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Is love really the sharing of a soul?

in Life Lessons, Romance


photo credit: ‘Ajnagraphy’ via photopin cc

Aristotle once said, “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” While the romantic in me loves the idea, the realist in me says this mindset is the very thing that can destroy relationships.

As I was cruising through quotes for my twitter feed, I ran across this one and flinched. I immediately thought back to the scene I wrote in Meet the Roberson Ladies. The family matriarch is making a lasagna to celebrate the engagement of one of her granddaughters. Each layer of the lasagna represents some part of a healthy marriage. As she finishes the top layer, one of the granddaughters realizes that she has left some of the ingredients in the bowl. Grandma Anne explains:

“Dear, you should never finish it off,” Grandma Anne said. “If you put everything that you have into the pan, there will be nothing left over that is just for you.”

“Wait, this is new,” Joyce said. “I didn’t notice the leftovers last time.”

Grandma Anne put the lasagna in the oven, poured the ladies another glass of wine and invited them to the table.

“Of all the marriages in my life that I have seen fall apart, there are a few common threads. Either the woman forgets herself, the man forgets himself, or they forget themselves as a couple.”

“But the vows that we will take say that the two become one,” Joyce said. “Absolutely, and they must,” Grandma Anne said.

“But the two still must exist separately as well,” Sylvia interrupted.

“Here, taste this,” Sylvia said as she offered her daughters and granddaughter a shred of Parmesan. “It is good, right?”

“Delicious,” Cassie said.

“And now taste this,” she said as she passed around the mozzarella.

“That’s good too,” Cassie said.

“But together with the ricotta, there is greater harmony. A completely different texture. A melody of cheese.”

“But they are still their own cheese,” Grandma Anne said. “The second you forget that you are your own cheese, you no longer bring anything to the table.” “I can vouch for that one,” Aunt Margaret said. “I forgot my flavor and when your Uncle Rick died, well, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t know who I was when I was no longer his wife.”

“Jason picked you out of all the cheeses in the world,” her mother said. “He doesn’t want to lose you in this whole lasagna baking thing. He still wants you to be his parmesan.”

“If he didn’t like parmesan, he would have married brie,” Grandma Anne said.

I think the importance of maintaining an individual identity in your relationship cannot be overstated. When I lose Jamie to one of the labels of wife, mother, author, or volunteer–everyone eventually loses. I cannot be the wife my husband needs if I’m not taking care of my core self. I fall short of my motherhood responsibilities when my stress is high from not working out or not finding time to pursue my passions. That balance is essential to my personal spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental health.

To say that my husband and I share a soul would eliminate our individuality. That identity, like Grandma Anne said, is what drew him to me to begin with.

Have you ever lost yourself in a relationship?


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