I’ve noticed this article has been bouncing around Facebook lately, and I think part of its popularity has stemmed from the fact that it presents exactly the opposite view of what the contemporary understanding of soul mates and marriage usually is. As soon as I read the article, I saw the tell-tale signs of an age-old debate that has been raging for centuries. And, well, you know me. I can’t help but comment.
I’ll begin with this verse from Ecclesiastes: “Whoever loves God will avoid all extremes.” I remember back in one of my worldview classes, I asked my professor (who I knew to be an extremely wise and thoughtful man), “What do you think about the Calvinist/Arminian argument? Which one is right?” He looked at me for a moment, leaned forward, and said slowly, “I can tell from your comments in class that you’ve studied the Bible very closely on this subject, and that you realize there are verses that support both sides. Since this is the case, your theology needs to be big enough to encompass both at once, because the Bible does not contradict itself.” I’ve been working on that very endeavor ever since.
When I read the article, “My husband is not my soul mate,” I heard the not-so-subtle assertions of Arminius: we have complete free will, and God is along for the ride, giving us advice when we ask and helping us clean up after our bad decisions when we don’t. Then Calvin pipes up in my mind, retorting that God has ordained our salvation and the paths of our entire lives, and we’re the ones who sit back and enjoy the ride. Which one is right?
They’re both right. But why do I bother commenting on this article? Because I believe extremes are dangerous.
Let’s think about this for a moment. If I told you I wrote this blog, you wouldn’t argue, right? It’s obvious I did. I’m telling you about something that clearly happened, because it already lies in the past. But what if I could tell the future? What if, a week ago, I told you I was going to release a blog, and you were going to read it? For sure, and I had no doubts about it. You might be offended. “Well that’s a little arrogant. How do you know I’ll want to read your blog?” But since I could see the future, I’d be telling you about it in the same frame of mind as I just told you about the past. It basically has already happened for me.
The same goes for God. All of history is laid out before God in a straight line because he lies outside of time. That means that each of us has only one future. One path. God sees that one path. Romans 8:29 says, “Those whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers.” Because God sees our futures, he knows we will choose him. Thus, he predestines us to be conformed to Christ. For him, it would be the same as me asserting that you will read this blog, but he simply says it a week in advance. All of time is in the past, so each of us has only one path to walk. Make sense?
Now, let’s talk about spouses. I agree that yes, hypothetically, there are probably many people on the world you’d be compatible with. However, there is only one you will choose. Why is this important? Well, there are harms in both extremes. When people believe in a “soul mate,” doubtless they think chick-flik happily-ever-after stories–when they find the right person, their future will be perfect. So, naturally, when someone gets married and realizes that life isn’t always happily ever after, they think, “Well darn, I guess I married the wrong person. This wouldn’t be happening if they were truly my soul mate.” And often they go off to find someone else. That’s wrong.
But the other side, in my opinion, diminishes God’s sovereignty and intentionality in our lives. God uses clear language throughout the Bible of “choosing” and “elect.” God is always intentional about choosing a person or people; he chose the Israelites, and he stuck with them forever. God made Eve for Adam, and Adam for Eve. Why, then, would he not make the rest of us for someone in particular? My parents have prayed every single day for my husband and his family for years and years, as have I. We are praying for a specific person, because there is only one person on this earth I will marry (assuming no great tragedy happens). That’s an indisputable fact. And I’ve received clear “No”s from God on my prospects throughout my life so far, so I can’t help believe there will be a resounding “Yes!” when I find the right person. The Lord is my guide, and he plans my steps.
Like I said, there are dangers in either extreme. But I want to bring it back to the middle. There is only one person (again, assuming no tragedy) whom I will marry on this earth. God knows who this person is, and I’m convinced he will lead me to him. Even if I were to disobey, whoever I marry is then the ONE for me. No one can make me marry him. I chose. Because I chose, he is now my soul mate, and my duty is to stick with him through thick and thin, just like I vowed to. Tragedy happens, I get it. There’s grace for that. But if we believe in a God who chooses permanently, a God who prophesies, a God who foreknows, and a God who has a plan, I can’t help but think his sovereign hand is orchestrating our lives. “In his heart a man chooses his path, but the Lord directs his steps.” God has a future and a plan for each one of us, and he created that plan specifically for us. Take comfort in that. He cares about the details, and next to salvation, a spouse is probably the biggest detail of your entire life. How could he not have a hand in that?
Have a blessed week, thanks for reading!