How to Know if Your Spouse is Your Soul Mate

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How to Know if Your Spouse is Your Soul Mate

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

The concept of “soul mates” is an age-old, romantic idea that each of us is fated to be with one special someone with whom we connect on a spiritual level. Many people put a lot of stock into this concept, and it’s not unusual for married individuals to wonder whether or not their spouse is their soul mate. The problem is that this can lead us to doubt the marriages we’ve committed to.

When a young couple transitions from the “honeymoon phase” and into a more day-to-day dynamic, they might begin doubting or questioning whether this is the person they were ultimately meant to marry. Maybe they find that they don’t actually agree on everything–since young couples tend to start out imitating one another’s preferences, dreams, and wants in order to achieve a sameness and avoid conflict–or maybe they’ve begun to butt heads more frequently.

From a biblical perspective, marriage is a lifelong commitment you promise to honor. And once you’ve made those promises to one another, it’s up to you and your spouse to nurture the spiritual side of your marriage. Because ultimately, nurturing the spiritual aspect of your relationship will be what binds your souls closer together. In other words, our marriages are at their best when we’re tending to our souls.

The good news is, determining whether you’ve married your soul mate isn’t a matter of guesswork. You simply have to take care of your souls.

So how do couples nurture one another’s souls and, ultimately, create that soul-mate bond so many of us long for?

1. THEY CULTIVATE SPIRITUAL INTIMACY

Each of us has a deep, abiding longing in our souls for connection. Most young people believe finding their soul mate and getting married will fill that void–and for a while, it seems like it does. But eventually, the longing comes rushing back, and we begin to wonder, “Was this really the person I was supposed to marry?”

Even couples who have done “all the right things” to achieve a healthy marriage–premarital counseling, practicing effective communication and conflict resolution skills, achieving emotional balance, adjusting expectations, and more–feel this longing when their soul care is not in working order.

If you and your spouse aren’t working toward spiritual intimacy, you’ll continue feeling restless. But if you bond with one another on a soul level, you’ll experience a deeper connection and more profound meaning, both in your marriage and in your life. God calls soul mates to pursue and share spiritual meaning; in your partnership, the only way to discover that successfully is to pursue it together.

2. THEY SEE GOD IN THEIR MARRIAGE

As you seek the spiritual meaning of your marriage together, God will be revealed to you more fully. Marriage itself has a way of revealing God to us, and anchoring ourselves in faith is critical to both the health of our relationship and our soul connection.

Marriage is an earthly metaphor that represents God’s love for us. Isaiah 62:5 says, “[…] as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” The Lord’s church is called “The Bride of Christ” multiple times in the Bible, and Jesus’s love for His church is an additional mirroring of the love and connection God intends for our marriages.

When we see and acknowledge these parallels, we gain a greater understanding of the sort of connection God wants us to pursue. In order to achieve this connection, we must practice God’s examples of faithfulness and forgiveness for each other on a daily basis. Without these two critical components, marriage can’t last.

Faithfulness is the foundation on which we build abiding trust. If both spouses aren’t willing to be faithful, the marriage crumbles. As God is faithful, we also promise faithfulness to one another.

Forgiveness allows us to start each day fresh. When we live together, we’ll inevitably step on each other’s toes (whether we mean to or not). We have to be willing to forgive each other over and over; if not, we risk growing bitter and resentful toward each other. As God is forgiving, we promise to forgive each other.

As we practice and model the qualities of God in our own marriages, we’ll see Him more and more.

3. THEY NURTURE THE SOUL OF THEIR MARRIAGE

Nurturing the spiritual aspect of your marriage requires daily, intentional action. Couples who practice soul care in their marriages:

  • Worship together
  • Serve one another–and others
  • Pray together

By keeping God in the center of their lives, they bind themselves closer together on a soul level.

If you would like help in cultivating your relationship on the soul-mate level, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

Communication Disconnect: Why it Can be Hard to Understand Your Spouse

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Communication Disconnect: Why it Can be Hard to Understand Your Spouse

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

It’s an age-old discussion we’ve all heard, time and time again: men and women find one another difficult to understand. We have heard countless stories from married couples who regularly (and habitually) confuse one another through their differing communication styles. Those differences can create a true disconnect in our relationships with one another.

The good news is that even though we might be puzzled by our spouses from time to time, we truly can work together to develop a greater understanding of where they’re coming from. Solving the mystery of the “gender gap” isn’t impossible; we’ll show you why.

MEN ARE ANALYZERS; WOMEN ARE SYMPATHIZERS

No, we don’t come from different planets; our motivations and goals through communication are just vastly different. And that can throw a wrench in an otherwise benign conversation, because our approach to communicating informs how we respond to one another.

Generally speaking, men tend to be highly analytical. They’re concerned with the cold, hard facts and laser-focused on problem-solving. Men also tend to be task-oriented and straight-to-the-point.

Conversely, women (in general) approach communication in a more sympathetic way. They’re intuitive and attuned to the emotional connections between themselves and the people they’re communicating with, and they tend to be more concerned with feelings before facts. (That’s not to say that facts don’t matter; but sometimes, it’s more important to women to process emotional realities first so that they can then tackle the facts).

WHERE’S THE DISCONNECT?

Communication between husbands and wives tends to break down when we try to impose our thinking pattern on one another. It’s easy to forget how differently we are wired, especially if we’re in the midst of conflict. The thing is, we don’t even have to be in the middle of a conflict to run across these issues.

For example, let’s say a wife approaches her husband to pour out her feelings…only to become frustrated that her husband tries to “fix” the problem. After all, she was probably looking for empathy and commiseration. She may have only wanted a listening ear so she could process her feelings verbally before deciding how to act next.

