Episode 78 – Giving up Your Soul Mate
Join Josh and Kit this week as they pull down the idea of the ultimate soul mate.
I was making demands on him that were unreasonable, and I didn’t know it.
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Original music by Shannon Smith. Audio engineering by Gabriel @ DelMar Sound Recording.
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You know that movie where there’s a big party or a big gathering and a beautiful young woman is there and a handsome guys there and they don’t know each other at all, but at some point the guy looks across the room and he sees this young woman and then something catches her and something inside of her knows that somebody is looking at cheat. She looks across the room and, and she sees this guy looking at her. She sees him, he sees her. They just know, you know, they just know something about that one. I’m supposed to move across the room and they move across the room and they start talking and they’ve got so much in common and they just click remember there aren’t even words. They start dancing and they can just feel from the other person we belonged together before the nights through. They know it. They’ve found their soul mate,
They’re engaged and married before the end of the year.
Talk about this idea of soulmates and we actually want to pull it down because it’s such a, as as good as there is for that longing of like being seen and known. Having somebody come across the room for us, that’s a good and Holy longing. It’s also mixed in. There is some real
Crap. Here’s an example of a song I’d never lived before. Your love, I’d never felt before your touch and I never needed anyone to make me feel alive, but then again I wasn’t really living so you know like that’s what we listened to. That’s the water we swim in, movies we see in songs we watch that set us up for this kind of nonsense. Yeah. So
Talking and we wanted to share some thoughts with you because we, we do see there’s this idea of a soulmate or somebody that kind of anticipates your every need. They know what you want. You don’t need to say anything. They get it. They, they, you know, they’re, they’re there to serve you when you need it. When you’re low, they, they, they go with you when you’re celebrating, they’re celebrating with you. And it’s just kind of like this ease of movement. It’s like life is a dance, you know? And that’s just not real life. And not only that, it’s not our best life. And that’s the real thing we want to get after this idea of a soulmate. This is kind of like, you know, we just fit kind of person actually can be really debilitating and really limiting for us.
Yeah. Make a self absorbed and a prideful and, you know, yeah. Yeah. So say more about that. Like what, what would it be like if you, if, if you had married someone who was just like, you can’t, I mean, like aren’t great. And part of me, I think it’d be like, aren’t we great? We just so great because we wouldn’t have anybody saying wow, you know, like when you do that, I that here’s actually another way that I think or receive and it, and it, it makes you more aware of the differences and how they can be so helpful and complimentary. And so I also think that if I was married to someone just like me, Oh my gosh. Like we’d be an emotional car racking. I mean there wouldn’t be anybody regulating the emotion like in my marriage.
Yeah. Cause you’re like, you’re more emotional, your husband [inaudible]
Yes. He’s more reserved. He’s more careful. He’s more like thoughtful and you know, he takes his time before he reacts. And so, you know, there’d be a lot of things that would be pretty difficult if we didn’t have each other to kind of I mean, right. Just I in sharper, it sharpens iron. There is something that happens there that’s really beautiful. It’s hard at first and you think there’s something wrong.
I think we get this idea like, you know, to be, to be complimentary of one another. It just fits, you know, and I think that’s, that’s a good goal in a, in a, in a world where we have immaturity and we need to grow and we’re being sanctified and we have sin, it doesn’t just fit. There are some rough edges as we complete each other. So some of the differences that come to mind for me when I think about like this just is not a good soulmate pairing, so to speak would be one. One is like, you know, one is really emotional and one is really analytical. One is the marriage you mean? Yeah, well that’s the you gave that, right? So one is a really a few seven outgoing people person and a high introvert. Like I just really uncomfortable with crowds. One one would be, I think, you know, somebody who really, really likes maybe to work with their hands are kind of just get projects done and one isn’t, you know, let’s just sit down and talk. Let’s we want to connect relationally. That’s my, my wife and I are like that. Like I’m, I grew up in a family where, you know, there’s a lot of conversations and she grew up in a, in a family where like, let’s just go do something together. Yeah. other examples of kind of the,
I, I, you know, it’s so funny when you say that because I feel like if you had said yeah, in a marriage, wherever the, the two people both want to just sit down and read together all the time or sit down and go out and do things together. I’m like, there is a beauty of thinking, you know, there’s somebody who wants to sit down and talk and there’s a beauty of, okay, now let’s go do something. Like there’s just a richness of differences that can come. And I think you can think of it in any possible all kinds of ways, you know? I think the main things that you mentioned are, are really kinda the main categories.
