During one of our discussions soon after Libby and I started dating she asked me, “Do you think that there is one person that God created to be your perfect mate and, if you don’t find that particular person, then your relationship will never be the best it can be, and it may not last?” To be honest, at 20 years old, my attraction to Libby had little to do with such philosophical thoughts and so my immediate cynical response was, “What if my perfect mate is in France or worse yet behind the iron curtain in communist Russia?” Libby, trying to make a case her perfect mate theory said, “Don’t be silly, I think God would put your perfect match somewhere close, like, within the same county,” The conversation quickly turned into an argument when I said something about how the appropriate Christian response would be for me to date every single girl in the county, just to be sure. It is obvious to me now that my smart mouth kept getting me in trouble and that we needed to work on our relationship already because after my remark Libby mentioned something about me being a heretic and the conversation went downhill from there.
“A match made in heaven” and “You two were perfect for each other”, were two of the comments that people made about Libby’s and my relationship; but, if our relationship looked impressive to others, then the work that we constantly had to do to maintain that relationship must have paid off. There is an all too common misconception that a relationship works because the couple found their “soul mates” and therefore they were destined to have a great marriage. With apologies to Nicholas Sparks and other pop culture authors, Libby and I both came to the conclusion that great relationships are developed, not discovered.
We all want short cuts to everything, including relationships, which makes it easy to believe that when the “right” person is found then there is nothing left to do except enjoy the fruits of a perfect marriage. That romantic belief also makes it easy if, later on in the relationship, you decide that the person you married is not your perfect mate then you can move on without any of those pesky guilty feelings
Although the romantic version of “finding your soul mate” sells a lot of books, the truth is that when a couple says, “I do” the work has just begun, because “until death do you part”, means that no matter how much a couple have in common there will be adjustments that each person will have to make to the other person’s personality and quirky behavior from that moment on, most of which are overlooked during dating and the honeymoon. A lesson that Libby and I were about to learn as we headed to our new home following our month-long honeymoon in Florida.