it a Hollywood tale of love not rooted in reality?

If I had been asked when I was younger if I believed in soul mates I would have said “maybe,” as I am ever the skeptic. Now however, I would answer “no.”

Here’s why: I have come to believe that the concept of soul mates is not scriptural. Yes, there are people God directed very clearly to be married—Joseph and Mary, Hosea and Gomer, for example but those were more the exceptions than the rule.

Spending our lives seeking and hoping for that one true person is not a Biblical concept and it often leads to us feeling unfulfilled and unsatisfied. The concept of Plato’s “other half” assumes that we as individuals are not whole or complete unless we have another person to “finish” us. We need a Jerry Maguire “you complete me” moment to feel truly loved and whole. I think that is a lie.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17. If we are in Christ we are not incomplete, waiting for a man or woman to make us whole. We are new creations, alive in Christ.

The movies and the concept of soul mates feed us a lie that when, and only when, we find our other half we will be happy. I believe relationships contribute greatly to our happiness and are crucial. I don’t however, subscribe to the belief that there is only one person who can make us happy. Nor should our contentment be reliant upon a romantic relationship (or lack thereof).

I have known of many people personally who God has spoken directly to about who they should marry and when. I believe God can and does give specific guidance when it comes to choosing a spouse. It’s just that sometimes He is more specific than other times. Sometimes He makes a recommendation, sometimes He gives us a command, and still other times He lets us choose.

That’s right, sometimes we get to choose. Before marrying my husband, my ex-boyfriend re-appeared and essentially asked me to marry him. As I prayed, I felt that God was letting me make the decision (which was unsettling at the time). I chose wisely.

I have an awesome marriage. I would call Jonathan my soul mate but not by the Hollywood definition. He is my soul mate because I chose him. Just as I chose to follow Christ and commit my life to Him, I have done the same with my husband. Jonathan is my soul mate because everyday he serves me and his love and selflessness compels me to do the same. He is my soul mate because we are pursuing Christ separately and together.

We have real love, not movie love. We were not two broken halves when we were married, like Plato would have you believe. We were two individuals whole in Christ coming together out of our love for one another and God first. That is finding one’s soul mate. That’s the stuff movies should be made of…that is true love.

Do you agree or disagree? Do you believe in soul mates? Do you have one? What do you think God says about it?

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29 thoughts on “The Myth of Soul Mates”

  1. Oh gosh Nicole, I so totally agree with you here! I used to be the ridiculously dreamy, romantic type who’d listen to every song on the radio and think, ‘Ohh I so want that!’ I still am a big romantic, but a lot of the songs I hear, I think, ‘Actually, I don’t want to be quite that dependant, that in need of someone.’ I don’t think it’s healthy or Biblical to build your life so completely around one person. Yes, I do believe in deep love that is guided and blessed by God, but I wouldn’t ever want to be in a place where my entire life would crumble around me if my partner/husband were to up and leave, or fall ill and die. I want Jesus to be the one who ‘completes me’ (in fact, one of my favourite worship songs says “My soul is complete in Jesus”), I want God to be the one who I’m building my life around, and I want Him to be the only one I really, truly NEED.

    I think sometimes God guides people specifically to a spouse, but more often than not He doesn’t. A friend of mine said three good questions to ask are, “Is he a Christian? Does he go to church? And do you see God in your relationship?” Simple but I think they do the job. If I can see God guiding a relationship and bringing it to be, then I’d be happy to say “I do”.

    And what you wrote about your love with Jonathan? I so, so want that.

    1. I’d never really seen “soul mates” as a need, but I guess it is for some people. I’d always seen it simply as someone who is most likely to receive and recipricate love, for me individually. More of a hand in glove sort of thing…

      As devil’s advocate, I’d say the idea of a soul mate doesn’t mean you are incomplete at all. It just means there is someone how fits well with you.

      But as I said below, I jump back and forth on the issue…

    2. Rachel, you said:

      “I want Jesus to be the one who ‘completes me’…I want God to be the one who I’m building my life around, and I want Him to be the only one I really, truly NEED.”

      That is it! He is the only one we need. Marriage and our spouses are a gift from God, yes, but ultimately He is the only one who can truly fulfill.

  2. I’ve been thinking about this idea for quite some time, actually, and I keep going back and forth.

    On one hand, I can see that God may have purposed you to be with one person (which may or may not be a soulmate in the romantic, “you complete me” sense), but that brings up another issue for me. Namely, divorce. If I marry the wrong person, then is divorcing that person when the relationship breaks down good or bad? Scripturally, there isn’t much to say about it (except the “what God put together let no man put asunder,”).

