A friend asked for my thoughts.
“Due to circumstances beyond my control, I have to marry someone without my full consent. My parents think this is a perfect situation, and that this marriage will bring me happiness. The man I am marrying is a good person, but I am not attracted to him. I don’t get the feeling that he is my Soul mate. The only thing I asked God all my life is to be with my soul mate. Do soul mates exist? I am bitter toward God and my parents. How can I marry someone I don’t love?”
I am very concerned about you, and even more concerned for your husband-to-be. To enter a marriage unwillingly is a recipe for disaster.
With every little disappointment or conflict, you will throw into your husband’s face the fact that you never wanted to marry him in the first place. Not a pleasant prospect for him!
You say he is a good person. Then out of consideration for him — quite apart from your own happiness — you should stop this marriage now.
You say you “have to marry.” But if you are old enough to marry, I presume you are old enough to walk in and out of a room under your own power. I presume you can get a job, a passport, or anything else you might need in order to have your own life.
What you are saying is that to avoid this marriage you will have stand up to people you are not accustomed to defying. You will create disharmony and be perceived as willful and ungrateful. Perhaps the pleasant home you share with your parents will become less so.
In other words, it will be inconvenient for you not to marry him. This is not the same as saying you “have to” marry him.
Do take this seriously. If you are going to be rebellious and unwilling in this marriage, don’t enter into it. It isn’t fair to the poor man who will be stuck with you for the rest of his life.
There is a spiritual reality called “soul mates,” but it exists on a level beyond romance and marriage. Paramhansa Yogananda referred to soul mates only a few times in his teachings. That’s because he knew that everyone would immediately lower the concept from the spiritual to the question of men and women falling in love.
Soul mates, as Yogananda described it, is a union of spirit that comes as necessary part of final liberation — moksha. At that point, you have transcended the physical completely. Yogananda said that, at the moment of final liberation, your soul unites with its soul mate. This happens even if the twin souls are living in different galaxies.
For the most part, when people speak of “soul mates” they are not talking about the cosmic phenomenon that Yogananda described. Usually they mean the opposite — an attraction that is romantic and sexual.
Is there a reality to a having a “special connection” on this earthly level? Of course! Our relationships are determined by our past-life associations. When we meet friends from past lives, we feel those ancient bonds.
It is not hard to love someone. If you are sweet, tender-hearted, generous, and understanding by nature — loving comes easily.
What is challenging is to make a life together. To make a home, raise children, be loyal through the hard times, understand and support one another, earn a living, and be faithful — that is the difficult, and ultimately the most rewarding part.
This is what parents think about. Having lived long enough to raise you, they know what counts in a marriage. In a culture where parents are involved in the choice, they will look for lasting values, and will not be particularly interested in your ideas of “attraction.”
Yes, attraction is important. But a deeper level of attraction that grows out of respect and appreciation may take time to reveal itself. That is the kind of attraction that makes for a happy marriage.
Yes, it may be possible to “have it all.” But attraction alone is not the deciding factor. Character is.
This is such a personal situation, it seems you need to look deeply within and try to weigh the factors objectively.
You may still come to the conclusion that this is not your husband. Your parents are likely to take you more seriously, however, if you approach this matter in a serious way.
An obvious solution is to postpone the wedding – but not necessarily cancel the whole idea. If you have more time to get to know the man, to meet his family, to experience what it is about him that your parents find suitable, the idea will either be more attractive to you, or it will become very obvious that it isn’t a good match.
If you do decide to postpone and get to know him, I urge you to act with good faith. Don’t be a sulky, reluctant person. Be interested and sincere as you explore the friendship.
But if, for some reason, postponement is not possible, and despite your doubts you marry him, I plead with you: Give your heart to the marriage. Be a friend to your husband. Be kind, supportive, and loving. Above all, accept responsibility for having married him. Don’t blame him, your parents, or anyone else. Getting married is the act of an adult person. So behave accordingly.
Rather than give up on God, pray that He guide and help you, whether to step away from the marriage, or to make a success of it.