Not Made for Each Other

I don't believe in soul mates. 

This may sound like the confession of a jaded wife who's been bitterly disappointed in love, but good news! I'm ridiculously happy in my marriage!

But about that soul mates thing.... Joshua and I have a little saying in our house:

We were not made for each other; we are being made for each other.

Bennett Love on Lake Michigan

Bennett Love on Lake Michigan


It was our first year of marriage and I had made dinner (meaning I had successfully combined and heated the ingredients in the box), so I called out to Joshua in the other room. "Joshi! Dinner's ready!" He came into the kitchen to find me at the table, happily eating.  

J: "Hey... You didn't get a plate for me?"

K: "You're pretty close to the cabinet. It would take you, like, 2 seconds to get a plate yourself."

J: "I can, but you could have grabbed it when you got a plate for yourself."

K: "Sure, but, anyway, you're riiiight there. You should grab a plate so we can eat." 

J: "Looks like you already started."

*awkward silence*

K: "Sooo... Are your arms broken, or are you going to grab yourself a plate?"

I honestly didn't understand what his problem was. He wanted a plate and he was four feet from the cabinet where all the plates were located. The most obvious solution was for him to just get a plate. And he honestly didn't understand why I would have walked over to the cabinet and gotten just one single plate, served myself, and started eating. The most obvious thing would have been for me just to get two plates instead of one. 

Soul mates probably would have had that figured out from day one, being made for each other and all that. But not us. We weren't made for each other. We had a lot of incidents like this, squinting at each other incredulously, trying to understand if the other person was really serious because that thing they just said sure sounded ridiculous... 

Joshua comes from a home where dinner means the whole family around a decorated dining table, holding hands for prayer, and no one touches the dessert before Granny. I come from a family where we don't even eat Thanksgiving dinner at the same time; it's a come-and-go thing. So my husband and I had to work on understanding each other, hearing each other, and then adapting to each other. We had to work on how and when to get the dinner plates, the tone to use when saying sorry, the timing of alarm clocks, the tactical negotiations of closet space, and much more. 

If you spend your romantic energies trying to find your soul mate, that one perfect person who was created for you, you are setting yourself up for disappointment (and likely overlooking a lot of good candidates along the way). There is no perfect person out there, and the person for whom you were created isn't your spouse---it's your Creator. Even when you do find a great/kind/committed/godly/romantic/stable/wise person to spend your life with, no matter how amazing your love is, your marriage will require investment: listening, adapting, working to love your spouse in a way that makes sense to them. 

For a very happy marriage, you don't need a soul mate, you need a willingness.

Never More Loved

I never feel more loved than when it is very late and I open the door and walk lightly over the floor and lift the cool, white blanket and put myself into bed and find his leg there––on my side, where it should be––

and at the touch of my four fingers on his back, he envelopes me: an arm, a leg cast over me, pulls me into him, his forehead against my hair, his breath against my neck, arms enfolding.

I never feel more loved than when he loves me sleeping, still sleeping, because it tells me that he loves me deep. Down where the muscle meets memory he loves me.

the best marriage advice

The best marriage advice I ever got was long before I was ever married. 

An elder from my church could see that I really, really, really liked this Joshua Bennett kid. So he said, 

"Make a list of all his faults. 

I mean, every single one."

Really? Does that sound like a good idea for building a strong relationship?

"Then go down that list, one item at a time.

Choose to accept each of those faults. If you come to one that you can't accept, then don't marry him. But if you make it through the list, then marry him and enjoy it. ... Later, when you're married and he has the same faults and they're driving you up a wall, you can preserve your sanity by knowing that you've already accepted that about him and it's okay." 

This sounded really strange to me, but it was immensely helpful. 

The same things that bugged me about Joshua before we got married are the same flaws that he still has to this day; apparently saying your vows does not instantly perfect a person. But I've chosen to accept and love and support him---so I can get on to really enjoying him :)

Eight years into this marriage and I'm happier than ever---not because I married a perfect man (he's really great! but he's not perfect), but because I chose to accept the man I married. 

Good advice, Stan. Thanks. 

Isolation versus Intimacy: thoughts on porn and liberation.

"Truth is, p0rn liberated men much the same way The Pill liberated women. Men are no longer obligated to lifetime economic contracts merely to tend to unavoidable bodily functions. Men are free to pursue their dreams, untroubled by any mental torments of s3xual starvation, even in the most-isolated female-free environments. Being compelled to think about s3x constantly is a torture (as anyone who’s lived with man-sized testosterone levels can tell you), but p0rn liberates men from that, and we will Never Look Back!"

So says "Pat," commenting on a blog post about a marriage strained by the husband's use of pornography. It's a rather provocative statement. And in fact, it says quite a lot about the mindset of pornography use and highlights that at its core 

pornography operates out of isolation and opposes intimacy.

From Pat's perspective, male sexuality is a combination of "mental torture" and "unavoidable bodily functions." It has no interpersonal function; it is completely void of intimacy. 

It makes sense then that marriage has no place in Pat's world. For Pat, marriage is a "lifetime economic contract" that some men would put up with for sex, but really, it's just a barrier for men pursuing their dreams. Intimacy is an obstacle to the highest form of living.

And women? Women are useful, probably more pleasing than pornography, but their inaccessibility is a serious impediment to their usefulness. Being able to orgasm without a woman by using pornography liberates men from needing women as accessories for releasing their sexual desires.

By rejecting interpersonal connection, commitment, and women-as-partners, Pat and other pornography users are rejecting intimacy. 

I know a long list of people who view religious sexual mores as oppressive restrictions which suffocate sexuality and personal freedom. But

the godly sex life in the Bible is a good sex life.


It takes place within a marriage commitment so it can be safe physically and emotionally. That commitment is an exclusive covenant between two people because marriage was designed to be the pinnacle of intimacy. The Bible says marriage makes two people "one flesh" because that's how closely their lives and their psyches were meant to be intertwined.

That exclusive, lifetime commitment is in place because it creates a safe environment for deep interpersonal connection. In this setting, intercourse is not undertaken just to take care of "unavoidable bodily functions," but to give and receive from one's very personhood in vulnerability and service.

In biblical sexuality, women are not creatures of use, but as sexual partners they are partners in life and in pleasure. "May you rejoice in the wife of your youth... may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love." [see prov5.15-23] And men are not uncontrollable sex machines who really can't be held accountable for their bodies or their behavior. No, according to the Bible men were created with dignity and they possess moral responsibility and an incredible capacity to shape the world for good through the exercise of righteousness in their homes--- including their bedrooms.

I hope one day Pat will choose intimacy over isolation. Because

it's a shame to lose your best sex life for a convenient sex life.