Whitney Neal Photography, http://theartinlife.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/wegmannwedding317.jpg
In a recent viral article, a wife (Hannah) claimed that her husband is not her soul mate, and that God does not have "the one," your perfect spouse, eternally chosen from the beginning. While Christian authors of the New York Times bestseller Love Dare book agreed that the "Disney princess" fantasies are unrealistic, they contend that God does direct the faithful in their romantic pursuits.
"The Biblical examples of Isaac and Rebekah, Ruth and Boaz, and Mary and Joseph indicate that God is lovingly involved in whom we specifically marry in life," Stephen Kendrick, co-author of Love Dare, writer and producer of the award-winning film "Fireproof," and senior associate pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church in Georgia, wrote in a statement to The Christian Post.
With his brother Alex, Stephen wrote The Love Dare, a 40-day challenge for married couples to love each other after the model of Christ, first published in 2008.
"Though God did split Adam and made Eve as his one perfect complement," the author said, "the mythological concept taught by Plato that all people were once split into two and need to find and unite with their one and only 'soul mate' does not line up with scripture and can often lead couples to divorce when they are struggling."
In other words, not only does the idea of "soul mates" come from Greek philosophy instead of the Bible, but it can have toxic effects on relationships. Hannah, the author of "My Husband Is Not My Soul Mate," made this point very clearly, and went on to argue that marriage is a choice.
"My marriage is not based on a set of choices over which I had no control," she wrote. Instead, "it is based on my daily choice to love this man, this husband that I chose out of many people that I could have chosen to love." While Hannah does not claim that God's guidance played no part in her relationship, she emphasized her choice over the idea of a "predestined soul mate."
Ruthie Dean, co-author of the upcoming book Real Men Don't Text: A New Approach To Dating, believes that God has a hand in putting people together, but did not go as far as calling these couples "soul mates." "We are told God ravishes his abounding love on us, calls us sons and daughters, and sees us – so I do think He's in the business of putting great people together and we're not all on our own to brave the dating storm," she said, in a Wednesday interview with CP.
Dean acknowledged that the idea of God having "a perfect person picked out for you" can lead to passivity and laziness, but insisted that Christians must not lose hope in God's promises. "Our book is about giving men and women hope and challenging them to pursue real relationships," she explained.
Despite the controversial title, Dean said her book does not condemn the practice of sending electronic text messages, but rather the shallow relationships where texts become the primary means of communication. "Texting should always be leading to a face to face relationship, not taking away from it."
In developing deep relationships, the author argued that Christians should focus on life direction, faith, character, and family plans, rather than superficial concerns like a possibly-temporary career, money, appearance, and even romantic chemistry. "For men, attractiveness is important," she acknowledged, but "for women, character can really attract us."
Kendrick also emphasized the importance of faith in choosing a mate. He referenced 1 Corinthians 7:39, where the Apostle Paul acknowledges the Christian freedom to marry, but only "in the Lord."
Nevertheless, he warned that marriage will always be a struggle. "All resulting marriages will still require daily dying, repentance, forgiveness, and tons of prayerful obedience to God's Word for them to become the wonderful, living portraits of Christ and His bride that He desires," he wrote.
"The Love Dare book helps people to lead their hearts and unconditionally love the imperfect sinner they marry rather than follow their heart from one dysfunctional relationship to the next in search of their perfect 'soul mate,'" Kendrick concluded.