As a couples therapist in Denver, I have always hated the idea of a soulmate. The idea feels so Hollywood, lazy, and Prince Charming to me... and totally grates against my feminist sensibilities.
Recently, however, I have been reconsidering this perspective. Below, I talk more about my thoughts surrounding the idea of soulmates:
So many women and men who I work with say, “I just feel like we are roommates.” This is troubling because roommates = cozy, comfortable, and predictable... NOT hot, exciting, sexually charged, and special.
In the past, I have equated “soulmate” to something akin to “everything is perfect.” I thought soulmates had to say things like, “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!
Having a soulmate does not mean that everything in your relationship goes perfectly or works effortlessly. Instead, it means things work between the two of you in ways they never could between two other people.
If we redefine what soulmates are and how they make us feel, this then means that your partner is actually your soulmate—but not in the “everything-is-perfect” kind of way. Your partner is your soulmate in the spiritual-teacher kind of way, and the 5 am boot camp kind of way.
Your 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 your own work.
Soulmates and Relationship Advice in Denver
Over the years, I have literally had hundreds of people say to me, “But I don’t get triggered like this with anyone else in my life!” To this, I should have responded: “Aaaahh . . . then it looks like you have found your soulmate!”
Crazy, I know.
And if you believe 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, whom 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 Starbucks when we get our morning coffee—are versions of our best selves. We are polished, primped, more patient, and usually have more boundaries.
When, however, we walk into the house and see our spouse sitting on the couch on their phone and not doing what we think they should be doing, 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 us 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.
The reality is that our soulmates help show us who we truly are, and we are often our truest selves when they are near.
Advice from a Marriage Therapist in Denver
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 — and blame their shortcomings rather than looking at our own growth edges.
If you’re struggling in your relationship, you can learn a lot by taking a step back and figuring out where you can grow and improve. Consider situations in your life and what “I” can do to change:
- 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 third child!” to my girlfriends and have shirked my responsibility as a partner.
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The point is, whether you stay in your relationship or go, you likely have work to do on yourself. Let your partner be that soulmate; that spiritual teacher to show up for in your rough patches that need some leveling, and the relationship will shift dramatically.
Call us today at (720) 457-3342 to speak with me, Margie Kaems, or Chris Weaver, another individual and couples therapist, today!