    On the other hand, I can see that where marriage is a choice, as is love. And in essence, you can “love the one you’re with” in a sense. And that could be Godly as well.

    Interesting topic and food for thought. Good post.

    1. Antwuan,
      I honestly hadn’t considered soul mates in the context of divorce.

      Although it begs the question too…if you married your soul mate, would you actually get a divorce?

      Just something I was thinking…

      Also, the Bible does, in fact, have a lot to say about divorce beyond “what God has brought together…”

      Scripture does not give acceptable reasons for divorce (beyond adultery, which can also be argued either way. I know this is a touchy subject. I know that each marriage is different and complex, but divorce almost never seems to be “good” so to speak.

      1. I think the “wrong person” is only a person that is not a covenant believer. I mean, what fellowship does light have with darkness? Should we also NOT be yoked together with non-believers?

        A “wrong person” would fit that criteria. If, as a believer, you would still seek to covenant yourself with that person…hmm. Well, that would be just plain silly of you.

        1. I don’t know about that one Donald. I have seen some Christians marry other Christians and it is clearly the wrong person for them.

          There are various reasons, but people I know who have even been advised to not marry despite their mutual love of Jesus. Those that go forward in marriage have had a difficult time.

          Wisdom and counsel certainly have to play a part in choosing a spouse too.

          1. Yet how much more does wisdom and knowledge play a part in daily life once the covenant is sealed?

            It is easy for us to play “Oh, is this God’s will?”, and not make a move based on our inability to properly hear Him or to be so bound up in His perfect will that we become scared to act on our won.

            If I married a woman who consented to walking in covenant with me, and I did likewise with her, and our Father said, “I have no issue with this”, then does this mean there will be issues later on in our marriage? And if so, can God not still be able to guide us and assist us in walking out the covenant?

            My covenant, and perhaps yours as well, with my spouse is not rooted in lovey love. It is rooted in commitment, fealty, surrender to the Spirit, and covenant. Love, while awesome, does not deter problems or issues in any marriage. Since both my bride and I espouse covenantal commitment above emotion, our marriage, while rocky at times, works quite well.

            Nicole, I hope this didn’t sound as though I was arguing with you. Surely I am not! This is me more so thinking out loud in response to your comments. What do you think? Did I make any sense?


  3. I had always been taught to pray for my future husband and have done the same for my own children. I wasn’t taught that there was only one out there for me, however, movies and music swayed my thinking as a teen. I probably chose my husband for all the wrong reasons. He felt that God had directly told him that I was the one and proceeded to tell me this only weeks after us meeting. After a year of cajoling and wooing I flat out refused and then he was gone. I felt like something was missing and thankfully God brought him back to me, reconnecting through letters over several months. I believe that over the past almost 20 years, God has knit us together as soul mates. We are now a complete cord. Soul mates, no. God mates, yes!

    1. Joann,

      I am praying not only for the future husbands of my daughters, but also for their parents. I need them to raise their sons in the ways of our God, so they will be proper covenantal husbands to my girls. Or else I’m gonna have to dispense with some butt-whipping. :) Jokes…

      The parents matter. I am hoping the parents of the sons who will marry my daughters are doing the same thing for me, even if they don’t know who I am!

  4. I believe there are many people who would be a good fit for each other. No one is perfect. Some match up better than others. But the key to your post is that we choose. Even if God recommends or commands, ultimately, we choose to follow his recommendation or command. WE are the ones who decide who we will marry. At least in the US. It’s up to us to take responsibility for that choice.

    When people say they’ve fallen out of love or whatever, they’re shirking their responsibility for nurturing that relationship. I think people think they must not have found their soul mate if they no longer feel in love with each other. There must be someone else out there who I will always be in love with!

    Love is work.

    1. Jennifer,
      People saying they have “fallen out of love” irks me so much! The problem is people don’t understand that love is a choice not a feeling.

      My mother-in-law told me before I married her son, that some days I will wake up and not “feel in love” but that I need to choose to show love anyway.

      At the time I thought she was crazy. How could I not “feel in love” with my then fiance when it was all roses and butterflies.

      But I know now what she meant. Selfishness is always the temptation. Serving ourselves and not the other person. True love sets aside your personal wants and desires to serve the other…which in turn meets your own desires. It’s an awesome design Jesus has given us!

