It seems to me that a lot of effort is going into meeting large numbers of potential partners in the hopes that somewhere among them one will find their soul mate. Yet statistically, young people are waiting longer and longer to marry and when polled express fear of making a commitment because "What if he isn't my soul mate?" or "What if she's not the right one?"
I believe that insecurity about taking the leap into commitment is because we need a clearer, more realistic definition of "soul mate." The current definitions I've heard are along the lines of: "I'll know him when I find him," "It will just feel right when we're together," or "I'll be so in love I won't be able to stand being apart!"
Life being what it is — and the latest neuro-research telling us what it does — these definitions can be true for you for a week, a month or even three months, but none of these conditions will stay around forever. When the challenges of building a long-term relationship (marriage) arise, too many think, "I made a mistake! I chose the wrong person. So I must leave this relationship and get back out there and look some more. The problem now is that I've lost confidence in my ability to choose, so I am even more reluctant to commit."
I believe a more trust-worthy defintion of soul mate is "one whom I like, who values what I value, who treats others with respect and has demonstrated willingness to give and take for personal and relationship growth."
I have been widowed twice. Between those two husbands I have 29 years of marriage experience from which to draw wisdom. Next to personal hygiene and integrity, the primary quality I would look for in a partner is the willingness to hear my point of view and consider the possibility that he must make a change for the good of the relationship. It's understood that I bring those qualities to the partnership, as well!
I'd only been married to my first husband for four years when he died. We were just beginning to work the newlywed kinks out. I was fortunate to have 24 years with my second husband, Jim. We went through some very rocky first years due to our ignorance about the unique dynamics of stepfamilies. Keep reading ...
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