I’m sure there are more. I’m sure there are more, but, but I think, I think part of we’re trying to get after is well let me split me cause I’m gonna shift gears a little bit. I’ve talked to so many married couples and I’ve experienced this temptation in my own mind too, that when we hit some of those real differences, hit some of those places that don’t seem to be changing. This just seems to be something about who you are and there’s a distance between who you are and who I am can be really tempting to feel like something’s wrong. We, I’m in the wrong marriage, I married the wrong person, I’m missing out on God’s best for me or, or that, that kind of, that, that soulmate, that, that ideal marriage that I’d always dreamed, dreamed about.
And this happened in my marriage where we actually came to a bit of a standoff and we had been going through some hard things as a family. So we were vulnerable. But we, some of our differences really Rose to the surface. And I would say to him, I feel like you don’t like me. Like, you don’t want to be with me. And he’d be like, I do, I love you and I want to be with you. I’m like, I just, I’m not feeling it. And he would say, I feel like you’re kind of an intensity junkie. Like you want to be like deep and emotional and all the time. And I, I just can’t, I don’t think I can live there. And so because we were under stress, I think we both kind of, some of our brokenness came to the surface and we were trying to get the other one to, you know, kind of join in with us when in reality through some counseling what we found out was, Oh wait I need to honor the fact that, you know, Greg is going to show me his love in different ways.
I wasn’t seeing it. He needed to honor the fact that I’m wired relationally and emotionally and that can be a good thing. And so once we figured that out, it became an asset, a good thing. Not a, not a detriment.
That’s great. I think we live in an age, in a culture that when, when a lot of people hit that kind of spot, the, the couple dis grows further and further apart. I love that you guys did counseling. It’s a humble thing to do. I’m, I, I remember before I got married, counseling helped me so much of my life that I was like, Hey, not if we need it, but when we need it. Are you willing to get counseling? Because I knew that there’d be difficulty. You bring two different people together. One flesh, there’s going to be difficulty, but you said it’s actually been a, a benefit, not just a detriment. Maybe so it’s not been a detriment. Like we’ve worked through it. It’s going to benefit. How, Oh my
Gosh. I mean, I think now when Greg might you know, be more quiet or not initiate something, I don’t go, Oh, he doesn’t love me. He doesn’t like me as I want to be with me. I go, that’s the way Greg is. He is more quiet. He’s not, he’s not going to, you know, necessarily initiate the way I think it should be initiated. A date night. He will, but I wasn’t recognizing it. And when I’m emotional, instead of being like, Oh, that’s threatened me, that scares me. He’ll even say like, I really appreciated how you talked to that person about that issue and how you were able to emote and care
And have compassion. So, you know, we’ve really learned to appreciate it instead of be threatened by it. Yes. Instead of kind of like the, Oh, you know, there she goes again or there he goes again. Right. It’s always going to be this way, kind of in an, in a posture of despair. It’s, it’s even, it’s a recognizing, yep, this is who she is, this is who he is. It will always be this way and that’s good. Or, or it’s just his like, I don’t have to be disappointed and take it personally. I can be like, Oh, I wouldn’t do that and say that. But that’s what Greg does and that’s what Greg says and it’s okay. Yeah. So this is kind of, so I’m thinking theologically here for a minute. God is if there’s a soulmate, the one who anticipates our needs can look across the room.
And I think when I, when we started this podcast, I said there’s something really good and Holy about that longing. I think it’s because we long for God, we logged for the one who really knows every, every piece of the fabric of who we are. They know the way we think. They know that where we feel they’re able to come in and meet our every need to anticipate where we are to tend to us in ways that just we need to speak the language of our hearts when we need it most. We’re talking about God, there are no people can, can do that for us sometimes. That’s a grace by God. But, but usually like w we are left wanting at least eventually with people because they can’t always do that for us. Yeah. So God is the most like us and he’s also the most different from us.
