Soul Mates

When asked to describe what they love about each other, many couples say they have similar values and goals in life and support each other, but that they also appreciate having very different, often opposite, personalities. They almost always describe balancing each other, completing each other, or challenging each other just by being so different from one another. Just like Adam and Eve, in great relationships partners support each other but also confront each other and thus nurture one another to grow personally, emotionally, and spiritually.

According to the Midrash, an ancient Jewish commentary on the Torah, both stories of the creation of Adam and Eve can be read as one story. According to this reading, Adam and Eve were first created as one person with two faces, back to back, and then divided into two independent beings. Thus their ultimate marriage is a linking of true soul mates, two people who once shared one body and soul and are now reunited. This becomes forever a paradigm of human relationships. When we find our soul mate or grow our relationship with our spouse, we often feel completed, as if we have found our other half.

The story is told of the renowned Rabbi Aaron Kotler who was being driven to a big lecture he was going to give. Just after getting in the car the Rabbi excused himself and went back into his house to wish his wife a good day, thus reflecting the Talmud's dictum that a married couple are truly one and that a man should honor his spouse more than himself.

In this scenario, Adam and Eve must first be separated from each other before finding each other as soul mates and coming together again. This teaches us that independence, becoming ourselves as unique individuals and truly knowing ourselves, is a necessary prerequisite for a healthy relationship with another person. If a couple has not come to comfortably be themselves first and know themselves well, if they are too emotionally needy and unable to be emotionally present for each other, a deep love relationship of support and challenge cannot fully come to be. These are the foundations for true and long lasting ezer kinegdo love.

Some questions to ask ourselves in measuring whether a relationship has the potential to become a lasting marriage are: Do I feel I can be myself with this person? Do we trust each other? Do I feel better or worse about myself when I am with them? Do we value similar things in life?

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