Naturally, her husband’s offer of a solution is frustrating because it’s not what she was looking for in the moment. And, to be expected, her husband is equally miffed because now, he thinks she doesn’t value his advice and problem-solving ability.

Does this conversation sound familiar?

Husband: “Don’t come to me if you don’t want help!”
Wife: “I wasn’t asking you to fix the problem. I just wanted to talk about it.”
Husband: “What good is talking about it if you’re not going to fix it?”
Wife: “I needed to process things, but this is why I can’t talk to you about anything! You never listen to me!”

Women often decode their husbands’ quick jump to a solution as impatience. They might assume their husbands don’t really care about what they have to say, when in reality the husband might have felt good about the solution he offered…only to come away feeling like his solution was brushed aside and devalued.

See how the cycle perpetuates itself?

TIPS FOR BRIDGING THE GENDER-COMMUNICATION GAP

Our Love Talk curriculum delves deep into communication dynamics between husbands and wives, plus gives you the tools you need to decode one another and build a greater sense of understanding in your marriage. For now, though, we’ll leave you with a few quick tips.

For women (from Leslie):

  • Men don’t tend to identify their emotions as quickly as we do, so we can’t expect them to
  • We tend to focus more on experiences, fears, and feelings, while men focus on theories, concepts, and ideas
  • Don’t expect your man to communicate like your girlfriends do; they just aren’t wired that way

For men (from Les):

  • Women tend to focus on the present and how they feel about it, while we like to think toward the future
  • We want the report; they want the rapport
  • Don’t expect your wife to detail “the plan” with all the steps if you’re not taking the time to connect with her emotionally.

Keep in mind, these are general guidelines. While men tend to want results, goals, and efficiency and women want harmony and sharing, sometimes, the dynamics can be flipped. Maybe you’re an analytical woman who’s married to an emotionally-driven man. Or perhaps you’re a sympathetically-driven man who has a more solution-oriented wife. Whatever the case, rest assured the two of you can decode your communication styles for more effective communication–and a more harmonious life together.

 

If you would like help with your communication, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

When Not to Talk: 7 Ways to Decide Whether Silence is Best (Part 2)

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When Not to Talk: 7 Ways to Decide Whether Silence is Best (Part 2) 

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

“He who guards his mouth and his tongue guards his soul from troubles.” – Proverbs 21:23

Being silent when you and your spouse are dealing with an unresolved issue is a difficult choice to make, but sometimes, it’s the best choice for the health of your marriage. Last week, we began a two-part series on holding your tongue–and gave you three questions to ask yourself that will help guide your communication decisions. Today, we’re sharing four more.

4. IS ONE OF YOU BEING UNREASONABLE? (OR BOTH?)

When we’re debating issues that are highly emotional for one or both of us, it’s easy to slide into a place of overreaction. When we allow our emotions to govern our discussions, we can quickly become unreasonable–and it’s almost impossible to have a constructive conversation with someone you can’t reason with. Emotionally reactive, unreasonable interactions are rife with black-and-white thinking, generalized statements, and hurtful remarks, so it’s best to end these conversations until you’re both in a more receptive frame of mind.

Resolution Tip: If your spouse is being unreasonable, stop feeding into their emotional reaction. Instead, end the conversation with a polite statement like, “I’m going to give you space now,” then stick to it. Chances are, your spouse will come back around after they’ve cooled down.

5. DOES ONE OF YOU NEED SOME TIME TO THINK?

Have you two been going in circles around a big decision that means a lot to both of you? Even though you might feel very invested in a particular outcome, you need to determine whether your spouse needs a little more time to think about it–maybe more time than you’d like. Don’t push them; give them space and time to consider the options before you. Pressuring your spouse is only going to make the decision-making process more difficult…that could drag it out longer. If you resist the urge to nag or hound your spouse, you’ll be more likely to reach a compromise (that’s favorable for both of you) more quickly.

Resolution Tip: If you’re the spouse who needs a little extra time to think, end the ongoing conversations by saying something like, “That’s interesting. I’d like to think it over and let you know in a few days.” If your spouse is the one who needs time, honor their wishes and step back.

6. HAVE YOU BEEN A BROKEN RECORD ABOUT THIS ISSUE?

We know how it goes; your spouse probably has a few personality traits, quirks, or habits that really get on your nerves. And no matter how many times you’ve asked her to stop throwing her dirty clothes in the floor–or “reminded” him to fill up the gas tank instead of leaving it on empty–nothing seems to be changing. Or maybe you’ve gone round and round a particular conflict that you just can’t seem to resolve, and you’re exhausted. If you’ve been as repetitive as a broken record, maybe it’s time to take a break and give yourself some time to rest.

Resolution Tip: Decide on a set amount of time during which you’re going to drop the issue and not bring it up again. It could be three months, or it could be a year–the point is to give some space to the problem. In the meantime, figure out some ways you can alleviate the distress you’re feeling; for example, if your wife throws her laundry in the floor, chuck it in the hamper yourself. You might be surprised how much better you feel when the issue is resolved, even if it’s not resolved in the way you originally preferred.

7. ARE BOTH OF YOU READY TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION?

As with many of our interactions, anxiety can play a big part in propelling us into conversation–even when one of us isn’t in the right frame of mind to tackle the issue at that moment. Husbands, don’t try to start a deep or weighty conversation when your wife is immersed in a work assignment; and wives, if your husband is wrangling the kids at bedtime, it might be best to hold that thought until the little ones are settled.

Resolution Tip: Wait to discuss what’s on your mind until there are no pressing distractions or obligations demanding your immediate attention. Let your spouse finish what they’re in the middle of, then ask if it’s a good time to have that conversation.

If you would like help with your communication or relationship, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with one of our counselors or coaches.