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4.18 screamfree marriage
April 18, 2016

Love the One You’re With

Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might be found more suitable mates. But the real soul-mate is the one you are actually married to.
(J. R. R. Tolkien)

In my experience as a marriage counselor and divorce mediator, I have seen few faulty ideas die harder than the “soulmate”. You know, the idea that God, or the Universe, or the Fates have selected that one special person just for you. Your job, and therefore the real hard work of marriage, is finding that person.

Those of us with some marital experience and wisdom usually laugh off this notion eventually, but it is an idea embedded within the fabric of our culture. Every romantic movie is about the difficulty of finding someone—and thus portrays the wedding at the end of the movie as the end of the journey. “Ahh, we have finally found each other! Now the hard work is over! The relaxing can begin!”

But even among the already married, and even among the educated, I still find this idea at play. It creeps in like a lying serpent, whispering to us “It’s not you, it’s not even your spouse—you’re just a bad match. You were never supposed to be together in the first place. There is another out there, and with that one it’ll be so much easier…”

But the grass (or Garden) is always greener when you’re not tending to your own lawn. Allow your current marriage to do its work on you—it is asking you to love the real person in front of you, rather than the fantasy “soulmate” who doesn’t exist.

Peace begins with pause,

screamfree hal runkel


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