When I used to speak romantically to my husband about the enthusiasm I have for our love; the fact that our love felt like fate, that we were meant to be, that we were soulmates, I used to get a disappointing response – he didn’t believe in “soulmates.”
This is to be expected from my husband. He is nothing if not a realist. His feet are firmly on the ground, so any flighty feelings of romanticism tend to allude him.
Me: What about all the things that led us to each other!?!
Him: There are over 7 billion people on the planet, I haven’t met them all. Its statistically impossible that you are the most perfectly matched person out there for me.
Psh. He just didn’t understand the greater forces in the universe that pushed us together. What if my parents never got divorced? What if I had never moved to Austin? What if I had chosen a different band instrument to play in the 6th grade? What if I never met the girl in my dorm lobby who convinced me the USMC had been amazing for her family, not scary like I thought? All these things set us up to find each other and be together! Right? Couldn’t he see that this is all destiny putting us together?
It was no use. He couldn’t understand the romantic forces at work here, so I just kept that special feeling of fate to myself.
Then, on our 7th wedding anniversary, I had an epiphany. He was right. It’s impossible that we’re soulmates…and that’s actually even more special and powerful than if we were.
It’s a wonderful thing to feel like you’re connected in a way that transcends all reason, and I do think that should be celebrated and harnessed, but I also realized there’s a flaw in relying on this feeling: what if you’re wrong? In each of your weaker moments as a couple, or in the face of change, what if cynicism grows and you let doubt creep in? That doubt has the power to crack the image of your soulmate, the power to just allow you to walk away because it must mean you were simply wrong about being with this person in the first place, that your soulmate is actually elsewhere.
See, there is something just a little more incredible about building the life and love you want instead of expecting it to just be inherent (which is one of the reasons I find arranged marriages and plural marriages so fascinating, but I digress). The love between two people can only be stronger when you understand it’s something in which you choose to be active, not something bound by unrealistic expectations.
I don’t know what it was about this latest anniversary – I tend to like to wax nostalgic about our history and how much we’ve grown together and how lucky we are. I always thought that “lucky” feeling was the fates talking to me. Perhaps by taking stock this past October of the feeling of contentment I feel from raising our boys together, or the acts of service we do for each other on a daily basis, or our willingness to say “thank you” for the small things or admit when we are wrong are what made me realize that it’s not fate that makes us so lucky, it’s the choices we make together.
Our marriage means that we have committed to continue to make these choices together, and so, yes, to my “perfectly compatible soulmate” out there somewhere I must say, “I give up!” My heart belongs to another and I choose him!