"My Husband Is Not My Soul Mate" hardly seems romantic from a wife on her first wedding anniversary, but this viral article set out to challenge common notions about romance, and somewhat surprisingly, Christian counselors agree – God does not have "the one," your perfect spouse, eternally chosen from the beginning.
"A 'soul mate' is not a Christian idea," biblical counselor June Hunt, founder, CEO, and CSO of Hope For The Heart ministries, told The Christian Post on Monday. Rather, an ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, taught that men and women were made in one body, but separated by the gods.
Each man and woman scours the earth for their perfect spouse, so the two can again become one, Hunt explained. Phrases like "my other half" or "my better half" actually come from this Greek myth, and well-meaning parents pass on the romantic idea to their children.
"The problem with that is that it makes us half persons," the counselor argued. If each woman constantly searches for the man who will "complete" her, she can never be her own person. Worse, she cannot live for Christ.
Hunt quoted Colossians 2:8 and 9, where the Apostle Paul warns about "hollow and deceptive philosophy," guiding Christians instead of Christ, in whom "all the fullness of Deity lives in bodily form." She warned against "co-dependence," where a man and woman rely entirely on one another, as a possible form of idolatry.
"Ultimately, He's our completer," the counselor said. She also noted I Corinthians 7, where Paul tells Christians he'd prefer them to remain single, so they can fully devote themselves to Christ.
Nevertheless, Christianity affirms romantic love, and the woman in the article sincerely loves her husband. "There is no biblical basis to indicate that God has one soul mate for you to find and marry," the wife, Hannah, admitted in the article. But she quickly added, "Once you marry someone, that person becomes your one person."
Her marriage, she wrote, "is based on a daily choice to love this man, this husband that I chose out of many people that I could have chosen to love." The freedom of this choice may have led Hannah to love her husband even more than the imaginary boy she thought God had stored away for her. Indeed that's exactly what she wrote – and it may be more romantic than the notion of her predestined relationship.
"Jesus didn't have to love us but He chose to love us," Michael B. Allen, actor, writer, and producer at Riot Studios, told CP on Monday. In the same way, he said, he chose to love his wife.
Riot Studios makes films about Christian culture, portraying the good and the bad. Their most recent film, "Beware of Christians," a winner on the Christian film festival circuit, explored the question of how Jesus would live today, contrasting a biblical lifestyle with the "healthy, wealthy, American Jesus they've grown to know and love."
Allen echoed Hannah, warning that the idea of "soul mates" and "falling in love" are prevalent in today's Christian youth culture. Riot Studios aims to challenge these popular notions, he said. He suggested American Christians "reassess whether all those Disney princess movies they've watched or what a youth leader would have said about dating or marriage."
To illustrate the depth of love beyond the idea of "soul mates," Hunt told the story of her brother. "Uncle Jimmy – no one had ever heard him say an unkind word about anyone," but his wife turned out to be very critical. Nevertheless, "he still loved her, cherished her, provided for her," despite the obvious conclusion that they were not "soul mates."
When his wife died, Jimmy told the counselor that his marriage proved irreconcilable differences don't have to lead to divorce. He eventually got married again, and loved his second wife until he died.
"The issue is the condition of the heart of the one who is entering marriage," Hunt explained. "Am I going to focus on what I get or what I give?"