As an astrologer I am often asked for an analysis of compatibility between two charts. “Is this person my soulmate?” is usually the way the question is phrased. The idea that there is one perfect person who is just made for us, a “twin flame” as it is often described, is a captivating one. We may feel that once we find this perfect person, who harmonizes with us in every way, we would feel whole and complete and our lives would be made more satisfactory.
What I have seen in the real world is that the longest lasting marriages are not the ones that are most harmonious astrologically. In fact, some of the longest marriages are perhaps the least compatible. In the real world we are drawn to people who have qualities which we ourselves do not – the partners that complement us rather than provide merely a mirror or reflection of ourselves.
The concept of soul mates is so romantic. Think of Plato’s description of the original humans, with their four arms, four legs and single heads of two faces, which sounds maybe a little unsettling but becomes so sweet once the mortal puzzle pieces get separated in half and have to find one another to become whole again. Why wouldn’t anyone want to be with someone who was made for them in heaven?
Well, because taking that view of a relationship could ultimately contribute to the couple’s demise, according to in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. Researchers observed that while there are myriad ways people talk about love, two common ways of framing relationships — the “other half/soul mate” approach and the “our love is a journey, look how far we’ve come” approach — both contribute hugely to the way people view conflict in their relationships, but in nearly opposite ways. For people with a we’re-on-a-journey view of their partners, everyday relationship struggles are just surmountable hurdles along the way. But for “soul mates,” conflicts are more difficult to deal with — after all, if two people are truly “made for each other,” why would they face any conflict in the first place?
“Our findings corroborate prior research showing that people who implicitly think of relationships as perfect unity between soul mates have worse relationships than people who implicitly think of relationships as a journey of growing and working things out,” said Spike W.S. Lee, a social psychology professor at the University of Toronto and one of the study’s co-authors. “
The more we expect our lives to be perfectly harmonious, the more disappointed we will be. Life is full of ups and downs and the journey of navigating the passages, to me, is really what makes life an amazing gift.