I totally needed this kind of letter as a high-schooler,
My fascination with love starts at the wonder of fairytales and later becomes “matured” through chick-flicks. Sprinkle in some romance novels and main-stream media offers us their impeccable ideas of love, “happily ever after,” and “soulmates” that is in dire need of debunking. I slowly fasted from the chick-flicks and realized they all had the same plot #Hallmark…
It’s not that romance and love are in themselves ruthless, because love is a greatest of all things, and I believe there is a transcendent spark that lies between many people, but there are false ideas of what it’s going to “do” to us that breed this “sugary” expectation of what love is.
An expectation that leads us questioning our relationships if they’re not perfect. An expectation that there is one person in the entire world that was made for us and will satisfy us.
Breaking News: A relationship will never satisfy you
Before we can answer the soulmate question let’s clear the air. Some people think, “When I find the right person, I won’t be empty anymore. That person needs to just come along and take care of all my emotional needs and then I’ll be happy in life.” If this is a thought you have let’s rethink it for the sake of your sanity.
We should never think a relationship or another person is going to complete us, for no one on this Earth is a being of perfected love. That is God’s job. Sure, your significant other IS supposed to be your better half, make you smile, and adds meaning to your life, but this better half is the person who motivates you, inspires you, uplifts you, and leads you to God—they are not God.
How about soulmates? –Is that actually a thing?
Firstly, you’re never going to marry a perfect person, that is, a person free of fault. And when the wedding rings are on spouses fingers a miraculous “altar-switch” is not flicked. That is, your life becomes burden free. Or you’re not suddenly unattracted to other people.
Your entrance into heaven is a wedding feast of perfect union, but until then, anyone you have a relationship with is going to be imperfect. But! The beauty is, the person God calls them to be (their interests, desires, connection, attractions, and goals) is going to be seen as “perfect” in your eyes and you’ll get to share that and experience it. So the trials you face, challenges you meet, and hard times you face are all motivated by love and meant to teach you love.
Compatibility is often brought up in this, as it should. The word “compatible” comes from the Latin com-pati, which means “to suffer with.” Successful marriages and relationships are not rooted in “perfect” bliss and a perfect person but instead a little suffering, hardships, and struggles test the love and deepen your love. It’s choosing to love an imperfect person.
Sometimes, the “perfect” love story comes with suffering—does that make it any less perfect? Does this make the other person any less appealing to you? No. True love motivates you during the suffering.
“Marriage is a perpetual exercise of mortification.” –St. Francis de Sales.
We believe in an active God—one Who created the world and participates in it. Therefore, through divine providence, God introduces us to potential mates. Therefore, if we ask God to answer a desire for relationship and let Him work on that, He shows us a man or woman He see’s us fit with. (How awesome.)
But, the idea that there is only one person you are destined to marry is contrary to free will in many ways. That said, because of free will, you also play an active role and participation in God’s plan for you. Simply understood, yes God gifts us this request, takes our desires, brings two people together, and in the end those two people have a decision to keep a commitment.
How, when, and why does God choose to play the role of “cupid?”
Well, only God can answer this. I guess maybe He sees the direction of our lives, the efforts we make in our faith, and the desires of our heart and intervenes. It is said that St. Anne (grandmother of Jesus) was praying for a faithful husband at the same time St. Joachim was praying for a beautiful wife and then they immaculately conceived Mary…
Also, in the book of Tobit, we clearly see that Tobias and Sarah we’re praying for their lives to end cause they were miserable and unhappy, but God created a plan B and led them to each other thanks to St. Raphael the Archangel. Likewise, how awesome that God let the betrothed love of Mary and Joseph become so blessed as to entrust the son of God to their relationship. These are practical ways God works via relationships.
So, like everything God offers us in life, we only let it happen to the extent that we want to make room for it and open our eyes to it.
Nothing, even the people we meet and become drawn to and cling to, is a coincidence. It’s a “God-incidence.” It is God’s hands working FOR you, and we must actively participate in receiving His gift of other people. It is God’s way of saying, “I will show my love for you through this person.”
God is not a God that forces us to do anything, let alone forces us to marry or be in relationship. But since it is a beautiful desire and sacrament, one that opens the depths of our hearts and leads to unity in such a pure and wholesome way, He blesses it so abundantly (again, if we ask Him).
“God doesn’t promise that you’ll find the person who makes you the happiest, but if you remain open to His will, you’ll discover the person who will make you the holiest—and this will bring you more joy in the end than any plan you could have concocted without Him. Your soul will be sanctified through this mate . . . and in my opinion, that’s God’s idea of blessing you with a soulmate.” –Jason Evert
Praying that you never settle in your relationships and that you open your heart to the plan God ordains through relationships!
Post dedicated to St. Anne ♥