I have a confession to make…my husband isn’t my soul mate.
When we first met my cheeks didn’t flush, my heart rate remained steady and my feet stayed on the ground. There wasn’t an instant spark or a heated connection. I knew my husband back then as Jason Ray. For those of you that know my husband you know that his name alone defines who he is, lol, but for those of you who don’t know I’ll fill you in. He loved to make fun of me (still loves to), he refused to call me by my first name, only my last, and he gave me high fives so hard it felt like my hand would break – a very brother/sister relationship. He was always quick with a joke and a smile and he was extremely nice. When I was going through my divorce he gave me some sage advice and when I moved into my condo he offered to help. But at the end of the day he was Jason Ray, my friend.
It wasn’t until he and I helped chaperon a church youth event, a high school camping trip, that things changed. I got to spend three days in the woods with some of my favorite people – the kids, my friends and God. I got to see Jason in his element; the woods, the water and having fun with the kids. Jason likes to think he wowed me when he took off his shirt to cliff jump. That didn’t hurt, I will admit, but more than that I noticed things I hadn’t seen before. He looked relaxed, healthy and happy. I remember the feeling hit me like a ton of bricks. I quickly hurried to my friend Sarah and advised her of the feelings and she said “Jason Ray?!” That moment still makes me laugh. After the camping trip I texted him non-stop. When I want something bad enough I will try anything to get it – Jason was no exception. We were married two and a half months later.
Of all the words I would use to describe Jason, soul mate is not one of them. I don’t feel like he was created for me nor I for him. Just the idea of a soul mate makes me insecure. I hear soul mate and I don’t think “yes, there is one person who is meant to be and we will live happily ever after”. What soul mate tells me is “there is only one person on this entire planet who is willing to put up with your crap – choose wisely”.
Maybe Disney, or most romance movies, have put this idea in our head that when we meet our soul mate we will know. The symptoms are there: your heart beats out of your chest, you get all hot and sweaty, you can barely breathe, you never want to be away from this person… This person must be my soul mate. But, sadly, most people confuse lust with love; thus starting the hook up/break up cycle. They think they’ve found their soul mate until their “soul mate” does something to make them mad and they move on to the next soul mate.
Truthfully speaking I think almost (almost) any two people could live happily ever after. I know that goes against what society thinks but I really feel it’s true. You know why? Because people don’t get divorced because they aren’t “soul mates”. People get divorced because they are selfish, lazy, scared and impatient. Being in love is a choice, not a feeling, and people often disregard that concept. And why wouldn’t they when pop culture so lavishly promotes the ridiculousness of celebrity “love”? The hook ups and break ups, bed jumping, and divorces after 58 days (does Brittany Spears or Kim Kardashian ring a bell?). Shows like The Bachelor/Bachelorette, Joe Millionaire and I Wanna Marry Harry are embarrassing representation of what America views as “normal” love or “finding your soul mate”.
Couples who have made it through the worst of times understand what it means to be selfless, humble and forgiving. They have been strong when the other is weak and have carried the burden for each other when needed. Or maybe they both broke down and were so weak they knew they needed each other to rebuild and they hung on to what they had for dear life, instead of walking away. Maybe they realized that a vow before God was not meant to be broken and come hell or high water they were going to figure it out. Maybe one didn’t care about the marriage but the other stood strong and loved hard, even when it seemed hopeless, and the other person came around. The fact is – they are still together. Thick and thin, better or worse. And those couples know what it’s like to weather the “I don’t like my spouse right now” or “I can’t stand them” storms. We’ve all had that moment with our spouse, when you’re angry, hurt and fed up. The “I don’t like my spouse” often leads to the misconception of “I’m not in love with my spouse anymore”. But this is where love becomes a choice. A choice that most people don’t want to make when it’s easier, or so they think, to walk away.
When you are married you should always try to put your spouses needs above your wants, something that has been my constant focus for the last month. I realized that if my marriage was going to be fruitful, I had to change my attitude and actions. Now, don’t get me wrong – I am in no way a love “expert”. I have gone through a divorce and I know that not all marriages are salvageable. Jason and I have had our peaks and valleys. Times that have been amazing and times where I didn’t want to see his face. But Jason and I made a commitment when we got married that we were going to stick it through no matter what. And thankfully, at our darkest times, one of us always comes around and makes it right. And I have to tell you, putting him above myself has paid off immensely. He, in turn, has followed suit. We still have our problems (we both can be massive butt heads) but we come together to make it right quickly, and then we move on.
Happily ever after is a lot of work. It’s not rainbows and butterflies, it’s compromise that moves us along (Thank you Adam Levine for those wise words). Do I believe in soul mates? No. But I do believe I found my happily ever after. I just have to make sure that the chapters from here until the end are filled with love and laughter. But most importantly: selflessness, humility, and forgiveness. We are not perfect people, but together we are perfectly imperfect. He is my prince charming and I am his princess. I am okay with that.