Okay, so we’ve established the fact that the physical connection (sex) between husband and wife is very important. Today we will have a look at stage two: The Soul-Connection.
In order for us to understand the soul-connection, we must understand the soul of man (not to be confused with his spirit) first. In this post I will lay emphasis on the soul connection as intended by God, between husband and wife. However, I have also decided to write one on the implications of soul ties outside of marriage. Watch out for it! Anyway, now back to the topic..
I will try to keep the distinction of soul and spirit as simple and brief as possible, so as to allow for enough time for the main topic. I found a very simply explanation on this website, that really beautifully summarizes the soul vs. the spirit of man,
We know there is a difference between the soul (psyche) and the spirit (pneuma) by looking at Hebrews 4:12- “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit…” .
The spirit is always referred to as the immaterial part of man. Man is not a spirit, he has a spirit. I believe the soul (psyche) is just what the greek word implies… the makeup of man. You are different from every other person. The thing that makes Raymond Raymond is the soul. The soul is how you relate to others and how you understand yourself. The spirit is how you relate to God. When you are reborn, you are born of spirit (John 3:5-6). The spirit is part of the soul, much like the mind is part of the soul. It is the soul, though, that comprises who you are.
Animals don’t have a spirit per se- they don’t seek God. Plants have a body, animals have a body and soul (they are capable of relating to man and other animals), but only man has a spirit. (emphasis mine)
In his book “The Spiritual Man” Watchman Nee beautifully explains,
Thus we find later in the Scriptures that God often referred to men as “souls.” Why? Because what the man is depends on how his soul is. His soul represents him and expresses his individuality. It is the organ of man’s free will, the organ in which spirit and body are completely merged.
I will add to this, by saying that the soul of man comprises of the following (yes, you guessed it) three:
- his intellect (reasoning faculty; capacity for knowledge and understanding; consciousness: memory and imagination)
- his emotions (heart: thoughts, reasoning, understanding, judgement)
- his will (volition, wishes, desires, issues of life)
Now, how does all this relate to the cord of the soul? Let’s take a closer look!
The Level of the Intellect
Just as important as it is to be physically attracted to your partner, it is to be mentally/ intellectually attracted to him/her. It is one underrated and overlooked factor especially amongst Christians: intellectual compatibility! A level of deep understanding, where you can share your mind, thoughts, ideas, and beliefs freely with your partner, knowing that he not only gets you, but completes you in his thinking. Whether we are the feeling or thinking-type, we all desire to be stimulated intellectually.
With this I am not referring to one’s educational background or academic degree/s (although I do not dispute the fact that this too can be important to some people to some extent), but a true compatibility of the minds. It is not important for couples to possess the same level of IQ in order to be happy with each other, but they should well be able to communicate along similar lines. It is only natural individuals have different interests and hobbies, too – after all they are looking for someone to complement us, rather than be exactly like us- but the importance of mutual interests and feelings of sympathetic understanding cannot be over-emphasized.
After the initial euphoria of physical and emotional attraction, a marriage needs more substantial grounds to hold partners together. Common values, shared interests and the ability to offer each other something new, begin to matter even more in the long run. If a couple is intellectually incompatible, there is a greater chance of partners looking for other people to share their interests with. A more intellectual partner may begin spending more time with a colleague or friend, as he might find more satisfaction in such exchanges. This can often lead to an emotional affair.
It is a connection that might not be beyond the spiritual one, but it is one that is important all-the-same. It is part of your soul; part of your make-up. It is part of you!
The Level of the Will
This is probably the most important level of all: the decisions you choose to make together. Many are fascinated by their spouse’s mind or level of influence, others by their partner’s depth of emotions, but very few by their partner’s level of commitment or decision-making faculty. This, sadly, is where most marriages crumble:
- I need some money for some new furniture. What? We have no savings?
- How will we raise our kids? Wait! What? You don’t want kids?
- How often will in-laws visit/ spend time with us? No, they cannot possibly move in!
- Am I expected to do all the house-chores? Seriously, you don’t know how to..?
- We are not travelling this summer? What? You are scared of planes?
- No, I don’t feel like going to church today. What do you mean it is no option?
I’m sure you get my point..
Way too many marriages fail because important issues were or are not being discussed. We often assume our partners instinctively know how we think about certain issues, seeing as they love us.. This is obviously a very ignorant and naive assumption, as both partners come from different backgrounds and upbringing; with views so different from our own, it would be almost safe to assume they originated from a different planet (yes, I exaggerate). Bottom-line is: “Two cannot work together unless they agree.” (Amos 3:3)
What is important to remember is that as husband and wife are being joined together, they leave first, and then cleave to each other, becoming one.
