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Soul Mate, Part 2

  • January 6th, 2010 by Pastor Darryl Curtis   |  1 Comment

If you have any questions, comments or criticisms on this or any other topic, please feel free to let me know. It is easier for me to pick topics if I have your feedback. Thanks again for reading. I hope that this blesses your relationships, and may the Lord be with you.

A couple of blog entries ago, I discussed the concept of a “soul mate”. The dictionary definition of a soul mate is one of two persons compatible with each other in disposition, point of view, or sensitivity. The colloquial definition of a soul mate is a person that God made especially for us; someone who is compatible with us in every way and with whom we will fit as effortlessly as a hand fits in a glove. I mentioned that there is no such thing as a “soul mate”. But there is a reason for the soul mate fantasy.

Genesis 24 records that the Patriarch Abraham sent his most trusted servant back to his homeland of Mesopotamia to find his son a wife, and the servant found Abraham’s beautiful, agreeable, unmarried niece who agreed to return with him to become Isaac’s wife.

Abraham’s specification to his servant for Isaac’s wife was that she be a virginal young woman that shared a common culture with their family and worshipped their God. When two people share a common culture and a common opinion of how a husband and a wife should behave, their wedding vows are their agreement to each behave in that manner. If a man and wife have a mutually pleasing expectation of behavior, they have compatibility, and as long as each spouse fulfills the expectation of the other, they will find marriage pleasing.

In selecting a wife for his son, Abraham avoided diversity, because diversity in expectation of behavior between a husband and a wife causes irritation between the spouses, as neither spouse will probably get their expectation met. Imagine how irritated you would be if you were hired to do a job and the person that hired you had a higher expectation of how much you would be paid than the person writing the checks. Suppose the person that hired you told you your wage was $1000, but the paymaster thought that your wage was $975. You would probably find the $25 difference to be a source or irritation, and it would greatly reduce your gratitude for the $975 that you did receive.

When a man marries a woman and vice versa, each of them has an expectation of the benefits that they will receive in exchange for giving up their freedom to live for the other person. When the man’s expectations of benefits and the woman’s expectations of benefits do not match each other, the result is irritation with the other person, a lack of gratitude for having a spouse, and the possible eventual dissolution of the marriage. It would be reasonable for the partners to make their expectations clear to one another before the marriage occurs.

The “soul mate” idea is the romantic notion that clear expectations are unnecessary, because God has created a person specifically for us that will automatically meet all of our expectations without our having to clarify them. Pre-martially, it is the considered the height of romance to just “know” what your intended wants or needs. In practical application, however, marriages would be much better served if each partner recognized that the other partner doesn’t just “know” their expectations, but needs to have those expectations specifically clarified. Now, it is virtually impossible to clarify expectations for every eventuality before marriage, but an experienced marriage counselor can help the couple clarify their expectations about many issues of marriage that the couple may not realize will become pivotal after the vows are spoken.

In addition, God has given us some rules about settling disputes in marriage. He tells us, in Ephesians 5:22-24:
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.
24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
           
So, in the case of a disagreement in expectations, the husband is intended to be the ultimate decision maker. But the husband is not supposed to make his decisions based upon his own whims or desires, as Ephesians 5:25, 28 tells us: 

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 

28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
           
Loving a wife as Christ loves the church means that should a disagreement in expectations require someone to make a sacrifice, the husband is called to make the sacrifice, just as Christ was called to sacrifice His life for the church.

            Having a good marriage requires each spouse to follow God’s rules when faced with situations in which the expectations were not clarified before marriage. For a wife to follow God’s rule to be submissive to her husband is a decision, and for a husband to follow God’s rule to be loving and self-sacrificial is also a decision. The ability to make Godly decisions is a matter of maturity, which we each have to develop. So, it is better to verify that your intended partner understands and is resolved to do that which God instructs us than to rely on God to do the work for you and send you a “soul mate”.

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One Response for "Soul Mate, Part 2"

  1. MBC January 7th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Blessed is the woman who finds a husband who would sacrifice his life for her, just as Christ sacrificed His life for the Church.
    I urge every woman to find this kind of man before you choose to marry. You must be prayerful and patient but the payoff can be a lifetime of happiness!


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