A great marriage is not when the “perfect couple” come together.  It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences. ~ Dave Meurer

Unfortunately, some people use very strange criteria in making their decision about who to marry. They have some limited set of characteristics in their heads that tell them when they’ve found Mr. or Ms. Right. How often have you heard someone say, “I’m getting married because I found my soul mate”?

He Knows My Inner Being

Never fully defined in any literature, the term “soul mate” is used by people as if we all clearly understood what is meant. We have asked a number of people to explain what a soul mate is. We never get the same answer. Nevertheless, it’s a popular buzzword. Some definitions of a soul mate is a person who…

  • has the same background as you.  
  • thinks like you.
  • understands you.  
  • knows you before even really knowing you.
  • knows you better than you know yourself.  
  • you can talk with for hours even when you first meet.  
  • has the same interests and hobbies as you.  
  • has your best interests at heart.

Others say a soul mate…

  • sees into your inner being.  
  • is like the missing half of you.  
  • is a perfect match for you.  
  • is your twin or counterpart.  
  • is the one, true person for you.  
  • immediately connects with you.

If you think there is only one person out there who is the right one for you, you are vulnerable to marry when you think you have found that person. There is much evidence that there are likely many people in the world who would make an acceptable mate for you. The risk of thinking otherwise is that when you believe you have found “the one,” you abandon all sensibility and are driven to marry that person. Some people believe in soul mates because of their divorce experience. It didn’t work with my ex because he was the “wrong one.” Now I will go and find the right one, who will be the opposite of my ex.

Since you believe there is such a thing as the one soul mate in the world for you, you have some preconceived notions in mind. Some people are searching for someone “just like me.” Others believe that someone is their soul mate if they have similar backgrounds, thoughts, or views. Still others believe they will intuitively know a soul mate by their connectedness to them. We’re not saying that having things in common isn’t important. Quite the contrary, it is very relevant in a successful marriage. The problem comes when you are on a mission to find an individual who has one or a few narrow set of similarities or characteristics, and you take it as a sign to marry.

Finding a soul mate is a great start, but people are multidimensional. You cannot judge a person as right for you because he or she has certain similarities or just seems tuned in to you. Now you need to spend considerable time learning all about other aspects, such as the differences between you, the habits and quirks he has, any shared values, dreams, goals, opinions, and so forth. Don’t fall into the trap of the “soul mate mentality” and think someone is right just based on initial impressions.

When He Said Soul Mate, I Knew…

Sheila was married for 17 years to an advertising executive who was never at home. Their marriage happened because she got pregnant during their dating phase, and they got married to legitimize their offspring. Sheila had three children by the age of 36. The lack of availability of her husband drove Sheila to have an affair with the husband of a friend. This relationship went on undetected for four years before Sheila finally decided she could not handle the strain any longer. At that point she asked for a divorce. Once divorced, the friend’s husband quickly backed out of their tryst. She was suddenly available and a threat to his current marriage.