The New York Times published an opinion column Monday exploring whether someone could not only be single, but actually be their own soulmate — a step toward a little-known practice called “sologamy.”
Bradley Onishi, who wrote the column, had a lot of good things to say about “soulmates,” which may or may not exist, though two-thirds of Americans still hold out hope, and what people should be looking for in romantic partners (“someone who will join you on the lifelong journey of growth”).
But in making the case for why someone could be their own “soulmate,” Onishi argued the necessity of finding “the one” has gone by the wayside, citing the fact marriage is deemed no longer culturally needed for personal advancement. He referenced Stephanie Coontz’s 2005 book, “Marriage: A History,” in which the author explained that, in the 19th century, the rising market economy emphasized distinctions between men and women: the former were breadwinners who worked long hours and the latter were involved in unpaid domestic work, maintaining a home and raising children. Marriage, Coontz explained, brought together those two disparate halves, creating “a perfect well-rounded whole.”
While Lizzo — along with “Harry Potter” star Emma Watson, who calls herself “self-partnered” — might be leading the charge this year on a mission of “self-love,” the idea of finding romantic contentment in yourself, and even marrying yourself, “sologamy,” has been around for decades. This, of course, shouldn’t be surprising. In 2 Timothy 3:1-2, the apostle Paul wrote that “in the last days … people will be lovers of themselves.”
There is absolutely nothing wrong with caring for yourself; in fact, it’s the right thing to do. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that our bodies “are temples of the Holy Spirit,” and with that in mind, we should treat ourselves well. It’s also OK to be single. Paul even wrote in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 that it’s better to stay unmarried, unless you can’t control your sexual passions.
Regardless, self-love or “sologamy” can’t take the place of marriage, which is not — as many now seem to see it — another step on the ladder of personal progress, like a career achievement. Marriage is instead a faith-based institution intended to mirror the relationship between Jesus and the church, the “body of Christ.”
Onishi got it mostly right when he wrote that people looking for marital partners should seek someone “who will join you on the lifelong journey of growth.” That growth, though, should be in our relationships with the Lord. As believers, we should only involve ourselves romantically with those who help — not hinder — our communion with God. If that’s the case, if both the man and woman aid one another in their journeys toward holiness, then marriage is right and good.
Because marriage is a God-ordained covenant between one man and one woman, it is impossible for someone to enter into a solo marriage. The marital relationship requires love, an active decision to sacrifice your interests for those of your partner. As Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:25, husbands should be willing to lay down their lives for their wives, just as Jesus sacrificed himself for all of us.
By getting married, two people — one man and one woman — are choosing to enter into the ministry of tangibly modeling the Gospel. To see it as anything less than that is foolhardy.