I Don't Believe in Soul Mates

Look what we did! Happy 20th Anniversary to me and my favorite person*!

It feels both bizarre, and the exact opposite of bizarre, to have reached this milestone. Being married to one another is just what we do, is all. There are all kinds of books and articles about how to have a happy marriage---I'm not inclined to add to their number, even if I felt I had some wisdom to offer, which I don't. Because I've got to be honest. Marriage is a crap shoot. You hope you have some enduring compatibility and you work at it and you let a lot of stuff go, and still there's all this stuff that acts upon you that you don't have a lot of control over. Financial hardship can be a huge stressor. Health crises can put couples to the test. Family support is invaluable.

The presence or absence of those things does not mean a marriage's success or demise. But we don't do this work in a vacuum. And Robert and I have been very lucky.

Check out this interesting post that correlates divorce rates to a whole host of factors. Did you know that the more people spend on their weddings, the more likely they are to divorce? And the more people who attended your wedding, the more stable your marriage is likely to be?

I am a fan of John Gottman's work about making marriages work, and give his books to couples I'm counseling before marriage. Aside from that, anything I could say about marriage would be A Guide To Being Married to Robert Dana, and that's just not going to be very useful to you.

Instead, if you'll indulge me, I wrote this a long time ago, and I post it in honor of the day.

i don't believe in soul mates, The One, you complete me, i've been waiting for a girl like you, a feeling deep in your soul says you were half now you're whole.

but i did have a dream once: i stood outside my childhood home and a party buzzed and clattered within. and my guide (faceless person) said my soul mate was inside. i wandered slowly, scrutinizing each face: is it you? hmm... no. let's see. no. maybe? no. oh, no! no!

at first, i was unhurried; later, i grew troubled: the crowd had thinned, maybe he'd left, while i was wasting my time with my who's who of what-might-have-beens-and-thankfully-weren't.

in the last room he turned, you turned, and smiled, plaid shirt and jeans. (where are your glasses?) and the great thing about dreams is, you get to be surprised by the predictable.

i woke up, and the dream, everything, vaporized; i was bereft, but a miracle happened-- you didn't disappear.

i don't believe in soul mates.

i believe in choices, experiences, quiet over breakfast, a hello at the end of the day, the heaven in ordinary things,

and this dream.


*That's a reference to Jake Armerding's song, "Favorite Person," which I've been humming all day. "When we all stand as one, when they're playing Mendelssohn, when we're rich, when we're poor, when we are forevermore... you're my favorite person in this world."