Blog 365

Chemistry of the Soul – Fact or Fiction?

Before I begin, let me just make the disclaimer that these are solely my conjectures. This is not based on scientific fact or evidence or any research beyond the observations of someone who hasn’t really lived that long. And if you’re game with that, feel free to jump on board with my analysis.

We’ve all heard about this mysterious thing called chemistry, right? And I’m definitely not referring to the school subject where there are many letters and tiny numbers (that’s also mysterious, but in a different kind of way).

No, the kind where people say things like, “I could totally feel the chemistry between us” or “He was nice, but we had no chemistry.”

I’ve said it. I’ve heard other people say it. Some people claim it’s not real; some claim it is real, but isn’t important; and others claim it’s absolutely necessary for a relationship.

So what’s the truth? Is it real? Is it important in a relationship? Why would I even bring it up?

To begin with, I think there are some different ideas about what “chemistry” actually is. I did a little Googling of the term, since I had my own thoughts about it, but wanted to see what the rest of the world thought. And what I discovered was a variety of ideas.

The most common was the kind we hear about in movies – usually referring to sexual/physical chemistry or that “butterflies-in-your-stomach” feeling of strong attraction to someone. Either way, it seemed to refer to an emotion more than anything else.

That’s one way to describe it – but not what I have in mind when I think of chemistry. When I think of chemistry, the quote from Emily Bronte comes to mind:

“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

Now, granted, I loved that quote a whole lot more before I read Wuthering Heights from whence it came (such disappointing characters and plot line); however, I feel like it describes my idea of chemistry perfectly – when two people have the same kind of beauty living in their souls and they delight in the discovery of it in the other person.

And I also think that it describes chemistry in a way that makes it apply to more than just a romantic relationship – what I often call “kindred spirits” after my favorite book character, Anne Shirley. We all have those people in our lives who understand us so deeply that we know for sure that there are threads that weave our hearts together in invisible ways. Sometimes they’re family members. Sometimes they’re friends we’ve had our whole lives – sometimes they’re friends we’ve just met. Sometimes they’re children, and sometimes they’re far older than us.

And yes, sometimes they are of the opposite gender and we fall in love with them.

Is that kind of chemistry necessary, though, for a relationship? Wouldn’t we say that nobody could ever “know” us completely, so why put such a high priority on it?

Well, let me ask you – would you want to spend the rest of your life, day in and day out, with someone whom you feel doesn’t quite “get” you all the way? Who is nice enough, but doesn’t share the same sense of humor or really understand why some things are important to you? Yes, you could make that work out – but wouldn’t it be so much easier if you were in a relationship with someone that was as natural to slip into as your favorite pair of gloves?

Chemistry of the soul isn’t a “one-time only” type of deal, I believe. I think you can have chemistry with many different people (dispelling the myth that you might “miss out” on the person with whom you have the “most” chemistry … for if you are in Christ, you never miss out on His best for your life), but it’s especially important when you decide to say yes to spending the rest of your life with just one person.

Because chemistry of the soul is what will help drive the commitment force when the marriage feels long and difficult. At the end of the day, you want to be able to dwell on the fact that you know the other person’s soul so incredibly well, that there is absolutely no way you’d ever want to exchange them for someone else. That even though you might spout a few words in a heated argument, your love for their inner person will never change.

That’s what vastly separates my understanding of chemistry from the pop culture version of chemistry. Their version of physical chemistry – a fleeting emotion – is nowhere near close to being able to sustain a lifelong relationship. Of course you’ll need some of that to kick-start a relationship, but if that’s all you’ve got? You’ll be running on fumes soon and most likely a lot of regret.

If your relationship doesn’t have the chemistry of the soul – that deep connection and common understanding of your most important values and loves in life – then you need to look elsewhere, no matter how attracted you might be to the other person. Because it will be a long and lonely road to travel in life if you’re walking it with someone whose soul is distanced from your own.

In the words of my grandmother when I told her I needed someone cute: “That won’t last long anyway.” It’s true. I know I’ll think he’s cute (and hopefully vice versa), but I’m pretty sure it will be because the beauty from his soul will spill onto his face and make his attractiveness last a lifetime.

That kind of chemistry – that’s worth waiting for and not compromising for.

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