Love 101

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Since the beginning of time, with the creation of heart shaped candies, lipstick kiss sealed envelopes and sideways glances, there has been nothing quite so romantic as the concept of a soul mate. The idea that there is someone out there in the great big universe who has the ability to fill the cracks deep within your heart…to complete your life, to bring you joy, to fill that void that you may have always felt but didn’t recognize or understand its origin.

The concept of soul mates goes back a long time, at least into the 1800’s. When I looked up the definition on Dictionary.com, the definition reads: “A person with whom one has a strong affinity.” I don’t feel that the simple definition sums up what we as human beings envision we will find once we find our soul mate.

I envisioned my soul mate as someone who, for lack of better words, would complete me. Someone who would understand my natural pessimism, my appreciation for nature, my love for animals, my passion for reading and writing, my bouts of melancholy that no one could shake me out of – a person who would get it, love it, accept it.

When I was a teenager, dreamy and starry eyed, I thought that when I met my soul mate, my ears would ring with the alarm bells of recognition. I was sure that I would see him and immediately know that this was THE ONE…and we’d spend the rest of our lives living happily ever after.

As I grew up through my teenage and early adulthood years, my idea of a soul mate changed with each person I met. In my teen years, I began to think it was possible for my soul mate to perhaps be a female and that when I found my soul mate, it would be a platonic love shared. As I entered early adulthood my ideas changed. With the experience of sex, I became sure that one could not share the unique bond with their soul mate without the knowledge and understanding of your partner gained through physical intimacy.

There have been many people throughout my life that I thought were going to be my soul mate. Males, females, they each had some unique grasp of the inner workings of my mind that assured me they were the one…With the men, I tried very hard to turn those feelings into love, into romance, into a future. I failed miserably each time. They “got” me, yes, but the love part never panned out. Either I wasn’t emotionally and mentally satisfied with what they were bringing to the table, or they simply weren’t all the interested in spending the rest of their lives with me.

It seemed that each break up was a tragedy of the most monstrous proportions. I took each failed relationship as a sign from the universe that I had no soul mate, that I was destined to wander the earth alone and die in a miserable heap of alienation and failure.

Key West, 2007

When I met my husband, he wasn’t the type of man I would typically be interested in. I met him during the scandalous end of an unhealthy relationship. I didn’t think twice about him…he was calm, quiet, kind and gentle. I much preferred the bad boy type, and settled on friendship. He was not so easily swayed to give up on me, however, and persisted in romancing me after my relationship ended.

He was relentless. He professed his undying love for me in a million small ways, in ways I have never experienced in the past. He eventually won me over. The courtship period only lasted a few months before we were married. Friends worried that I was settling. They knew that I didn’t share the same passionate love for him that he had for me. But I felt sure that it was right. It felt right. There were no alarm bells, I wasn’t SURE  – but I felt peaceful. I felt safe, I felt secure, I felt that I could hand him my heart and that he would accept it graciously, tuck it away in his pocket, and protect it with his life.

It didn’t take long for my romantic inclinations to catch up. I loved him when we decided to get married, and as we married, I fell madly in love with him. Each year of our marriage, I find that I love him even more than the last.

July 27th will be 9 years of marriage. It hasn’t always been easy, in fact, there were times when we talked about giving up. But through it all, I have loved this man with all of my heart. Even when we were at our worst, my heart did not falter and it seemed that there was nothing that we could not work our way through together.

And this, I think, is what having a soul mate is all about. The ability for another person to see into the places into your heart that you are not able to see yourself – you may not even be aware that they exist. When you find this connection, this bond that soul mates share, it endures the worst agonies a partnership can throw your way. You become something bigger than yourself, something more than two people. In religious ceremonies, they say something to the effect of “and the two become one” and I believe that this is what soul mates are about: the merging of two lives, of two hearts, two souls.

Soul mates aren’t just thrust into our lives. They are created out of love, with patience, and through perseverance.

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