The soulmate myth tugs heartstrings because of its possibility that there is someone who completely understands you, loves you, wants you, fulfills all your needs, and was perfectly made for you. It pervades the modern mythology of chick-fliks, tv shows, pop music, and cheap paperbacks. It factors into dating patterns and divorce rates. It is not, however a modern phenomenon, but was first told by the ancient Greek playwright, Aristophanes, in Plato's satire about love, The Symposium. His lie is still whispered through the ages, because the heart of his story is no myth. The need for a soulmate is real. The problem lies not in the need but in mankind’s deceptive solution.
To understand the need requires an examination of who humanity is and where they began. Therefore, Aristophanes based his myth on a Greek origins story. He weaves a tale of man originally being three types of beings: male, female, and a “hybrid” of both sexes. The gods eventually decided to split the “hybrid” into male and female as well. Aristophanes's theory surmises that descendents of these separated “hybrids” still long for their other half. Their other half has the the other half of their soul and therefore longs for them just as much. The deception of soul-mates begins with an origins story that is a lie that yet addresses man’s foremost need.
Examining a different origins story draws the lie into the light. Moses retold an age old story in the book of Genesis about the God who spoke man and woman into existence (1:26-27). He placed this first couple into a perfect garden (Gen. 2:8). The couple walked with and talked with God daily (Gen. 3:8). They had no shame, no barrier, and no separation from God (Gen. 2:25). One day the couple disobeyed God and separated themselves from Him (Gen. 3). The couple was then cast out of this perfect garden forever...or almost forever, at least until the Seed came to mend the separation.
The need mankind longs for is not ultimately for each other, but to be one with God again (Jn. 17:21). Our souls long for what was ripped apart in that garden. True, separation from God also damaged our ability to love one another and created separation between man and woman, but humanity’s separation from each other cannot be mended without there first being restoration between man and God (1 John 2:10-11).
There is no human soul who can ever fill the void punched out over 6,000 years ago. The search for this will only lead a soul from one lover to another, from one breakup to one relationship to yet another relationship. The rare connection that Aristophanes described of being “lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy” is not the result of finding a matching piece of one’s soul but of simply finding someone whose personality does not clash with yours and who might have similar interests. This phenomenon is called finding a friend, not a soul-mate.
Once a person’s relationship with God is restored, he is called to love his enemies and to honor all men (Matt. 5:44; 1 Pet. 2:17). Love is not limited to soul-mates; love is limitless for all who breathe. Love does not begin when the other person becomes exactly like you; mankind’s “Soul-mate” died for us when we were yet sinners (Rom. 5:8). He, Jesus, also taught that it means nothing to love those who are like us (Matt. 5:47). That is the easy way out. Mankind is called to love the opposite, the antagonizing, the unloved, and the unlovable. Over 2,000 years ago a veil was rent top to bottom to bring us to our singular Soul-mate (Matt. 27:51). Mankind need search no more. They were lost and have been found (Luke 15:24).