Expecting Your Spouse to Be Your 'Soul Mate' Is Ruining Your Marriage

married couple on bikesMarriage just can't seem to win. It's either deemed one of the most challenging experiences you'll ever have or the greatest fairy tale of your life. And even if it seems like the latter would be a sweet way to think about "'til death do us part," it's not. Because holding your significant other to the same standards that Disney holds their Prince Charmings is a BIG mistake. Hence why one writer argued recently in a Huffington Post column that we shouldn't marry our soul mates.

Brooke Hampton contends that soul mates aren't always meant to be our lovers. They come to push us, challenge us, mirror our sh**, wake us up, and push us forward. And it's for that reason, she writes, "Honestly, you're probably better off not marrying that person, because then you'll get caught up in creating the ideal marriage (WHATEVER THE HELL THAT EVEN IS) and forget why your souls were put together from the beginning."

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Is she right? Is it a huge mistake to marry someone who is, indeed, our soul mate -- or label the person we've married as a soul mate?

More from The Stir: Soul Mates Do Exist Despite What the Skeptics Say

Surely, plenty of us would say no, of course not. But no matter what we call our spouse, the fact that we really do put so much pressure on one another to BE one another's "soul mates" sure is exhausting and unproductive and downright detrimental to our relationships.

We think soul mate equals perfect romantic bliss, reading one another's minds, being in complete sync with one another emotionally. We think marrying our soul mate will mean we'll have those things all the time. But setting the bar there is only laying the foundation for major disappointment and resentment.

It's just plain delusional to think that our marriages should resemble a mid-'90s Meg Ryan movie. We're asking for too much. And we're doing that not only by saying that the one we wed is our "soul mate," but by defining that as the person who will both anticipate and fulfill all of our needs! Seriously! What is that all about?!

My friends who have been serial monogamists since their transition from "cooties" to crushes have always driven me nuts, because it has always seemed to me that you can't know someone or devote yourself to someone until you know yourself.

And you can't really rely on someone else to make your life complete. Of course, you can find someone with whom you want to build a life, a home, a family. But to believe that there's ONE Perfect Person we're meant to be with who will make all of our dreams come true and make us "whole"? No. Only we can do that. Ourselves. On our own. And if we can't, we're only setting our spouse up to fail.

Would you call your spouse your soul mate? Do you think they "complete" you?

 

Image via iStock.com/pojoslaw

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