Category: Full Life

LOVE. Is there such a thing as a soulmate?

It’s almost Valentine’s Day.  Which is my favorite holiday of the year.  Just kidding.  It’s maybe my next to least favorite.  Right above Arbor Day.  It reminds me (and many others) that singleness is not looked on kindly by the world.  Or the faith community.  I put the “I” in single.

With our obsession over The Bachelor, celebrity romances, marriage, etc. I thought it might be appropriate to revisit whether we have a soulmate or not?  Is there someone out there that “completes” you?  Are we all on a quest to find this person?

“The Bachelor is the show that answers the question how much wine do you have to drink before the man making out with 20 different women seems like he’d make a good husband?” –Jimmy Kimmel

According to a 2011 Marist poll, 73% of Americans believe that they are destined to find their one, true soulmate. The percentage is higher for men (74%) than women (71%). The belief is also higher among younger individuals, with 80% of those under 30 believing in soulmates (as opposed to 65% of those over 60).  I am defining a soulmate as that one person that you are destined for, meant for, supposed to marry and spend the rest of your life with.

This is the truth:  We do not have one person on this earth who is designed to be our soulmate.

This might be bad news at first but I think it is actually good news.  We are not on a wild goose chase.  We don’t have that pressure to find the one.  We can choose our spouse and use the right criteria to do so, not just hope for that unbelievable, unlikely connection.

7 Reasons why we don’t have a soulmate

  1. People are fallible. People make mistakes.  If soulmates existed, that would mean if you didn’t discern who it was correctly, and married the “non-soulmate”, this would be disastrous.  You would have a 2nd best marriage, and therefore 2nd best children.  Really a second best life.  This can’t be the case.  I think there are many other factors like timing, maturity, stage of life, circumstances, effort, past, etc. that influence who and when we marry and if they are the “right” person.
  2. We always marry the wrong person. (from Tim Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage)
    1. Everyone, because they are imperfect and sinful, are the wrong person to marry.
    2. Sorry, you are not meant for one specific person. The good news: Neither is anybody else. We are all not capable of “completing” someone.  “You complete me” is a fallacy.
    3. Some people are really, really the wrong person to marry. Everyone else is still incompatible.
  3. If true soulmates existed, this would mean the majority of people in the world have not married their soulmate. For every arranged marriage (which is a huge part of the world for a big part of history) it is unlikely that someone’s parents, in their insightful wisdom about their child’s love interest, picked the soulmate.  Just an FYI—most arranged marriages boast better “ratings” than freedom of choice marriages. With the prevalence of divorce in the world, that would mean that most people did not marry their soulmate.
  4. When we marry someone, it changes us, and them. So we end up with someone that is different than the person we dated.
    1. “We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change.”  — Stanley Hauerwas
  5. If we were all searching for a soulmate, this would suggest we are not a complete person on our own.   The message of needing someone to “complete” us is:  You are not sufficient.  You are not enough in yourself.  This is a fallacy.  Truth:  You are a complete person.  The one who allows your soul to come alive is actually your Creator.
  6. Scientific improbability (Article:  Science says finding your soulmate is almost impossible)

a.  If soulmates exist, the chances of actually finding that person are slim to none. “In other words, you better damn well hope fate brings you together, because probability suggests you’re not going to meet this person on your own.”

b. “Let’s suppose you lock eyes with an average of a few dozen new strangers each day. (…definitely a generous estimate.) If 10 percent of them are close to your age, that’s around 50,000 people in a lifetime. Given that you have 500,000,000 potential soul mates (people around your age living in the world), it means you’ll only find true love in one lifetime out of 10,000.”  I sure hope there’s not only that one person, somewhere in the world.  Happy searching if there is!

7. Relationships are not about getting; they’re about giving.

“The “soulmate” idea suggests that marriage is all about me, that I need to find someone who understands me perfectly, who makes me happy.  Instead, marriage should be about finding someone you can make happy.”  –Eric Metaxas

In the Bible, husbands are told to lay down their lives for their wives, to actually die for them. This is a far cry from searching for that one person who “completes” us.

So to sum it up:  We don’t have that one soulmate yin to our yang.  But before you curse me and shake your head at my unromantic-ness, I do believe we can become that one person.  Check out these other posts How to become a soulmate Part 1 and Part 2.



Check out the new book ADULTING 101 for an extended discussion about love, sex, dating and relationships.  If you haven’t ordered it yet, PLEASE DON’T!  WOULD YOU CONSIDER WAITING AND ORDERING IT ON THE RELEASE DAY APRIL 3RD?  We will remind you several times before then. Thanks so much.