He is so other, he’s so like unlike you and me. And so I think if we, I think this is what part of what, what James is getting after when he says, you know, how can you say that you love God when you despise your brother, you know, like, like God is, God is, is not you. And so you can’t say that you, you love God, but you despise another person. Part of are part of what God wants to do when he connects us to people who are unlike us is to grow our ability to see others, to love others, to honor others as they are, and to learn, to interpret and to, and to give love in ways that are just, that are bigger than just ourselves on our own. Absolutely. And when we go to God for that, what we were looking to other people for and that gets filled up, then we will be healed from some of that.
And we won’t be threatened when they don’t do something that we want them to do. But rather we’ll learn to be like, and this has happened in our marriage where we’ll, we learn to be like, Oh, well, you know, Greg really likes a lot of time by himself. I’m gonna honor that. And when I do that, I started to learn to appreciate a lot more time by myself. Yeah. And vice versa. He’ll say, well, I know kit really likes to watch these movies that are, you know, romantic or, you know, whatever. And he’s like, we’ll do that, we’ll enjoy that. And he’s come to enjoy them more. So when we’re not threatened because we are getting a lot of what we need from God, then it frees us to, you know, enjoy each other more. We are this, one of our, the biggest difference differences between my wife and I, we experienced on our honeymoon, we were, sorry, our first anniversary, I remember this was kind of just characteristic us.
We were, we were at the beach and she said, you want to go for a walk on the beach? I said, I’d love to. So I went out and to me a walk in the beaches of stroll, you know, you, you, you, you, you, it’s a lazy walk. You, you reach down and pick up shells. You, you stop often and look out at the ocean, you know for her a walk in the beaches exercise and you know, and so she’s big power and 30 and I’d like looking up the beach. He’s a hundred years, it’d be talking. How rude is this? Like you asked if you, if I want to do what, I’ll walk with you and you’re walking by yourself. So we got into this fight, you know, you realize, Oh my gosh, we just see this fundamentally differently. That is not changed. When I think about a walk in the beach, I S I still, my default mode is to think about the slow stroll. Hers is still to think about exercise. But I’ll tell you what, what’s happened over the years is I’ve really come to appreciate that doing aspect of my wife. Yeah. I mean exercise is more a part of my life because I married her then I think it probably would have been on my own. Yeah. getting tasks done around our house, which I think if it just, just for me on my own, like it would take so much longer. But she’s, I’ve learned to appreciate moving things forward
And, and, and yet we don’t want to downplay how hard it is to get there. Like, you know, we’ve been married 32 years and this is a newer season. So there were many, many years when we were missing each other and where it wasn’t easy. And if we had thought, you know, well, ah, just not meeting what I need in a marriage, it would have been really, it was really tempting to be like, well, maybe this isn’t the right person for me. So I think part of what is important is I’m so grateful that I, we didn’t give up. And, and I’m not saying that there aren’t situations that are, you know, really much more difficult and toxic and abusive. They know. But, but in general, I think we do really set the bar so high for this idea of marriage and this idea of a soulmate that, that it can trip us up, you know, pretty dramatically.
And what can happen, I think in a marriage, a couple things, like some, sometimes it can end in divorce. You know, we, we, we despair to the point of saying this, this isn’t gonna work for me. It’s not making me happy. It’s not, you know, there’s somebody else out there for me or I’d be better off alone. So we split sometimes that despair can just calcify and, and a couple gets kind of just stuck in the ride of like, yeah, you’re never going to be what I want. And so we’re just going to live kind of side by side. We’re going to settle. The, the other is where it turns into not just calcify, but it turns into contempt, where now like, you know, I’m blaming you for how my life is not what it needs to be or should be. The problem with all those, and I think this is kind of goes back to our initial theory about the idea that a soulmate is just not a helpful paradigm.
When we’re talking to another person is, is that the focus is all on the other person. You’re, my life is, is good. I’m going to thrive if you can be who I think you should be, as opposed to given the reality of who you are and what our relationship is. What is God calling me to? What does he call me to examine? Where might he be calling me to learn, to stretch and to love sacrificially where it might, it might this, the differences between us actually point out an area where he’s inviting me to grow, to be humble. It asks for help also consistent with what we know the character of God to be taught. What do you mean by that?
