The word “soulmate” makes me cringe. I’m pretty happy with the guy I married, but in no way are we soulmates. There are roughly a bazillion factors that got us to this place that we’re at together in life, but none of them have to do with us belonging together for spiritual or other reasons. Here are some of the reasons why that is.
Reason #1: We’re some of the lucky ones
My husband and I found each other at the perfect time in our lives to fall in love. We were young, had very similar world views, and wanted to start a family. While our meeting when both of us were working at a steakhouse in Boston was certainly good luck, it could have easily been someone else for either of us. It almost was.
I know he loves me and I definitely adore him, but if any number of small factors hadn’t added up, we wouldn’t have worked out in the long run. We’re lucky we found each other, but if we hadn’t, I’m pretty confident that we both would have found others to spend our lives with.
Reason #2: There’s nothing “destined” about it
The idea that you’re actually designed or meant to be with one other person makes me uncomfortable. How do you actually know that the person you’re with right now is it? Sure, you could do a Google search to find a great checklist, but all those feelings and behaviors are bound to change by next week. When you get married or are in a relationship, you’re in it with that person — not a laundry list of their current attributes. Relationships are not static. They grow and change as the people in them do.
We created our “fate”, and we work hard to make it a successful one. I love my husband every day, but whether I like him or not on a daily basis depends greatly on how much chocolate I have in the house. Tomorrow it will be different than today, but what is for sure, is that regardless of how we change, we’ll still be working on “us”. You can certainly feel so connected to another human being that you’re sure it had to be him or her in your life, but the hard truth is that if you aren’t fighting for it, the relationship is not going to work out.
Reason #3: It’s a partnership, plain and simple
I have no illusions about my marriage, and I don’t think there’s anything special about it. We’re here, together, at this place in our lives because we want to be. There’s a ton of give and take — some days more one than the other.
Whether you’re a parent or not, being in a marriage can take its toll on your sanity. There are days when it’s all but impossible to remember why you thought it was a good idea to chain yourself to your partner for a lifetime. Other days, of course, everyone is so damn in love that rainbows are, in fact, coming out of their asses; that’s usually when you start hearing talk of soulmates. This pisses me off because it reduces something that’s hard work to something that was actually just handed to you. This is never the case.
Being in a partnership is difficult and complicated and completely maddening at the best of times. Even on the days when it’s all rainbows, I always remember that we’re not here because it was destined, but because we chose to be. Because our marriage is less than a given, we fight everyday to keep the odds in our favor.