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Hard Labor, or Labor of Love

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It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Cor. 13:7)

I’ve never liked the phrase “soul mate.” I dislike it for a number of reasons. First, the phrase implies that there is only one person in the entire world for you, and once you find that person, your life will be perfect, and your marriage will be easy. It is this idea that leads to half of all marriages ending in divorce. Soul mates are not found, they are made.

Soul mates have arguments. If there are no arguments in a relationship, then someone is not sticking up for oneself. A soul mate is not the person you never argue with, but the person you should argue with in an appropriate way. By appropriate, I mean sharing with your feelings under control. By appropriate, I mean knowing your partner’s vulnerabilities and not lowering yourself to manipulation. It means keeping your perspective. An argument should be an argument, not an indictment of your relationship, or a sporting event that requires a winner and a loser. In other words, a marriage takes skill, and this skill should be nurtured together.

Further, opposites attract, but it is a challenge keeping opposites together. It can be done, but it takes extra work and commitment. Opposites have different world views. You can be Mary Matalin and James Carville, or Kellyanne and George Conway, but it will take a clear understanding of each other’s views and a great deal of mutual respect.

Having a lasting soul mate means working at your relationship over-and-over again. It shouldn’t be hard-labor, but a labor of love. Even though it is work, it should be fun, meaningful, and worthy of your time and attention. Along with your faith, the attention you give your marriage will be the most important activity of your life. It even trumps your work commitments! I mean it!

Today, take some time to reflect on your relationships. If you are not married, then think about another relationship. Many of the same issues are true of any relationship. Think about who you are and what you need from the relationship in question. Also, consider what you are willing to give the relationship. Finally, pray that God will give you the wisdom to respond to your relationship with emotional and spiritual maturity. A meaningful marriage, or committed relationship, well cared for, is a blessing.