Loves mysteries in soules does
I have been thinking about soulmates a lot lately. Recently a fellow
relationship coach told me the story of Heather, a woman in her
early 40's. She has never married, though she has had several
lengthy relationships over the years. Then late last year she met
Andrew. There was something different about Andrew. The
conversations were richer, the walks in the park more romantic, the
time together more comfortable and more vibrant. Heather is pretty
intuitive, and this relationship felt different than any other she
had experienced. She knew she had fallen in love and found someone
with whom she could make a life commitment.
Andrew, however, was resistant. He acknowledged that their time
together was special, that he loved Heather and that he really felt
energized being with her. But, he said to Heather, "I don't think
you are my soulmate." Andrew recalled a past relationship in which
he and his partner would often find themselves simultaneously
thinking the same thing. He also said that he envisioned a
"soulmate" as being very much like himself, thinking that such
similarity would help assure the success of the relationship.
Andrew also pointed to differences between them. He was from the
South, while Heather was from Boston. Heather's parents had graduate
degrees and were upper middle class, while Andrew's parents were
working class folks. In addition, he noted, his company required him
to relocate periodically and to travel a lot. He feared Heather
would resent those moves, though she insisted she would not.
Despite Heather's pleas to reconsider and her attempt to persuade
Andrew that his resistance was contradictory to his description of
their relationship, Andrew insisted that they end their
relationship, though insisting he wanted to remain "friends."
Heather was heartbroken and puzzled. Did Andrew have it right—were
they not really soulmates? But if that were true, why did her time
with Andrew feel so right. What does it really mean to "find your
Thomas Moore, author of Soulmates, suggests that a soulmate is
"someone to whom we feel profoundly connected, as though the
communicating and communing . . . between us were not the product of
intentional efforts, but rather a divine grace." My wife and I have
often referred to ourselves as "soulmates." Thinking about Heather
and Andrew has caused me to reflect more on what that really means.
It certainly does not mean that we always agree—we don't. Nor does
it mean that we are exactly alike. We're not. What then does this
elusive term "soulmate" mean?
I would like to suggest that there are two criteria for a soulmate.
First, a soulmate is one who shares your vision and attitude about
life and views the world "through the same glasses" as you do.
Second, a soulmate is as concerned about your happiness and your
pursuit of your life's dreams, as he/she is about his/her own.
As I worked through the pain, grief, and inevitable self-discovery
following the end of my first marriage of over 25 years, I begin to
realize that my first wife—a fine person with whom I continue to
enjoy a valued relationship—and I viewed the world from a completely
different perspective. I often told the story of being with our two
children on Mt. Mansfield in Stowe, Vermont. One can drive to the
peak of the mountain, but then it must be explored on foot. One of
the natural attractions is the "Nose," a rock formation that
requires some modest agility to climb. My daughter—10 or 12 at the
time, promptly scampered up to the crest of the nose. I followed as
far as I could go before my fear of heights stopped me. When we
climbed down, her mother asked "Why on earth would you climb up
there?" My daughter Heidi promptly answered "Because its there." I
understand exactly what Heidi meant, though her mother did not. When
I met my wife Carol I discovered that she was always the first one
up the mountain—"because its there."
I invite you to think about your vision of life and its purposes.
Where is your life leading you? What is your purpose in life? What
to you want to be, do, and have in life? Give some time to forming
your vision or world view. Then armed with your vision be alert to a
partner who brings a similar vision to life. Then be aware of
whether this partner is as genuinely concerned about encouraging you
to follow your dreams and pursue your life vision, as he or she is
about pursuing his own. If you find all that, chances are you have
found your soulmate.
Kenneth and Carol Sprang, direct
Bethesda-Chevy Chase Counseling & Consulting in Bethesda,
providing Imago Relationship Therapy, relationship and executive
coaching, individual and couples counseling, and business
consulting. (301) 907-3377.