Written by Ryan Barnhart for Relevant Magazine
View the article here.
Almost every day while listening to a Christian radio station out of Dallas, I hear a commercial for an online dating service that says it can help me find my soul mate or “the one.” I had become immune to their commercials until a recent conversation with a female friend stirred my curiosity of what they are selling.
One night, Emily was going on and on about how great her boyfriend was, and then she admitted they were already discussing marriage. Another male friend of ours, who at one time had a crush on her, must have been thinking what I was and quickly asked, “How long have you two been dating?”
“About a month,” she said.
She immediately noticed our unusual reaction and added, “But when you know you’ve found the one, you just know.”
I smiled and said I was happy for her, and so did our other friend, even though I knew he was jealous and didn’t mean it.
Romance novels, magazines and movies are profitable because of this soul mate concept, but is there really one person we are destined to marry and be happy with the rest of our lives?
Lyrics from 80’s music regularly revolved around meeting that special someone that made the musician’s life complete. The music was great, and it gave us a warm fuzzy feeling to hear the hair band rockers sing about the love of their life. However, we fail to realize that if those musicians were not broke from rehab and alimony payments, they would now write new songs about how much they hate that same woman.
I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t have something in my eyes producing a few tears when I first heard Jerry Maguire say “You complete me.” I’m just as guilty as the next person in wanting to believe the possibility exists that God has hand-picked a spouse for me, and we will end up “happily ever after.” I’m also a realist, though, and I began a holy grail-type search through the two sources I trust the most: Google and the Bible.
I searched both and Google led me to 6.3 million results. I have a job and a social life, so I only selected a few hits, and it seems like everyone wants to find their soul mate and there are 6.3 million ways to do so. Ironically, most of these sites informed me they could find my soul mate for just a minimal price. I thought to myself: Shouldn’t a soul mate—if there is such a thing—be worth more than a minimal price?
My next search was to see what God says about soul mates, and unfortunately, I couldn’t find “soul mate” in the concordance of any of the three versions of the Bible I own.
I thought to myself again: Maybe someone coined the term years after the canon was closed. I started reading all the examples of marriage in the Bible, and that didn’t help much either. Besides God yanking a rib from Adam’s side and presenting him with Eve, I couldn’t find another example that could back up the modern soul mate theory.
God told Hosea to marry a prostitute, but didn’t specifically mean Gomer. The servant that found Rebekah at the well for Isaac wasn’t looking for Rebekah, he was searching for the first woman that watered his camels and agreed to leave her family. Solomon had at least 300 wives; were all of them his soul mates?
Since the Bible didn’t offer the results I have been led to believe, I started asking pastors for input and surprisingly, none of them would adhere to the theory either. One posed the question: What would we categorize widows who remarry as? Another spoke of the high divorce rate and said, “People sometimes leave relationships and marriages because relationships are hard work, and they believe ‘the one’ is still out there.”
Finally, the best advice I received came from a pastor; he said, “Mass media of our modern culture has ruined the concept of a soul mate because soul can now mean anything metaphysical and mate can be anyone.” He also said, “‘The one’ we should be looking for is Jesus, and then He’ll help us change so that we could make a marriage work with whomever.”
That’s a strange concept: Marriage with anyone would work as long as we follow God’s guidelines and commit to living that out daily. It makes sense, though, because I have seen many people fall in and out of love faster than they change their socks. If we rely upon feeling in love, then that obviously doesn’t work.
The above are the reasons I’m not buying the soul mate theory, and why I’ve never paid an internet site that knows nothing about me $49.95 to find my soul mate from a list of women that have also paid $49.95. Besides, I would rather spend the money on some good Tesla and Chicago cds that are now at garage sales and recycled music shops.