Who will be at your funeral?


Take a minute to think about your funeral.  Morbid, I know.  But close your eyes and imagine what it would be like.  Who will be there?  What will they say?  If you passed away tonight, how would you be remembered?  Would people be sad?  Would people be indifferent?  Who would be there saying you made an impact on them?  Have you made a difference in this world?

Unsettling, isn’t it?  Sobering?  Because we all think we are going to live forever.  But there is bad news:  The death rate is holding steady at 1 per person.  You will die.  It’s just a matter of when…and how.  Dead people can’t enjoy their stuff.  Or their money.  Naked you come, naked you go.  So that means we are temporary stewards of everything in our life.  This is bad news in one sense but good news in another.  It is freeing.  No possessions last forever, nor are they meant to.  So if we figure out what matters we can have a life well-lived.

Stephen Covey says that we should begin with the end result in mind.  He lists this principle as one of the 7 habits of highly successful people.  Have you ever applied this to life in general?  Most people vaguely want to have a very meaningful life.  Most people have no idea what they are after.  And if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.  Who do you want to be?  A meaningful life and a life well-lived do not “just happen.”  You don’t get to have significance by binge watching Netflix every night.  (from time to time is OK though)  No one ever drifts into greatness.  No one ever drifts into making a difference.  You need intentionality.  You have to do this on purpose.

Find out what’s important, and give yourself to it.

What is important to you?  If you don’t quite know yet, that’s OK.  Most of you reading this are in a discovery stage of life.  You are exploring, finding out what matters. This is a wild truth:  Lots of things will try and coax you away from investing yourself in the important things.  Some of them will even be “good” things.  Some of them will seem urgent but not really matter in the grand scheme of life.  You need to pick the “best” thing.

You may have experienced a sense of loss, sadness, or disappointment when you graduated college.  That transition is really difficult, maybe the most confusing and disorienting one in our whole life.  You always hear people talking about college as the “good old days”, the best four years of your life.  If this is true, we are all in big trouble.  That means the rest of your life is a slow, depressing, downward spiral.  You peaked when you were 21?  Baloney.  I can assure you that every season of life brings the opportunity for more satisfaction and fulfillment and joy.  Imagine if you get married and have children.  Those stages of life are not going to be better times than college?  College is an incredible time of life, and a special time, but the truth is your best years are yet to come. Will you begin with the end result in mind?  Will you visualize what and who you want to be?  Will you give your life to what’s important?

Next week:  Your deathbed regrets



How to make beauty out of trash

shadow art -- dirty white trash bigger

Have you ever turned trash into gold?  OK me neither.  Have you ever seen someone take something bad in their life and turn it around for good?  Yes, me too.  What someone meant for evil, someone turns for good.

A couple weeks ago my friend Romesh sent me the picture shown above.  He said “the light reveals beauty in what at first appears to be a pile of waste.”  He went on to say “this is the story of my life!”  Can you relate?  This incredible project called “Dirty white trash” is by the 2 provocative artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster.  They took their own trash for 6 months (how long it took to make the piece) and transformed it.  Noble and Webster have also used dead animals for their art (189 to be exact):

shadow art -- dark stuff 188 mummified animals

trash from the Thames, ordinary household items:

shadow art -- real life is rubbish

and even aluminum cans shot with pellet guns.  QUITE EXTRAORDINARY!

shadow art -- manhattan skyline

In the right hands, chaos, confusion, and brokenness become beauty.  What was someone else’s careless abandon became a treasure.  This is a lot like real life.

Everyone has greatness inside.

Everyone has potential inside.

But often it’s hidden or covered by a rough exterior.  Shine the light in the right place and this potential is unlocked.  God does extraordinary things through ordinary people.  Broken people.  Confused people.  God loves to take a scar and make it a beauty mark.  He loves to take things that were meant for evil and turn them for good.  But it takes some time.  And it takes some work.  Some of those sculptures took months and even years.  How to make beauty out of trash?  Find the desired parts.  Wait if necessary.  Move the light around into all kinds of new places.  Have a vision for the way things could be.  Look for the beauty within.  This is the same with us.  It takes a while to make brokenness and confusion beautiful.  But God is in the business of making beauty out of broken.  Beauty takes time.

“The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection. … Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. … The marble not yet carved can hold the form of every thought the greatest artist has.” – Michelangelo

This is the potential that each of us have inside.  Greatness waiting to be discovered and unleashed.

