According to a Marist poll, 73% of Americans believe in the existence of soulmates.
I fall into the 27% minority, but admit there isn’t a more romantic term for love than soulmate.
Love that’s predestined. Fated.
You fit together like two puzzle pieces, connecting on every level: It’s a love that completes us. Sigh….
Soulmates really get you. They finish your sentences and give you their full attention. You communicate without words, and the physical connection is intense.
Somehow, in your heart of hearts, you just know when you’ve found your soulmate… Really?
Hollywood has made buckets of cash selling us the dream of the soulmate: The Notebook, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, Breakfast at Tiffany’s – I’ve seen them all. Add a giant bowl of buttery popcorn, PJ’s, and a box of Kleenex, and I’ll watch them again.
This is it
Mike and I met when we were 15. We had a lot in common. Both from large Catholic families, we attended the same church and grew up in small, neighboring Michigan towns. After school and summers, we both worked in the restaurant business – he slung burgers at Burger Chef, and I waited tables at Woolworth’s lunch counter.
The day he got his driver’s license we became a couple, dating exclusively through high school and into college. Electricity surged through my body when we were together. He listened to my every word. And we didn’t listen to our parents and friends when they told us not to tie ourselves down to one person. Why would I look any further when I’d found THE ONE? Surely, he was my destiny. My soulmate.
What I know now (that I didn’t know then)
A few weeks ago, Mike and I sat outside watching the autumn sun fade over the tops of the Georgia pines. When the sun’s rays landed on his face, I noticed how grey his hair has become (love the grey BTW). His eyes look just like his Dad’s, and that great chin dimple is from his mom.
“How much I love this man,” I say to myself. We’ve had our share of joys, challenges, and sorrows like everyone else, but he has been my rock. Always.
Mike and I have built a great life together over 45 years. He’s my confidant, my lover (sorry kids), my friend, my protector. I deeply love and respect him, and can’t imagine sharing my life with anyone but him. I got lucky when I met my husband. It wasn’t fate or destiny. Right time, right place, great chemistry.
But he doesn’t complete me. And I don’t complete him.
Several years into our marriage, I came to the conclusion that my husband couldn’t fulfill all my needs. Our communication styles are vastly different: I found out he isn’t a mind reader. Perhaps I had a touch of Cinderella Complex, but at the very least, I overly-romanticized marriage.
He no longer listens to my every word. Probably because he’s heard most of them before. And getting his attention can be challenging, particularly if I’m competing with a Michigan State football or basketball game on TV.
When we complete each other’s sentences, it goes something like this: (Joan) Hey, Mike, would you…. (Mike)… take out the garbage? (Mike) Do you know where my…… (Joan)…. wallet is on the kitchen counter.
Most of the time he does NOT get me and I certainly don’t get him. It has nothing to do with how much we love each other.
Here’s the truth as I see it: NO ONE REALLY GETS YOU.
There are plenty of times when I don’t get me.
Made for each other, or look how far we’ve come?
In 2014, two social psychologists, Spike W. S. Lee , and Norbert Schwartz published the findings of their study in, “Framing love: When it hurts to think we were made for each other.” “Our findings corroborate prior research showing that people who implicitly think of relationships as perfect unity between soulmates have worse relationships than people who implicitly think of relationships as a journey of growing and working things out,” says Professor Lee. Enough said.
Still the one
Mike and I share a lifetime of history, starting with a one-night honeymoon in the Holiday Inn overlooking the St. Joe river in our hometown. We love each other because of, but also in spite of. There is no one else who loves me like he does, or knows me better. I remind myself to love him more than I love myself, and to do something every day to show him that love. Some days I fall short.
When I was a young wife, I desperately wanted Mike to understand me. As the years passed, I began to realize it was more important that I try to understand him. And I also realized that sometimes that’s just not going to happen. It’s not always easy and we don’t have a perfect marriage. He tries his best to get me, listens to me (most of the time), and despite my many faults, loves me completely. And yes, the sparks are still there.
Soulmate? Not so sure about that. A man worth sharing my life with? Absolutely.