Ronald Reagan once quipped that the trouble with his political opponents, “is not that they are ignorant. It’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”
Well, I’ve had a bee in my bonnet for years over something that far too many of my fellow Christians believe in that just isn’t so. I speak, gentle listener, of the whole “soul mate” nonsense, especially when it comes to finding a husband or wife.
Let me be perfectly clear: No matter how many ads for Christian dating services you hear or trendy books you read, we simply don’t have “soul mates,” at least as our confused culture understands that term. Does this surprise you? It shouldn’t. Look for that concept, by the way, in the Bible, and the only thing you can find remotely close to it is the fierce friendship of David and Jonathan. “Jonathan made a covenant with David,” Scripture says, “because he loved him as his own soul.”
Now those are soul mates, friends. But the Bible knows nothing of romantic “soul mates.” This concept is more New Age than Christian. The Huffington Post gives nine signs that you’ve found your soul mate, the first one being: “You communicate without speaking.” Okay. One New Age website, however, gives three signs you’ve “definitely” found your soul mate: “You just connect without trying,” “Your level of communication is unmatched,” and “You create your own world together.”
That’s cute, it’s nice, maybe it’s even romantic . . . but it’s certainly not biblical.
Now all of this confusion might be kind of funny if it weren’t so harmful to naïve Christians and others who’ve fallen for this idea. Because this idea implies that somewhere out there is that “perfect person” for you, and if your marriage is not exploding with intense communication, romance, and a great sex life, well then maybe it’s because your spouse is not your “soul mate.”
Men who are a little bored with their wives, or vice versa, might be tempted by a co-worker who “understands me so well and is my soul mate, or could be my soul mate.” But frankly, this is a recipe for adultery and divorce, and families end up getting dropped for “soul mates.”
Once I wrote a tribute to C.S. Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters” called “Screwtape Proposes a Divorce,” in which Wasphead, my invented senior devil, says the following to Gallstone, the junior devil: “That [soul mates] do not exist is to be kept TOP SECRET. … Let’s be blunt: these humans are scouring the globe for someone with whom a relationship will require absolutely no work or compromise. … Many adult humans who have long ago dismissed Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny as myths somehow persist in believing this person to exist.”
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