  5. I chose my wife. She chose me. She could have chosen any other number of men. I could have chosen any other number of women.

    We chose each other.

    Soul mates? God’s perfect will? God’s choice for us? Hardly.

    My wife is not perfect, but she’s perfect for me. My Father in Heaven is pleased with my choice.

    Nicely said, Nicole.

  6. This is an interesting topic. I have witnessed many people meet, where I have said after observing them talk only minutes after meeting, that they would get married (they are all still married…one couple has been together 18 years). I think when there is a good fit, it is apparent to everyone!

    As far as God having us choose, yes, we have free will, but that doesn’t mean He hasn’t chosen who His perfect fit would be for you, or who isn’t your perfect fit.

    I was dating a man for over a year and he wanted to talk marriage but I hesitated. I kept having these recurring dreams where God was telling me that He had someone else in mind for my boyfriend and that I would have a hand in getting them together. We finally broke up and about 6 months later a mutual friend of ours called me about a girlfriend of hers. She mentioned setting up this girl with another guy (not my boyfriend) and before I knew it I was telling her “No, set her up with my ex.” I met the woman before they met eachother (which fulfilled the dream) and they met at a party our mutual friend and I set up for them to meet.

    I can tell you, that those two were meant to be! It was definitely God-ordained. Although he was a good boyfriend and nice guy, his demeanor towards her was very different from how he was with me!

    As for soul mates, I thought I had met mine (the only man I have ever really wanted to be with so much I thought marriage was possible…not the above mentioned ex) and it didn’t work out because he had some anger issues. So, I don’t believe that just one person is out there that you can connect with on that deep level. I can’t believe that because that would mean I’ll be alone the rest of my life! Instead, I believe that God will bring someone who is better suited for me, if He so chooses.

    1. Alexis,
      You touch on a great point. How do we choose our spouse?

      I think that there is a combination of free will and Godly wisdom at play. Yes, God often lets us choose, but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t have direction to give in that decision.

      He gave us the Spirit to discern and make Godly choices. We need to access the Spirit in these kinds of decisions because besides choosing Christ–choosing a spouse is the most important decision we will make.

  7. The problem with the idea of a “soul mate” is that it implies marriage is easy, as long as you’re with the right one.

    I’m not married, but I’m also not naive enough to think that when I find “the one” everything will magically be okay.

    Love is a choice. Every day, we have to choose to love those around us. Jesus says “Take up your cross DAILY.” And in the same way, we can’t expect a “soul mate” to mean relationships don’t take hard work on a daily basis in order to keep them healthy. It’s a process, there is no “one and done” when it comes to two individual people relating to one another.

    Andy Stanley also talks a lot about the “Right Person Myth” in his series called “The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating.” It’s excellent! :)

    1. Mikayla,
      What a great and wise comment!

      I will say, however, that my marriage is easy and I think it has a lot to do with who I chose.

      I don’t think marriage should be “hard work.” I am always confused when people say that. What kind of endorsement for marriage are we making when we walk around talking about how difficult it is?

      Dying to one’s self is hard. Following Christ daily when your flesh would say otherwise is hard. But if you are doing that within your marriage, well them marriage should be easy.

      My husband and I surrender to Christ and as a result our marriage is pretty much conflict free. I’ll also admit that our personalities together just fit. We don’t grind each other or annoy each other. We are great friends.

      It doesn’t hurt either that I–the girl with a past and lots of baggage–married an extremely healthy, whole, and Godly man. He makes me healthier by osmosis.

      1. Nicole,
        I love everything I hear about your marriage! I can only hope that more people seek to follow Christ first and in turn have the kind of love you and your husband share. So inspiring.

        Let me point out- I didn’t say “marriage” is hard, but rather that relationships are. I agree that marriage shouldn’t be hard work.

        Relationships before marriage are where the work comes in. You see very few legitimate “marriage problems” in the world today. Most of the problems are just single people problems (baggage) that didn’t get dealt with before marriage. And then when those problems are brought into a marriage with someone else, it becomes a conflict.

        The theory here is that if single people did the hard work of preparing themselves for a relationship BEFORE they got into one, and then again before they commit to one for life, the amount of divorces we are seeing and “unhappy marriages” would drastically decrease.

        I’m only 20, so I admit I have a lot to learn. And I also admit that everything I say is MUCHHHH easier said than done.
        But I can say I’m confident that focusing on working on my own baggage and healing, making myself healthy and whole before bringing a man into the mix, will make my future marriage as successful as yours!

