Are You Sure You've Found Your "Soul Mate"?

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I'm often asked the question "Is this is my soul mate?"  There are probably as many answers to that question as there are askers.  Part of what helped me define my personal definition of a soul mate was the experience of the moment when I realized I was married to a man who wasn't mine.

coffee shop

Image: Bailey Weave Flickr

 

I will never forget it.  It was February in Florida and the weather was perfect.  We were sitting in the car at a beach, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  The scene in and of itself was nearly perfect, however, the energy between us was anything but.  It was strained, angry, and unsatisfying.  I didn't know exactly why, but I was already afraid.  Then it happened.  The man I was married to handed me a list he’d written on the back of a page he’d torn out of a text book.  On that list were eleven things he wanted me change, about myself.  They ranged from wanting my hair color to be different to wanting me to be a better housekeeper.

Sure, I had room for improvement in the housekeeping department.  I still do.  However,  most of the items on that list were intrinsically me.  I couldn't change them and be expected to remain who I am.  I was young when that happened, only 23, and even at 23 I knew I would never be successful at being the someone he wanted me to be and in that moment. I knew that marriage would not make it , and that he was my practice husband.

In a lot of ways it was easier, because he wanted me to be so completely different than who I was. I knew it would never work.  Some things were more subtle and seemed more doable.

I want you to be more punctual.

I want you to be more organized.

I want you to be more spiritual.

I want you to drink a little less.

I want you to have more vision for your future.

All of those things might seem like things worth striving for, and yet, wanting someone to be different demonstrates a lack of acceptance.  When you are on the receiving end of someone wanting you to be different, it’s horrible.  However, as horrible as it is, you’d be amazed how often someone will try to hammer themselves into a box they were never meant to fit into because someone else wants them to be someone they aren’t.

You’d think after my practice marriage ended, I’d have learned that lesson.  It took me a little more practice, and I spent years in and out of relationships trying to become the someone that other person would love enough not to leave.

Becoming something you aren’t to make someone else happy isn’t growth, it’s mutation.

We all know mutation isn’t usually very pretty. On the other hand, there’s evolution.

When I met the man I’m currently married to, I noticed something in me almost immediately.  I noticed I was "up-leveling" (stepping up) my game everywhere I could.  I wanted to be a little more organized.  I wanted to be a little more engaged.  I wanted to be healthier and smarter.  I wanted to be more grounded and centered.  He never once asked me to be different.  In fact, he loved me just the way I was so completely I can honestly say I’d never felt so loved before.  However, in the light of his appreciation I felt inspired to be better.  I still do.

Why? The true measure of a relationship is who you become within it

My husband sees something in me.  He’s seen it from the day we met.  In fact, the very fact that he sees it, makes it possible.  My husband sees the very best parts of me, almost to the exclusion of the other parts.  It’s nothing short of a miracle.  He sees the best version of Lisa.  It’s one of the greatest gifts anyone has ever given me: a window into my best self – and because he can see it, I want to be it.  I want to be the best I can be because of him.   I have grown more as a person is the seven years I’ve known him than in all the years before him.  I am constantly inspired to reach for my highest potential, because he sees it AND because he deserves it.

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