I have always *hated* the idea of a soulmate. It felt so Hollywood, lazy, and Prince Charming to me...and totally grates against my feminist sensibilities.
Recently, however, I have been reconsidering this perspective and here is why.
So many women and men who I work with say:
“I just feel like we are roommates.”
Roommates = cozy, comfortable, predictable...NOT hot, exciting, sexually charged, and special.
In the past, I have equated ‘soulmate’ to something akin to ‘everything is perfect’. We don’t fight or argue, our sex is spontaneous, abundant and equally satisfying, and we were *made for each other*. In the way that a hand is made for a glove....we don't have to work at our relationship.
But most of us know that growth only comes through struggle. We have to work hard and suffer to achieve in parenting, professionally, even in sports. We have to fall down, get back up and try harder. I often say you don’t need to go to India to find a guru — JUST GET MARRIED! All of your shit will come flying up and now you know clearly what your personal work is.
This then means that your partner…is your soulmate. But not in the everything-is-perfect kind of way. Your partner is your soulmate in the spiritual-teacher kinda way. In the 5am-boot camp kinda way.
You partner actually IS the glove that fits perfectly over your hand — because your partner triggers you in EXACTLY the ways that you need to be triggered to show up in you your own work.
I have literally had hundreds of people over the years say to me,
“But I don’t get triggered like this with anyone else in my life!”
To which I should have responded, “Aaaahhhh…then it looks like you have found your soulmate!”
Crazy I know.
And if you are of the belief that marriage (and life) is supposed to be easy, simple, and without suffering, this perspective will not work for you.
But, if you know that life provides you with opportunities to grow, develop, evolve, and awaken then this approach might work well for you because it allows you to shift your perspective slightly so that you no longer need to make your boring, roommate marriage about the shortcomings of your partner.
You can see that your roommate marriage is a doorway to come to know and grow yourself. It is a platform to come to know yourself because we cannot see all of ourselves if we do not have a mirror. And our soulmates, who we live with every day, mirror parts of ourselves that no one else sees.
The parts of ourselves that we show at work, with our friends, even at Starbuck’s when we get our morning coffee is a version of our best self. We are polished, primped, more patient, and usually more boundaries (read: we don’t lose our shit usually with the barista).
Walk into the house, see your spouse sitting on the couch on his phone and not doing what you think he should be doing and the impatient, snarky, slightly judgmental, and critical part of us starts slipping through the cracks. And this is where our soulmate comes in to show up the parts of ourselves that we would rather not have to look at. But they are there. If you are honest with yourself, you know that is true.
We live in a world where we would prefer to blame someone else — blame their lack of sexual desire, lack of *manliness* in the bedroom, the piles of mail that they leave around the house, or the irresponsible way that they parent — blame their shortcomings rather than looking at our own growth edges.
- how I never learned how to ask for what I want in bed in a kind and inviting way.
- how I have criticized my husband so he no longer knows HOW to show up as a man for fear that I will emotionally castrate him.
- how I maybe don’t have “piles of mail” around the house but I have emotional piles, or piles of unfinished business in relationships that I need to do my own cleanup work on.
- how I have been irresponsible in my own ways — maybe irresponsible in my role as a lover or confidante to my partner. I have said things like “it’s like having a 3rd child!” to my girlfriends and have shirked my responsibility as a partner.
Not every couple should stay together. That is not the point.
Stay or Go Counseling
The point is, whether you stay or go, you likely have work to do on yourself. Let your partner be that soulmate…that spiritual teacher…to show up in you your rough patches that need some leveling and the relationship with shift dramatically.
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