The idea of “soulmates” or “The One” has never settled well with me, at least the most commonly understood definition of soulmates. I don’t believe that individuals are born to be the soulmate of a specific person. The whole idea is riddled with issues.

If it were true, that among the billions of people walking around only one of them was your soul mate, what would be the odds of you actually encountering that person? Or, what if you marry someone else and then suddenly you meet your real soulmate? Does that give you the right to leave the person you are with? I mean, after all, if Person B is your real soulmate that means that you couldn’t be the soulmate for Person A and it would be cruel of you to deprive Person A of the opportunity to find their real soulmate, right? Or what if your soul mate gets it wrong and marries someone else? Does that mean you are doomed to a life without true love?

I don’t believe a soulmate is born. I believe a soulmate is built. There are many dozens of people with whom one can build an amazing, happy, passionate marriage. The wedding day is just the departure on a journey of two becoming one. Through a process of joy and pain, any two lovers can become soulmates. For some, it happens quickly and for others take more time. Some never actually make it and either end in divorce or choose to hold their apathy, unforgiveness, or offense closer than the person with whom they once vowed to love and cherish.

erica roman

The challenge is most people don’t realize that it is holding on to one another through the pain of life, more so than through the joys, that allows two people to reach that level of intimacy. Marriage is a fire and inside the fire is where soulmates are forged. Too often people face the fire and feel like “if it’s this hard then maybe it’s not meant to be” and so they give up. (Sidenote: I am not talking about abuse or infidelity here.) But the amazing thing is that once you make it through the fire, the other side is amazingly beautiful. I know this because Jon and I made it through the fire.

Jon and I did not start our marriage off with a very good foundation. We started with unresolved hurts and shame. I don’t think either of us was prepared for the responsibilities and requirements of marriage. A couple years in things got bad. I wanted out. I never said the word divorce but it sat on my tongue for longer than I would want to admit. We sought advice from our pastors and some friends but my heart had already checked out.

I remember one time we were fighting and Jon started to cry. I felt nothing, not anger, not sadness, not pity. Inwardly I was shocked at my own coldness. I did not feel love for him and I was convinced that we would not make it. We continued to get advice and support from our church family, but truthfully I think it was my own pride that made me stay through some of the harder parts. (Divorce would be a bad mark on my life.)  Even when Jon started trying to fix some of the areas that had been lacking I still felt nothing. Mentally I recognized that he was really making an effort but I felt that it was too late.

My heart was like a car with a battery that had been dead so long it could no longer take a charge. I needed a new one and God gave one to me. God started talking to me all of the time about how much He loved me. He would say so while I was journalling, during messages at church, and even random songs on the radio. For months I couldn’t escape it. Once when I was working on the pool deck there was a water exercise class to music going on and I heard God say to me, “I’m singing this song to you.” No lie, I ended up crying to Katy Perry’s Firework.

erica roman

The amazing thing was, as my heart began to receive love from God, I was simultaneously able to start receiving love from Jon. As I was able to receive love from Jon we were able to rebuild and repair the broken places in our marriage and then I found myself falling in love with him all over again. It seemed each month and each year after was better than the last. We grew closer and loved each other deeper than I would have ever imagined. We became a team. Our strengths complemented each other and we compensated for each other’s weaknesses.

The intimacy only multiplied when we decided to start a family. The process of bringing life into the world brought us to a deeper level in our relationship. Parenthood in the first year is difficult but instead of driving us apart like so many had joked and warned, it brought us closer. Our last year was the best year of our marriage in every possible way. Yes it was tiring and we suddenly found ourselves with less time to work with, but that just meant the moments we had together were more precious. One time, a couple of months before I lost him we spontaneously decided to find a place to park so we could make out like high school teenagers. It was hilarious and amazing at the same time. That is probably one of my favorite memories.

I think that fact that we had made it so far in our marriage makes me feel his loss even more. We worked so hard to get where we were. Our marriage had been restored to the point that we had moved into each other’s souls. Now I am reeling from his absence. He was a part of me and now part of me is gone. If I believed in the traditional idea of soulmates I would be stuck in this place forever. If Jon was the only soulmate I was “assigned” then any hope for romance in my life would be over at 27.  I love Jon still and no matter how much time goes on part of me always will. But I also know that someday I will be able to build another amazing, passionate, fulfilling relationship with someone else. That part of my life isn’t over, it’s just going to be on hold for a while. If I get the chance to love someone else well, it will be because being with Jon taught me how.

erica roman

Psalm 27: 13-14

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

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