The recent report from PsychCentral news that soul-mates may actually have lousy relationships, does nominally prove that believing soul-mates are perfect matches and will always live in harmony and unity is bunk.
This leads to the question: What is a soul-mate?
The Jewish sages teach that every person has a soul*, and that each soul is missing its other half, which was assigned to it before birth. In some cases, we might have more than one destined partner, but we still have only one other true soul-half. Part of our life may be spent seeking the other half. Sometimes the other half shows up without our prior realization that our soul has been longing for and seeking it.
An Old Story
This is a traditional story. A royal Roman lady calls a wise man to her palace. She asks, “How many days did it take for God to create the world?
The wise man answers, “Six.”
“So,” said the Roman lady, from the seventh day until now, what’s He been busy doing?”
“Making soul-matches. He designates this soul shall marry that soul.”
The Roman lady scoffed. “Ridiculous. Why should making a soul-match require so much power? I have a lot of male servants and maids, and I’ll pair them all up in a day.”
The wise man said, “It’s actually as difficult as splitting the Red Sea.”
She laughed and snapped her fingers. One thousand male servants and one thousand maidservants entered the hall and bowed at her feet. The royal lady lined up the men on one side of the grand hall, and the maids on the other and began to pair them off.
“You,” she pointed at one maid, “go to him,” she pointed at a male. “I now pronounce you man and wife!”
The din from the fighting that took place that night in the palace was nothing compared to the miserable men and women who showed up for work in the morning.
Not a single one of them was happy. Both men and women were bruised, sullen, or openly angry.
But, aren’t plenty of people who chose each other miserable too?
Yes, but not necessarily because they aren’t soul mates. They might be miserable because they are soul-mates who haven’t assimilated the mission of marriage.
If both, or even one partner believes that their spouse is on a special soul-mission to help them reach their highest spiritual potential, every aspect of their relationship changes.
If you deeply believe that your spouse is there to encourage or even prod you towards self-reflection, self-actualization, and humility—which is essential—even your non-believing spouse may mirror your beliefs with his or her actions.
A soul-mate doesn’t necessarily agree with everything you like. Sometimes, our greatest spiritual growth, is when we are opposed*. Sometimes in a relationship, the downs are as valuable, or more valuable, than the ups. (Of course, it’s best when two people are committed.)
I realize that this is not a popular concept, but it is one which has worked well for people who live it. It helps to put arguments and disagreements in perspective.
What is a soul-mate? Someone who is hear to help you (as you are to help them) complete their spiritual growth in this lifetime, not someone who agrees with you on everything. Or even necessarily most things.
*There are several aspects and qualities of the soul, a few levels of the soul, too, and though interesting, is outside the scope of this post.
*Opposed not abused. Clearly, an abusive relationship is something that while it may encourage your personal growth, is not acceptable.
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Last reviewed: 28 Jul 2014