  8. Mikayla – you are right on, girl!! Well said and so true. You are very wise and that post says a lot to me. Thank you.

    1. Kris, I was actually really nervous about posting the comment because I am new to the whole blog-commenting world…glad to hear somebody liked it :)

  9. This has been on my mind so much lately!

    I feel like I was never taught how to choose a mate. I was constantly fed stories of “I saw him walk into church and God said…” This idea of the heavens parting and the light shining down has been grafted into my subconscious since I was a young lady of 13. And when you add in the horribly damaging books of the time like “I Kissed Dating Good-bye” well, I pretty much kissed many years of learning how to relate in a healthy way to the opposite sex good-bye.

    For the past two years God called, yes called, me into a relationship with a man. I knew that I knew that we were supposed to be together-for however long God wanted and to whatever end. We just broke up about two months ago. Never in that time did I have that “know that I know” certainty about our future or if I was ever going to be his wife. So now I am left with a question that I have been posing to as many Christians as I can: How do people choose, and at the same time “know that they know” they are making the right choice. I no longer believe in the clouds parting and God saying ‘Here he is.'(Except, like you said in a very few, smile inducing, instances.) I am beginning to sense, for the first time that God gave us sexual attraction as a first step toward making that choice. That maybe instead of clouds parting its really a matter of meeting someone, liking the way they look, loving how they love Jesus, figuring you could handle them being around everyday for the rest of your life and choosing. Pretty simple really.

    Just a little problem…this is a hard concept in the Christian church! No one asks anyone out. Why is that? Are they waiting for the cloud parting thing? Do I not raise my hands enough in worship? Did I misquote their favorite scripture? Okay, being silly now but really. How did you date Nichole? Not only that, but is it wrong to go on dates and never really commit to a relationship? It may just be the post break-up after long term relationship blues, but I would love to just go out on a date. I don’t want a relationship right now. Just a date. Plain and simple. I wonder if God gives people seasons of dating? Well…I loved your points. Very much right on with my own train of thinking and praying these days. What a blessing!

    1. Deanna,

      Your comment is loaded with great questions and wisdom. I could write 3 posts just from your comment alone.

      I agree that most people are waiting for the clouds to part and lighting to strike. I admit that I was. I was waiting for a supernatural voice from heaven..”Nicole, marry this man. He is the one for you.”

      But it never happened. God is much less vocal on choosing a spouse than we would like. But I think there is good reason for that.

      As for dating without it leading to marriage, I’m all for it. I think dating–in healthy Christian context–can be good for us and great preparation for marriage.

      Dating isn’t for everyone. Nor should Christians force one school of thinking on others over another. However, I personally believe we can benefit if we allow Jesus to remain the center of those relationships.

  10. Nicole, I’m glad you spoke up about all these people who say marriage is so hard. Yes, there will be disagreements and hard times, but if you make a wise choice (in my opinion, someone you genuinely like spending time with-not just someone you are madly in love with at the moment- and one who shares your belief in God) the day to day should not be a struggle.

    Several years ago, I knew a couple who were married 10 years. They invited me and this other girl over for Valentine’s Day. I thought it was odd and after dinner asked the wife if her husband had forgotten what day it was. Her response was “Oh no,we have eachother everyday and it’s so easy. I don’t understand when people say marriage is so hard.”. It’s because they were the right fit.

    If it’s difficult in dating it will be worse in marriage and that is why I haven’t yet gotten married. When it’s right, it will seem relatively easy/natural save for a few disagreements here and there.

    I’m not naïve about all the daily decisions couples have to go through (I lived with a married couple for over 3 months) but if you genuinely care for one another you will die to yourself (more Christianese, sorry) and try to see the others perspctive. :)

    1. Alexis,
      Exactly! I know of a pastor who counseled someone on marriage and said “If you have the choice between marrying someone who you get along with every day versus someone who you think is completely amazing, but you struggle to get along with everday–marry the first.” He said that he himself had made the opposite choice and his marriage was hard work everyday as a result.

      Yes, courtship, engagement, and marriage can be romantic, but practicality and wisdom are also essential.

  11. My husband and I are soul mates, but you’re right—it’s because we chose it. I do think God made us perfect for each other, and there may have been other men who could have fit the bill, I guess, but I didn’t meet them. lol Love is a choice, and growing together spiritually to fit the term “soul mate” is also a choice—not a cosmic event.

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