what is a soul mate?

i recently saw “five-year engagement” on a flight.  it had such an anti-“hollywood” movie in it’s approach to love.  growing up, i watched movies like “serendiptiy” and “kate & leopold” where love is predestined.  it’s going to happen with a certain person at a certain time.  in the meantime, we’re just biding our time.  in reality, soul mates are just two people who decided at one time to take a chance on each other.  yes, it’s a miracle, but not because there’s just one love, but because there are a billion potential loves.

watch this clip to see what i mean. i love the last bit: you just pick a cookie and take a bite.

here are some latter day saint leaders’ teachings on the matter:

“Temple marriage covenants do not magically bring equality to a partnership. Those covenants commit us to a developmental process of learning and growing together—by practice.. . . Equal partnerships are not made in heaven—they are made on earth, one choice at a time, one conversation at a time, one threshold crossing at a time. And getting there is hard work.” – elder bruce c. hafen

“Soul mates’ are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price.”  – president spencer w. kimball

i don’t think you will ever find the person who is 100% right for you.  instead, i think you find someone who is partly right for you (maybe only 50%), and you spend the rest of your life working up to 100%.  all this being said.  some people just shouldn’t be together.  don’t choose someone for the sake of choosing someone.  i’m just warning you to not get stuck on this mentality that there is only one person for you.  just because there are a billion fish in the sea, doesn’t mean the fish on your line has the potential to be your perfect fish.

what is love?

recently, i read an article from “hellogiggles”. it’s all about how to tell when you love someone.  up to this year, i wondered about this a lot. i know a lot of people who wonder about this, too.

the author explores love as the metaphor as a plane ride, and you can jump or pilot the plane.  a simple, easy metaphor.  the article had excellent quotes.  here are a few of my favorites:

“Love is making a choice every single day, to either love or not love.  That’s it.  It’s that simple.  Either to continue the process or not. We fall in and out of love.  Even in relationships, especially in relationships.  This doesn’t mean we don’t love the person.  It means we are left with a choice.  There is a difference between feeling love for someone (caring about a person), and loving someone (choosing to love that person).  You may have love for someone forever.  But that doesn’t mean you choose to love that person forever.”

to think of love as a choice seems highly unromantic and super logical, but i couldn’t believe it more whole-heartedly. we have so much more control over our lives than we give ourselves credit for.  we choose our emotions, our feelings.  if we can choose to not hate someone, we can choose to love someone.

“Although love varies, it also deepens. This means the longer you stay on that flight and embark on the journey together, the more fruit the process will bare. Your investment pays off. Your choices become easier. You not only become stronger as a couple, but also as individuals, assuming the love process is healthy – which means you guys are both doing work. The choice to love creates opportunity to hit notes in life that you could never hit alone and THIS is what makes your choice worth it.”

this quote makes me think of something my mother told me once. she told me, “affection grows as your commitment does.” it makes me so sad when people give up after a short time.  work pays off.  the same is true for a career and the same is true for relationships.

“So how do you know if it’s love? That is not the question to ask. The question is do you choose to love this person or not? Right now. Not tomorrow. Today. Make a choice. Yes or no. If the answer is yes, love as hard as you can. Love with everything you’ve got (your capacity right now at this point in your life). If the answer is no, promise me one thing.

Let the fall make you stronger.”

the author’s closing advice is so key.  if someone is draining your energy or if you are miserable with someone, don’t stick it out just for the sake of sticking it out. if you see no potential in a relationship, decide that day to jump out.  if you see potential (or if you don’t see a lack of potential) don’t jump out, and instead give that love all you’ve got.  you jump or you strengthen.  you don’t get both.

i’ve been in situations when i knew i wasn’t happy, but instead of just jumping, i sat in the hypothetical plane, letting it fly on autopilot rather than taking the wheel and flying the pane.  eventually, i did jump, but i was miserable and had wasted time.  i also know people who have a good plane flight going, but for whatever reason, they decide to jump.  they miss out on views, experiences and possibly the best thing that ever happened to them.  in the end, staying on a flight too long is just as heartbreaking as jumping too soon.