As pastors we’re often asked to give advice to Christian singles. Though I’ve been married for the last 35 years, I’ve often encountered a particularly problematic area among those who are dating and single. It’s rampant in the secular world and has infiltrated our Christian culture. This is the idea of “soul mates.”
This won’t make me popular with many people—particularly many ladies—but the idea of the perfect “soul mate”—that God made one special person just for me—is the stuff of sweetsy, 25-cent romance novels, and has no footing in Christian thought.
The concept comes from an alleged altercation between the human race and the Greek god Zeus. According to Greek mythology, humans originally had four arms, four legs and a single head made of two faces. Zeus feared that the authority of the gods might be compromised by this race, so he decided to split each person in half, condemning us to spend the rest of our lives wandering unrequited until we find the half we were separated from—our lost soul mate. According to this account, we would always be less happy with any other person.
Today millions base their hope of marital bliss entirely on this myth. Many people date forever and go through countless relationships trying to find that one perfect person meant for them. They’re scared witless that they’ll make a mistake and marry the wrong one.
In Christian circles, we’ve spiritualized it. We teach, “God has made one special person just for you.”
If that isn’t the epitome of self-centered, narcissistic thinking, I don’t know what is. God didn’t create another human being just to satisfy our needs or to make us feel complete. Yet many believers pray for God to lead them to the “right one” instead of negotiating through the decision-making process of selecting a mate in a down-to-earth, biblical approach.
Surprising to many, there is absolutely no biblical evidence to substantiate such behavior. The Bible never tells us to find the one God has chosen. It teaches us how to live well with the person we have chosen. Life, love, romance and marriage are the result of a couple living by God’s principles—that never fail. But this version, which places true love and marriage on the footing of human choice and responsibility, just isn’t nearly as romantic or seductive as the idea of soul mates.
The problem is that we don’t understand the dynamics of true love. We think we do. Our songs, movies, romantic novels and TV shows all echo the belief that true love will always appear when we meet the right person—our destined soul mate. The truth is, a successful marriage isn’t the result of marrying the “right” person, feeling the “right” emotions, thinking the “right” thoughts or even praying the “right” prayers. It’s about doing the “right” things—period.
Why doesn’t God have a special person just for me? Because He knows His principles of love, acceptance, patience and forgiveness work all the time—no matter to whom we are married. That’s why Paul never told us to find that “special someone,” but rather to make sure we find someone who truly believes and lives by the principles of love, acceptance, patience and forgiveness. He referred to such a person as a “believer.”
The best advice we pastors can give to singles? Stop looking for a soul mate, find another believer and live out the principles God gave us in the Bible. That doesn’t seem so “romantic,” but it’s about doing the right things, not finding the right one.
Mark Gungor is pastor of Celebration Church in Green Bay, Wis., and CEO of Laugh Your Way America.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. Enroll in the FREE Mini-Course to experience Dr. Rutland's training for yourself and then enroll for the full training that will change your life and ministry.
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.
NICL Training offered in FL, TX and GA - Learn everything you wish someone had taught you about business and ministry before you finished seminary. Gain the knowledge that will help propel your life and ministry to the next level as you implement practical lessons from Dr. Rutland's training. Training Dates and Details.
The NICL Online is a brand new option for those church and ministry leaders who cannot attend the in-person training. Now, you can receive all 60-hours of Dr. Rutland's training from the comfort of your home or ministry for a full year. Learn more about NICL Online.