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” –Michelangelo

Some questions to end on:

  1. Where do you get your self-worth from?  Do you believe you have potential and beauty inside?
  2. Do you have eyes to see greatness in other people?  Are you helping to unlock and unleash it?
  3. Is there a situation in your life that looks like trash?  Are you willing to take the time it needs to turn it for good?

What other lessons do you see in this art?


10 Ways to become someone’s soulmate (Part 2)

Bachelor soulmate towels

Thanks so much for all the feedback.  I really appreciate the conversation and dialogue.  I’ve gotten so many emails and texts back with ideas, articles, thoughts, opinions, disagreements, etc. and I LOVE it.  Keep them coming.  Check out Part 1 The first 5 ways to become someone’s soulmate. 

Here is one of my favorite thoughts from one of my favorite people.  Shari Gaffney writes about The Bachelor:

“The one (and maybe only) redeeming quality [of the show] is the ability to see how a person you’re interested in relates in a group. Often dating takes place in isolation ~ But how does that person interact with others?…Have I shared my idea?  Scrap the swanky Fantasy Suite and replace it with the Reality House.  This is where a mini-van littered with cheerios (rather than a limo or helicopter) picks up the couple and takes them to a house full of kids with the flu. They need to care for the kids, make dinner (and there’s no ABC stocked pantry) there’s a checkbook on the counter with very little money for groceries and a pet is running wildly around the house. Let’s see if they are still soulmates and can envision a lifetime together 🙂  That’s more like real life ~ haha!” 

I watched a little bit this past Monday and it was painful.  Caila was blindsided after she put herself out there and was vulnerable.  Onward.  The second 5 ways to become someone’s soulmate:

6. Be vulnerable. Be transparent.  Take risks.  (maybe not like Caila though.  I’m no expert but pretty sure it’s not good to tell someone you love them if they are dating 2 other people at that time).

7. Serve God. Give your lives away together.  Soulmate = soul alignment.   “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupery.  It is in giving that we receive.

8. Serve each other. Put a serving towel over your arm and follow Jesus’ example.  Learn their love languages—how do they give and receive love? Gary Chapman has a great book about this.

9.  Be grateful for them. Have a posture of gratitude.  Work hard to see and recognize the incredible blessing that a partner/companion is.  See the best in them.

10. Encourage them. Dream for them.  Have a vision for who they could become. Not just complimenting or flattery but look for the greatness and help to draw it out.

OK next week back to the Bachelor.  Why is it so scintillating?

In coming weeks:  Can you fall in love with the wrong person?  Can you be in love with 2 people at the same time?





Bachelor soulmate on a different dating site 2

“…humans are scouring the globe for someone with whom a relationship will require absolutely no work or compromise…Many adult humans who have long ago dismissed Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny as myths somehow persist in believing this person to exist.” –Eric Metaxas

Perspective has the ability to change everything.  Two ways exist to see potential marriage relationships: romantic destiny or romantic growth.  Romantic destiny says there is one person I’m designed to be with and it will be seamless, effortless, and unmistakably true.  I’ll know it when I meet them.  I just have to find them. The Romantic Growth model says any relationship worth having will require sacrifice, hard work, and love.  But it will be worth it.  Romantic growth holds to the belief that we can do things to make our relationship better.  There is not that one person out there because love is a choice, not without feelings but bigger than any feeling.

I don’t think we have that one person.  But I think the person that we choose can become our soulmate if we both work towards it.  It is not about romantic destiny but about romantic growth.


  1. Love Jesus first. HE is meant to complete us.  If we put Him first and our spouse second, we can grow into their soulmate.  We must be secure in our own individual self-worth and satisfied with our single journey before we join someone else.  As our Creator develops us and makes us more caring, responsive, sacrificial, and secure, we can love our spouse better and better.
  2. Listen.  Be quick to listen and slow to speak.  Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.
  3. Learn.  Be interested in them.  Find out what they like and don’t like.  Anticipate their needs.  Get to know them deeply.  We can never reach the bottom of who another person is.
  4. Love unconditionally. No strings attached.  We change to the degree that we know we are loved.
  5. Let it go. (just like Anna and Elsa) Forgive and ask forgiveness.  Keep short accounts.  Don’t go to bed angry. Choose to assume the best and give the benefit of the doubt.

I’ve never been married so what do I know?  Most of these are much easier said than done.  What do the married peeps have to say?

Next week numbers 6-10.  (5 more ways we can become someone’s soulmate.)