My friends and colleagues often ask me how I manged to find my soul mate at such an early age: “How did you do it? I’m still looking for mine”. While it is true that I met my husband when we were both 17 years old and have been together ever since, I by no means consider myself an expert in the matter of marriage and relationships. However, I can’t help but wonder, what we did differently from all the other couples out there who break up after a few years. It’s not like we haven’t had our fair share of ups and downs (including the occasional breakup) on the way either. So, what made us find each other and stick together, despite it all? After careful consideration (we’ve been together for 16 years so believe me, I have had A LOT of time to think about this subject) my answer is, that we both stopped believing in the romanticized concept of soul mates. I call it the soul mate syndrome, which has everyone believing that a perfect relationship can only be had with the one and only soul mate.
Before meeting my husband, I spent an awful lot of time daydreaming and wondering when I’d finally meet that special person. If you’re anything like me then your idea of your soul mate would be of this too-good-to-be-true human who’d instantly sweep you off your feet and who would make the whole wait worthwhile because he would truly understand and appreciate you for who you are.
Now you’re probably thinking: “Then she met her husband, fell in love and all good. She found her soul mate”. While it is certainly true that we fell in love, I wouldn’t quite put it that way. Did I think he was my soul mate when we first met? No. Did I think he was my soul mate when we had our first argument? Hell no! Do I now think he is my soul mate? Yes.
Somewhere along the way during my relationship with my husband, I rid myself of the soul mate syndrome and adopted a different and more sober view instead and this is what I came up with: For starters, soul mates are not found. They don’t simply magically appear out of nowhere, so I suggest you stop waiting for it to happen and be proactive instead. Put yourself out there, be approachable and start meeting people. People will inevitably cross your path but you’ll miss out on something really good if you keep your mind set on soul mate (i.e. perfect person) mode. Instead, deal with the person you have in front of you. Which brings me to my next point: soul mates are made. You create your perfect partner out of the wonderfully imperfect individual you happen to be in a relationship with or you have met and are yet to start a relationship with. I’m not saying you have to lower your standards (having standards is a good thing – it’s what motivates us and keeps us going after our goals) completely – just adapt them slightly to every new situation or person you meet.
In other words, be a bit more tolerant towards the people you encounter. Because the truth is: There is no such thing as a flawless human being who will understand us completely and love every single thing about us. Deep down we all know this and yet we still expect our partner in life to be this out-of-this world, picture-perfect person and we refuse to settle for less. Well guess what, even the most “perfect” human being will eventually get under your skin and then what? Are you going to kick that person to the curb because in your mind a soul mate would never annoy you the way that person did? Sadly, this is exactly how most of us handle relationship “hiccups”. So, practice patience and tolerance and stick it out for a bit. Give the person a chance instead of dropping him/her immediately after hitting the first bump in the relationship.
I strongly recommend ditching that romanticized idea of a soul mate that most of us have and rather focus on embracing (or at least accepting) the flaws of the person we are with as part of their package. You’d be surprised to see how often those very flaws turn out to be the very thing you actually love about that person.
My husband and I for example have very different personalities (the saying that opposites attract is certainly true in our case) with him being an extremely rational and rather emotionless person (I swear, nothing can shake him); whereas I am an overly emotional and impulsive drama queen. Try as he might, despite all the years we have been together I still don’t feel like my husband gets me. He’ll admit it himself, that I am a complete enigma to him whenever I get all worked up over something. In the first years of our relationship this was something that really bothered me. I’d wonder, whether the fact that he doesn’t really understand my personality meant that he was not my soul mate after all and that we were not meant to be. And while I was wasting my time with these useless thoughts I oversaw his effort of trying to keep up with my impulsiveness. In your opinion, what is more important? The fact that he doesn’t quite understand my emotional outbursts or the fact that he is forever trying to understand them? For me it’s the latter. In my husband’s case, even though at times he struggles to understand my impulsiveness, he admits that it’s the first thing he misses when I am not around. See, what I mean?
Another important fact to keep in mind to make any relationship work is: We are not mind readers – so, speak up and don’t expect your partner to automatically understand your state of mind. This is especially true for us women as we tend to expect our partner to know what we feel and to react a certain way. And God forbid he doesn’t react the way we expect him to, then all hell breaks loose…(am I right?).
So, avoid the drama in the first place and state your feelings, tell your partner what you want. Obviously, the delivery of the message plays an important role. It goes without saying that nagging or bullying your partner into making them do or say the things we want them to, is not the way to go. Open, respectful communication is key! Keep the conversation with your partner going.
And so yes, I truly believe I have created my soul mate in that I always let my husband know how I feel and where he stands with me and I expect the same from him. Knowing that he doesn’t expect me to be perfect and vice versa takes a huge amount of pressure off our backs. We don’t have to prove anything to each other. The result in my case is a loving man, who has no clue how to handle me at times and with whom I but heads often enough. That’s all good, because I can be myself around him and feel at home. This is what counts in my opinion.
So, if you are in a relationship, don’t over analyze every single imperfect detail (unless of course it’s something major like abuse and violence – nobody should have to put up with that) and focus on the positive. As long as the positive outweighs the negative or at least makes the “score” even, trust me, you have a keeper. Perfection is overrated anyway, if you ask me. It’s predictable and can become boring with time – and boredom is definitely not something you want in a relationship.
If you aren’t in a relationship yet, keep in mind that you make your own destiny. Don’t wait for it to happen and for your soul mate to find you. Look for that person and keep an open mind and heart in the process.