The idea seems to be prevalent. Sometimes it is tied to destiny explicitly. Sometimes it is less overtly tied to deterministic philosophies and there is talk of true love or chemistry. Either way the consideration that conscious human decision can or should play a role in who ones soul mate will be appears to be rejected, and the sense I get is that it would somehow be less romantic if it were. I think this is fundamentally flawed.
Some logically minded people who aren’t as taken in by the emotional appeal of a love that is ‘meant to be’ throw the baby out with the bath water though. I have been one of them. Saying things like, “there isn’t ‘the one’ out there for me, just some better ones and some worse ones.” And thinking what suckers and dupes all the people are who buy into this Disney-fied idea of romance are.
Being married for a while now has changed my thinking on this, however. And I am not just saying what I am about to say to win points with my wife (though I’ll take what I can get). I am saying it for the benefit of those out there who were like me – who see or feel there is a major flaw in the popular contemporary concept of romantic love, but can’t quite put your finger on it.
I now am convinced that a soul mate is a real thing. My wife is ‘the one’ for me.
Not that I want to ruin the romantic appeal of those truths, but there is a caveat, and that is that it wasn’t always true. It has become true. I guess you could say it is still becoming more and more true. I chose her. She chose me. Now that those choices have been made the deal is sealed. We are soul mates. It is epic in it’s profound simplicity, right?!
This is nothing new. This is as far as I can tell the biblical idea of marriage. It wasn’t something I had missed exactly, just like lots of truth though, it is something that sinks in deeper the more you encounter it throughout life.
Why is it then that many prefer the version that nullifies the role of human volition? Of the two, the sort of love and union that involves mutual decisions of otherwise free souls to commit to binding themselves to each other feels more significant to me. My best guess is that the appeal of destined love is one of security or permanence. Theoretically, you can’t ever chose to reject the soul mate you never had the option of choosing in the first place. The big problem here is that we never have certainty about fates assignments. We always have the option to abandon one who we thought was our soul mate for someone who has come along and seems like a better candidate for the position. In much the same way we can just as easily encounter falling out of love as we can falling into it.