What “leaving” means goes way beyond the geographical (moving out of your parent’s house); it involves the mental and emotional as well. As you start a new family unit, you do away with rules and regulations that do not sit well or work for you and your partner, and you form new ones that do. As a new family unit, you come together in agreement and understanding, deciding how to run this new home.
Both men and women often fail to leave their past behind. This is not me saying forget about your family or upbringing, but it is me saying, cut out things such as “In my father’s house, we used to do it this way..” Remember, this is not your father’s house.. it is your new home, realize and accept that new (and sometimes very different) rules apply.
This can be a problem for people who are used to a certain lifestyle, especially as one can easily feel betrayed or cheated, believing one “married down”. Do away with such thinking! It will only cause strife within your marriage. Sit down and discuss what you expect from this new union and how you will work things out, then stick to it! That is the cleaving-part: you must stick to it. Not to anything or anyone else, but to this union you have committed your life to, your soul to. You must decide to protect yourself and your partner from any external forces that will attempt to ruin (or cause havoc within) your marriage. If a woman fails to adopt to a new structure, she will be incapable of trusting her husband’s leadership and decisions.
The Emotional Level
We all know that people marry for various reasons; the predominant one being emotional security and closeness. We all want to feel loved, appreciated, accepted. The fact/feeling that we are loved causes us to feel good about ourselves. So, how do you awaken such feelings within your spouse?
Read on love according to The Word, and on the Love Languages here.
In addition: Don’t ever forget to laugh with each other! Laugh, joke, play, have fun! Whoever made us believe marriage had to be a burden, a pain, a struggle? Although it is for better or worse, attitude will make a difference!
Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. (Prov. 21:9)
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Prov. 17:22)
Working on Becoming (Better) Soul Mates
- Grow The Intellect
Remember how you used to do things together? Attend workshops, watch plays, attend debating clubs or sports events, sign up for extra classes? Don’t stop! Many couples are very engaged and socially-alive while dating, but fail to create room for these important things as their union matures.
Talents and skills are enthroned on this level. Foster them! Both within yourself and within your partner. We have all been given talents for the edification of ourselves and others, find, grow, develop them. It will fulfil not only you but your partner too.
Although it is important for individuals to spend a healhty amount of time a part, focus on spending quality time with each other, doing things you both fully enjoy, rather than having one partner having to compromise on an activity. This will lead to resentment and bitterness.
You are finding it difficult to remember what you love/s about your partner? Awaken your memories: what were the things that attracted you to him/her in the first place? What were the things you used to do when you were still just getting to know each other? Go back to these things! Marriage is the only course in life where you get the certificate before writing the exam. Don’t dull!
- Protect Your Union
Your first and most important commitment is to your spouse. Your union is a holy one, protect it! Although external circumstances often crop up, causing (un/intentional) distress, issues more often arise from a negative relationship with your partner. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Can I communicate effectively?
- Do I deal with conflicts as they arise?
- Do I have a positive self-image?
- Am I able to take criticism?
- Am I suspicious?
- Have I failed to live up to my responsibilities?
- Have I neglected our relationship?
- Is our marriage suffering because of the presence of a “third party”?
- Have I kept our issues private?
Often problems arise because we have not taken adequate measures to evaluate and (re)adjust ourselves or situations.
- Deal with Emotions
Positive emotion’s poison are negative emotions. You will have misunderstandings, learn to forgive! It is probably the only remedy, as there is no such thing as “doing away” with feelings of hurt, resentment, bitterness, disappointment or betrayal. I wrote a bit about it here, and will still refer you to it.
Remember the importance of open and honest communication. While your partner might not be able to literally read your heart or your feelings, he can listen and understand them, if only you choose to communicate them properly. Avoid the use of words such as “always” or “never” (this is especially important for women to remember!); as they will only get him to defend himself and come up with at least one instance that would refute your accusation. Learn to “fight” amicably and respectfully.
Also, I pray you understand this: Your partner is incapable of meeting your most basic needs!
Many of us depend on our partners for numerous things, but these three s/he will not give you, simply because s/he was never designed to:
- a sense of security
- a sense of significance
- a sense of self-worth
Note: mutual dependency is very different from basic personal needs. We were all born with a level of insecurities, feelings of insignificance and low self-esteem. During formative years a good relationship with your parents might have aided in the development of any or every of these, but the truth remains that: neither your parents, nor your partner, not even YOU can adequately meet those three needs. Outside of Christ you will desperately try to meet these needs, or try to make someone else (usually your partner) meet them, thus laying an unbearable burden on him/her. You must trust God to complete you.
And this is where we shall stop for today..