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Wifey Wednesday: Is He Your Soul Mate?
The title of this post is actually a misnomer, because I don't believe in soul mates.

Now please don't tell me how unromantic I am. It's just that I don't think marriages succeed because we marry the right person. I think they succeed because we become the right person.

Earlier this month my friend Terry at Breathing Grace wrote a brilliant post on soul mates--or the lack thereof. Here's a taste:

I believe that almost any two people, who are truly committed to living out Biblical principles in their relationship can have a great, fulfilling, romantic and even exciting marriage. And yes, I said almost any two people. ...I should add, for the sake of clarity, that the "any two people" in question should, of necessity, be of the opposite gender. I have to keep reminding myself that what used to go without saying doesn't anymore. But I digress.

I know that my statement flies in the face of every thing we have been lead to believe in western culture about love and marriage, not the least of which is that the main purpose of marriage is our personal happiness and fulfillment. Is it any wonder that the divorce rate among Christians is roughly the same as it is among non-believers? If, however, we would approach our marriages with the mind of Christ, the idea that our chief end is to glorify God, we could enjoy our spouses and children so much more than we do. When "what about me?" is no longer in the forefront of our thinking, deep and abiding love can take root, the kind of love that transcends the poor substitute that we have come to mistake for the real thing.
I really encourage you to read the whole thing. Please.

But I thought today I would base my Wifey Wednesday on this thought that she started.

The truth is that when we marry, we tend to marry with one goal in mind: to be happy. This is the man who will make me happy for the rest of my life! We're ecstatic. We're optimistic. We're in love.

Hopefully we did marry someone who is similar to us, who loves God, who has the same values. But here's the kicker: even if you did marry someone who appears perfect for you, it doesn't mean your marriage will be perfect. And I think we all know people who have divorced, and we look back and say, "Why? They were so perfect together!"

That's because marriages don't stay together simply because the other person is perfect. The truth is that nobody is perfectly compatible with you. We all go into marriage with unrealistic expectations of what the other person will be like: they will be ultra romantic; they will do more than half the housework; they will never want to be out with the boys anymore. And he has his expectations, too! And then once you've been married for a while, you see all the ways in which he isn't making you happy.

At the same time, you probably have children who demand your attention. Or you have a job or school to preoccupy you. And you end up spending more time on these things than on your husband.

You grow apart, you build walls between you, and the marriage can crumble. Even if you married someone who was wonderful for you.

Marriages only stay together when we decide to commit ourselves to the relationship. When we challenge ourselves, each and every day, to love our husbands. When we think about his needs, and his desires, before we think about our own. This doesn't mean that we ignore our own needs; that's not biblical, either. But we do need to think about his. And if we concentrate on what we're grateful for about him, and try to do things that he will enjoy, we create a different attitude in ourselves.

We're thinking about the good things about him, not how he's not meeting my needs. We're giving to him, which makes us into bigger people to start with. We're growing less selfish and more holy, and all of these things help to build an intimate marriage.

We're also building the foundation where it's easier for us to discuss our own legitimate needs. If you accept your husband for who he is, and give to him, he will be far more open to hearing your concerns than if you're always nagging him.

None of this, though, is contingent on him being that super-duper perfect person. It's not dependent on him at all; it's dependent on you. And that's why soulmates don't matter.

Marriages only last when we decide to give. We can do that whether or not the person is the perfect person for us. It's entirely dependent on our own attitude. And even if the person does appear perfect, if we don't give, the marriage won't last.

Is there such a thing as one perfect soulmate? My grandfather married three different women, each as different from the others as could be. They kept getting cancer and dying on him, so he was married to the first for 25 years, and the second and third for 17 years each. And he was happy in each marriage. When he was left, after the third had passed away, he had pictures of all three on his mantle. He loved them all. And he gave to them all. It wasn't about there just being one perfect person; it was about him loving his spouse, and he did it beautifully.

So may that be an encouragement to you. If you look at your husband now and think of all the ways you're not really compatible, and you wonder if that means the relationship is over, think again. It's not about him. It's about you. So let's start 2009 with a new attitude about marriage!

Do you have any marriage advice to share with us? Why not put it in the Mr. Linky? Just go to your own blog, write a post about marriage, and come back here and put the URL of the post in the Mr. Linky. We'd love to hear from you!

If you want more advice on marriage, my books To Love, Honor and Vacuum and Honey, I Don't Have a Headache Tonight can help!

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At 8:19 AM , Anonymous QuietMom said…

Another excellent post!


At 10:52 AM , Anonymous Heather @ The Striving Wife said…

I just started to go over "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman over at and it's right along these same lines! Love it, thanks for sharing!


At 12:11 PM , Anonymous Page said…

Hi, thank you so much as I really needed your post and it came at the right time :)

Happy New Year by the way


At 7:41 PM , Blogger Julie said…

You're so right...

Who was it that said, "I have an incompatible wife, incompatible kids, and an incompatible dog." Meaning that none of us are really "compatible". It's a decision, a commitment, a lot of hard work, and a blessing (!) to make a marriage strong.


At 3:18 PM , Blogger Michèle and Mike's Blog said…

okay...guilty..thanks Sheila for letting us see the TRUTH...and to keep working on ourselves!!

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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