I’ll never forget the day. Like the sparkle of a diamond, her presence caught my attention. I was sixteen, at a church meeting, and from the moment Amanda walked in the room, she captivated me. Upon seeing her for the first time I leaned over to my sister and said, “See that girl right there? She’s going to be my girlfriend.” Of course my sister replied with “Gosh, you’re so arrogant!” But I didn’t care, I had to have her. Eight months later, my prediction became reality. Now she’s my wife.
Was this love at first sight? Was this the first time I met my soul-mate? Or was this just chance?
To begin, there is no such thing as chance. The Bible says, “The lot is cast into the lap, but every decision is from the LORD.” (Prov. 16:33) God is sovereign, meaning that he rules over all things, all people, and all decisions. God even rules over the “chance” falling of dice at the casino, and over the “chance” meetings that spark romance.
So God knew, and even planned that I would meet Amanda. But does this make her my soul-mate? Do soul-mates even exist?
What is “Soul Mate Love?”
Urban Dictionary defines a soul-mate as follows:
“The one person who can always make you smile, who shares your hopes and dreams, who makes you whole. Folklore claims that when a soul descends to earth it splits in two, each half of the soul inhabiting a separate body. These two people are forever after 'soul-mates,' and will never be complete until they find one another.”
According to this definition, your soul mate completes you, so when you are around them, you feel whole. It assumes that there are right fits and wrong fits. When you meet the right person, the sparks fly. Trying to date or marry the wrong person will surely not work out. Broken relationships are nothing more than two people trying to have a relationship even though they were never meant to be together. For this reason, many people find themselves longing and waiting for the right person to cross their path.
In soul-mate love, love is a feeling. When you meet them, you can’t help but fall in love with them. You become absolutely helpless in the grip of your affections. So your commitment to the relationship is based upon your affections (love) for the person. Soul-mate love operates under the notion that your affections (love) for the other person will never dwindle, because after all, they are your soul mate. But is this reality? What if your affections change? Are you still soul-mates?
If you’ve been in a serious relationship for any length of time, you know that the idea of having everlasting affections toward another person is romantic, but not reality. Soul-mate love puts the burden of your affections on the other person. But when the other person fails you, and especially when they hurt you, your affections change, and you both become disappointed and unhappy.
What is “True Love?”
But what if true love isn’t a feeling? What if true love is a choice? Healthy marriages that last know that love involves emotion, but is not rooted in it. True love is a choice. True love is not about two people joining together because they are they are a perfect fit. Rather it is about two misfit people committing to join together regardless of their imperfections. We agree to this at marriage ceremonies when we say, “I will love you, for better or for worse, until death do us part.” So basically, I am choosing to love you in the good times and the bad times. I am choosing to love you, even when I don’t feel like it. This kind of love is powerful and everlasting.
"True love is a choice."
True love is powerful because it is a picture of God’s love for his people. The Bible never says that God’s people are a perfect fit for him. In fact, it says quite the opposite. God is steadfastly loving and faithful, and we are rebellious and wicked. In some places of the Bible, God actually calls his people whores (Ezekiel 16). But he loves them none the less.
God doesn’t passively fall into love with his people, he chooses to love them. He knows the broken state of our souls but chooses to love them anyway. Philippians 2:3-8 says Jesus did not count equality with God a thing to be used for his own advantage, but became human to serve, love, and die for his people. He didn’t fall off his throne in love because we were so amazing, but in love chose to step off his throne, even though we weren’t amazing. True love is a choice.
Soul-mate love says “I feel affection toward this person, therefore I give my life.” But true love says, “I give my life to this person, therefore I give my affection.”
Soul-mate love rightly understands that your soul is incomplete, but it wrongly assumes that it can be made complete by another sinful human. It is only when you accept the true love of the perfect Christ that you will be free to love your spouse. It is only when you are able to see love as a choice that you will be escape the helpless grip of your affections. You will be free to love, regardless of how you feel.