I'm trying to understand what the Bible teaches on the matter of "soul mates." Could you offer some guidance?
A coworker of mine asked me today if I believe in soul mates. She's been married before and divorced for what I understand are unscriptural reasons. She is now dating a man she dated back in high school and has now, 30 years later plus, has started dating again. After two weeks, they've started talking about marriage.
I'm not sure her motivation behind the question. I've been looking for an opportunity to address the unscriptural divorce, and how she does not have a right to remarry. Today, the question of soul mate came up. I told her that I do not believe the Bible teaches that there is one specific man God wants to marry one specific woman. My logic is that we aren't told that in Scripture; and, if that were the case, God would not leave us to blindly determine that. She googled her question and then the article she found cited Song of Solomon as a passage to say that when Solomon says "I have found the one who my soul loves." It was something deeper than just love but a love from the soul. It also cited David and Jonathan's souls being knit together and said something to the affect of, soul mates are when you and another person intuitively know each other on a far deeper level and think and communicate in a special way. I've definitely had close friends before but I don't believe that the Bible teaches we can just find a person that we are absolutely meant to be with. I told her that the Bible teaches that it's one man and one woman for life. That love is a commitment and that it means self-sacrifice and choosing that person regardless of whoever else is out there. I asked her if we had a soul mate and you were married to someone else, would that mean they made the wrong choice? She didn't really have a response.
Anyway, any help on how to address this would be helpful. The idea of soul mates is pervasive in our media and society. Is there one man for one woman as far as God intending for two people to be together. Thank you for your time and service and help.
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines soul mate as "(1) a person who is perfectly suited to another in temperament or (2) a person who strongly resembles another in attitudes or beliefs." With such a definition, it does describe the friendship of David and Jonathan. "Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself" (I Samuel 18:1). This was not a romantic type of love, but an extremely strong friendship.
"Him whom my soul loves" was what the heroine of Song of Solomon called her fiance (Song of Solomon 1:7; 3:1-4). His name for her was "my love," "my darling," or "my beloved." It was a way of expressing that she loved him with all of her heart. It wasn't a superficial love.
There are always people whom we feel closer to than to others. But too often this is not what people mean when they say they have found their soul mate. As you noted, people claim that there is one person whom they were meant to marry. That is not sensible. From the Bible perspective, there could be a number of people who are close friends and none may involve romantic feelings.
There is also the unreasonable expectation that a such a close friend means you never have a fight. The bride in Song of Solomon has a big fight over a minor thing that covers most of chapters 5 and 6. When a disagreement happens, people are convinced they have found the wrong person and go looking for someone else. However, real soul mates would work to resolve issues because they do deeply love each other.
What is really happening is that your friend mistakes romantic feelings for love. Thus, each new person she meets must be "the one!" ... that is until the feelings inevitably fade, then the next person who excites her is her next soul mate because she knows little about the person. A simple question to ask is: "How many soul mates have you found so far?"
Thank you for your prompt response, brother. I really appreciate your time and consideration. I'm praying for opportunities to have this conversation with her again. Thank you for your work in the Lord.