My wife and I were spending the evening with a newly married couple. The husband happens to be a popular musician, and as we talked about some of the huge challenges of the music industry, life and other matters, he said he had known his wife for 13 years before they got married. She’d known him, his travails and had been his friend when he was not popular. It reminded me of my wife. We had known for 11 years, and it still seems a bit funny to realise we are married. You see, my wife is calm, easy-going, very discreet, extremely cautious when making decisions, not confrontational, but strong-willed.
She was a ‘good girl’, and when I was younger, I kinda’ liked some ‘fireworks’ in a lady!
Well, as it turned out, I wasn’t her type either!
Well, apart from being perfectionist, stubborn, overtly analytical, moody, very intense, crazy, abrasive, cynical, adventurous, God fearing, God tempting, erratic and sometimes weird, I think I was an ok guy.
But, despite our many ‘differences’, she had always been easy to talk to, we shared some very core values, had similarities in what we wanted out of life, and our conversations were meaningful. In short, she was, and has always been, a good FRIEND.
At this point, I have to say a few things. The ideal soul mate is not necessarily the person you are physically attracted to from the word ‘go’. Reason being, physical beauty fades. It’s also not someone who you FEEL so passionate about and can fly over the moon for in the heat of romance. Well, romance, like fireworks, may really light up the night sky – but it does not last and hence, cannot be used as a foundation for a lasting relationship. Besides, once you learn how, romance, like fireworks, can be manufactured easily!
Many times, your soul mate is that person you can let your hair down with, you can talk to for hours, who you can drag along to see a movie when you need company, who you can watch a movie with or just sit in comfortable silence with. It’s that friendship that lasts.
A soul mate is not someone who agrees with you on everything. There is a word for constantly agreeing with someone on every issue.
It’s called ‘faking’.
You are aware of their flaws, but those are flaws you can live with…and this is very critical. Everyone has a set of flaws and weaknesses AND everyone has a set of some particular flaws and weaknesses they can LIVE with (and have capacity to endure), without breaking down. Now while I am not for partner battery, some people have capacity to handle that when their partners dole that out. John Wesley was said to be dragged around the house by his hair when his wife was angry with him. I also know of instances where a lady believed a man was ‘IT’, married him and started getting beaten regularly. She took it for about 3 years – and suddenly, it stopped and they now have a wonderful relationship. Now, in the short run (which must human beings judge almost anything by) it must have appeared to all that he was a wrong choice.
But in the search for a soul mate, very simplistically, your soul mate may already be your friend. You may not just be seeing him/her as that special someone.
People watch movies and see the cars, glitz and ‘bling bling’ – or see the flashy lifestyle of the corporate and rich. With that as a background and knowing that women innately long for security, while men long for satisfaction, what we come to see and define as ‘security’ or ‘satisfaction’, many times, have already been pre-determined by society and the media. We say we are making an ‘informed decision’ when we choose a rich, good looking man with ‘prospects’ (which is basically an attempt to predict the future based on a limited understanding of the present, the variables that created the present, and NO knowledge of what the future really is like.) We choose a good looking lady, who speaks well, comes from a ‘good family’ and who we look good with.
I must say, it's quite shallow.
A really good way to make choices when looking at prospects is try to see all prospective partners, years down the line and all having the exact same cars, assets, looks or whatever…and then ask yourself, if they all have the same level of all things you desire, WHO would you rather be with?
Because, the ‘WHO’ is the person on the INSIDE.
And this is where I’d like to examine another expression used when it comes to marriage. I hear the expression, they ‘made it’ to the altar.
The altar is JUST a start. After the altar is where the journey really begins.
You see, a marriage is REALLY only a success IN RETROSPECT.
In my opinion, a marriage is successful when one partner leaves…to the afterlife AND where there was understanding and mutual ACCEPTANCE before the demise of one of the partners. Truth is, no matter how rosy or sweet any marriage appears to be, it’s still a movie in progress and no one knows the end. So some marriages start with a band and a bang and all things nice, and fall slowly into decay and divorce. Some start with no fanfare but the individuals bond and have a lasting relationship that is way beyond a public display of affection. And some, they just undulate ALL the way.
I’ve read of several divorce cases after 40 years of being together. So a marriage can hardly be said to be ‘successful’ or ‘over’ till the very last day – and this is a very vital lesson that those in and out of marriage must understand.
Before I round up this article, there is a phenomenon that plagues many marriage relationships. You see, may people realise, after they get married, that they still feel a close bond to someone from the past. They find a close friend, of the opposite sex, easy to talk to, easy to confide in, and so on. Many start to wish they had married their friends or wish they could undo the past and so on. Many, unconsciously, start to flirt a little, or some have outright affairs. I think it comes from a little misunderstanding about how we are as human beings.
Your partner is NOT the ‘ultimate’.
Simply because, NO ONE is the ultimate when you live close enough to see their flaws. You will always find someone prettier, more god-fearing, more sensitive, more sexually appealing, richer, and more intelligent.
And now I will re-state that sentence as: You will always find someone who APPEARS TO BE prettier, APPEARS to be more god-fearing, sensitive…and so on. And then when you divorce, you find out your new ‘angel’ has broken wings and a huge set of flaws, and you did not give enough time to develop the skills needed to live with, and bring out the best, in another person.
Do not get me wrong and go shaking your head in disdain at divorcees.
Marriage can be HARD sometimes (though it’s a lie that it is always tough) and each relationship is almost twice as dynamic and complex as the individuals in the relationship.
I have to be spiritual here. When you marry, you become one. In other words, your partner becomes, REALLY, your soul mate. In other words, you are one, but you may not know it or FEEL it YET. And whether it is admitted or not, divorced couples will always find a small part of themselves still wanting the other. There are loads of books on the subject, so you may try picking one up if that is a challenge at the moment.
In summary, don’t be led just by what your eyes can see. Many of those things will fade away in reality or because you get so used to them that they don’t count. Your soul mate, many times, may just be a friend, but it will be someone who you feel at ease with. That individual WILL be flawed, but it won’t be flaws you can’t handle. Do not be stupid and get in or out of a relationship because someone said ‘God said’ or ‘God said no’. Whatever your decision, have this firmly engraved in your mind: The ceremony will end and every one will go home, but only you and that person will live under the same roof for a long, long time. Your kids will have that person’s face, attitudes and mannerisms, and very possibly, core values.
That really helps to put things in perspective, doesn’t it?
Also, in your heart of heart, when you are with someone who you should not be with, you WILL KNOW. You may fight it because the person is nice or likeable or because you have been together for a while. But that internal compass is of extreme importance. It does not make the person bad or good. It just means the individual is the best fit for someone else.
And this is where I write the most liked, and at the same time, most hated words of many authors