Hopeless romantics yearn for soul mates.
The appeal we find in working with couples to prepare for their wedding and marriage has to do with your stories. Everyone as one and all of them are unique unto themselves. Even those who say to us that they don’t have such an interesting story, are always surprised when they sit back and think about it, that there were indeed some fascinating circumstances that played in to them finding each other.
There is one common theme we seem to hear that we have always found interesting – that is, Boy meets girl. They fall in love, marry and live happily ever after. Soul mates forever.
A couple of the readings we provide in our handouts have a theme of finding your soul mate. My favorite is how Richard Bach states it: “A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks.”
Fully two-thirds of Americans believe in the concept of soul mates, where “two people are destined to be together,” according to a recent Marist Poll.
But a new study offers an important reality check about unions formed in a whirlwind of passion.
“‘Soul mate’ couples are often happy at first, because they have intense emotional and personal connections,” said W. Bradford Wilcox, lead author of the article in the Sept. 1 issue of Social Science Research.
“But their unions are at high risk for disenchantment and divorce because it’s hard to sustain such intensity in a long-term relationship,” he said.
You can check out the article here.
But let me give my conclusion by sharing another of my favorite wedding readings that, I believe give a great answer to the question, how do we sustain and grow our love after the “volcanic” passion has subsided? Here’s a great answer by C.S. Lewis:
“Being in Love”
From A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works
If the old fairy-tale ending “They lived happily ever after” is taken to mean “They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,” then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were.
Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense-love as distinct from “being in love”-is not merely a feeling.
It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself.
They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be “in love” with someone else. “Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.”
It’s alright to be soul mates. But the important thing for the long health of your marriage is to work diligently on having the “Quieter love” working in the background.
Our counseling work involves helping couples to realize the great strengths they bring to their relationship so they can continue building that quiet, understanding love throughout the rest of their lives.