Quit Looking For Your Soulmate, Because He/She Isn’t Out There

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dmyers's picture

The fundamentalist variation on this is tied up with the common but erroneous teaching in fundamentalist churches about the will of God -- i.e., that there is a specific, knowable will of God for every decision (or at least the big decisions) that I make.  In the case of marriage, God has one specific person for me to marry and He expects me to discern who that person is from circumstances, inner peace, wise counsel, etc.  (Garry Friesen speaks of "the dot" of God's specific will in his critique, Decision Making and the Will of God.)

This becomes a problem and a religious-sounding excuse for divorce when the marriage turns out to be troubled, or at least when it's REALLY troubled.  You must have "missed God's will" and chosen the wrong partner.  And God wouldn't want you to live your whole married life outside His will, would He?

Believe it or not, my ex-wife's and my differing views on the will of God, when applied to marriage, contributed to her divorcing me, even though the divorce came decades after we first realized  the difference in perspective.  She was devastated that I could theoretically have married someone else and still been "in God's will."  The fact that I had chosen her and had covenanted with her (and with God) -- thereby demonstrating that it was God's sovereign will for us to marry and His moral will that we stay married -- was of no comfort to her.  There were other significant issues in the marriage, of course, but her skepticism on this point significantly eroded her emotional commitment to the marriage.

Between the Hollywood version and the "God's will" version, the soulmate myth is alive and predominant in the church.

Jeremy Horn's picture

I remember having that nonsense taught to me at my church(IFB) when I was a teenager. That teaching needs to go bye-bye to say the least.

TylerR's picture

Editor

In so many instances, God's will and moving in our life is not evident until much later, as we reflect back on things. In a few others, such as my decision to finally get out of the military and actually go into ministry, it was pretty clear at the time!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?