He does want to teach us, like I think about, you know, Jesus loved us so much, humbled himself to the point of dying on a cross. Like, you know, there’s just this, this he knows that really loving somebody. Means a dying to, to self in a beautiful way, in a way that helps our true self become more of who we are and allows other people, it really calls the best out in each other. And that doesn’t come through getting your way all the time. You know, it comes from really being able to understand what it means to see in sacrifice and be, be humble in a, in a relationship. And so I think that’s always, you know, wanting that for us.
So instead of the happily ever after, it includes suffering, includes distance, that includes disappointment and includes getting hurt, includes misunderstanding, includes conflict and working through all those things with, with each other. It’s sometimes with the help of a counselor and spiritual coach, a mentor and more mature couple. It’s really the Lord. So let’s get, just get practical for a minute here. What do you do when you’re in a relationship, you’re in a, in a marriage and you find yourself just very distant from your spouse. You find like, you know, the way that you think things should be, the way you want to be loved is very different than the way he or she is treating yours living in your home.
I remember when we went to the counselor and I was fully expecting that she was going to say to Greg, well, Greg, you just have to, you know, understand that this is what kid needs and do you know, if you can just shape up. And she didn’t do that at all. In fact, she talked to me about some of the things that I was bringing and I was like, what? And so, you know, it was like God was saying, listen, we have some things we need to talk about. And so I started to really reflect on what am I bringing to this? And when I started to think about that and it was hard, it was hard. It was like, Oh man, what was hard about it? And like really admitting the fact that I had been making demands on him that were just unreasonable. And I didn’t know it. So, I mean, I, at first I felt really guilty about it cause I was like, man, I really was just, but then I was like, but, but I didn’t know that I was, so I had to get to know myself. I had to get to know how when I’m asking for love, I’m demanding it. I’m not asking for it in a, in a loving way. I’m demanding it.
Wow. So what, what brings to mind for me is it like maybe part of the appeal of the soulmate is then I don’t need to look at myself. I don’t need to change. I don’t need to do the hard work of self-examination to find out how selfish I am. How how, how little I rely on God. Impatient. How you know, how, how much I want it, my way, how controlling I am. If you, if you and I just fit hand in glove, I can, I don’t have to face any of those things. But if you and I don’t now I’m now I’m left with the only thing I have control over, which is will I be willing to clean up my side of the street, take a look at the stuff, my immaturity and my sin that I’m bringing this relationship cause I can’t, I can’t make you do that. But I can do that. I can allow Jews to begin to help me do that.
Because when you’re doing the blame game, like if you could just, you know, shape up, if you could just change, there really is nothing you’re blaming the other person isn’t going to do anything. But when I started to say, okay, what is mine to own here? How do I own what’s mine here? That did begin to change how I responded to Greg and when I changed how I responded to Greg and Greg was doing his own, trying to own his own stuff. And then he responded differently to me, not because he was blaming me and getting me to be different, but he was actually doing some deep reflection. That’s when things started to change.
Yeah. And I believe it. And let’s not ignore just the, the, the painful difficulty of the humility of focusing on myself as painful when you, when you really feel like, but what about, you know, you know, that’s beautiful kid. Beautiful. So let’s close by, just let me make this kind of, sum it up this way. If your view of this, of a soulmate, if you’re searching for your spouse to be that soulmate who completely gets you and completely understand you we really want to challenge you to pull that idea down. It’s kind of idolatry. If your view of a soulmate is the person that, that, that God is putting your life in, that you’ve chosen to be with, who helps you in the sanctification of your soul, which includes all the kinds of difficulties and trials that we’ve described then then it just opens up all sorts of opportunities for, for you to embrace the other fully without, without demanding they be someone that they’re not. Yeah. Yeah. So kid would you just, why don’t you just pray for the couples and those who are listening? Yeah. In whatever way you feel that
Lord, I just pray for people who are searching for someone or who are currently in a marriage that the sum of these lies and misconceptions would just become clear to them from you that they would have a sense of, Oh, maybe that’s what God has for me. Maybe I’m looking in, in ways in for the wrong things and the wrong people. And maybe there’s a different way. And so Lord, I do just feel like there are some ways that we can be tripped up in this whole idea. And so Lord, would you, but the truth of what you want to come forth in this podcast, would it touch the hearts of the very people that you want it to touch? Thank you that you do that and that you want to do that. Amen.