Book Review:

Soul-Mates How to Find Them and Keep Them

Ted Crammer, reviewer

April 2001

So that you might better appreciate the way I have written this review, let me begin by telling you a bit about the reviewer: I believe in love; I always have - even in times when it seemed that love was lost or most unlikely.

I first heard the term soul-mate about thirty years ago. At the time I thought, "What a weird idea."

Soulmates is © 1997 Enid Vien, ISBN # 9648330-5-0, Library of Congress Catalog Card #97-091853, Originally named Improving Relationships

I'll clarify what I mean by weird: to whittle one's spiritual-life-and-livingness-partner choices down to ONE, a soul-mate, a half of a whole without which there would never be an integrity of being. What are the odds that one being so mated with another by God, or unseen cosmic force, or mutual attraction would traverse ocean, mountain, time, culture and other obstacle to FIND and UNITE with one's other half, a soul-mate? This is the stuff of myth, legend, and many a popular song. And the odds? On the basis that I just described, the odds are astronomical, I think. I mentally filed the concept of soul-mate under the heading of, "For Later Study," and I relaxed about the subject.

I am pleasantly and happily married to the same beautiful woman for over twenty-six years as of this writing. We have four beautiful children, one now a teen and three now young adults. I strongly doubt that I would have married anyone else had we not met. I could be wrong about that but that's the way I feel. Did I find my one-and-only soul-mate? Did I find a soul-mate out of a pool of potential soul-mates or have we simply created ourselves as such by mutual respect and continual enhancement of the relationship? I don't know.

Perhaps my questions are a bit too pointed and my view a bit too narrow. So I pick up the book and begin to read.

Ms. Vien writes "To find your soul-mate, you must first find yourself."

Fair enough. I think I can register a qualified, "Done!" to that, although the self I found is not exactly the same self I am today - with the exception of certain fundamental beliefs, dreams, hopes, etc. I am always finding myself, so it seems.

I predict that the task of finding yourself before you find a soul-mate will be a hard and nasty pill for the lovelorn to swallow. I have seen this phenomena time and again. The being is miserable for lack of a mate but in its misery no mate is forthcoming. Fortunately, this book is loaded with insight and recommendations.

In Chapter 4, Standards & Beliefs, Ms. Vien writes "Before marriage, or even before embarking on a longterm relationship of any kind, it is essential to know the other person's philosophy."

"The usual pattern is Boy meets Girl, they fall in love and, blinded by passion, get deeply involved before they really know each other very well. Each has their own set of expectations based on their individual standards and beliefs. Neither lays these wild cards on the table. Due to the love and passionate feelings they are experiencing, they each believe the other to fit their standard of perfection accurately."

I believe that getting to know another person's philosophy is not as difficult as it might seem. How does one person treat another? Look. Listen. It's objective. No words need be spoken to discern the answer to that question. Is respect or consideration shown for the other's feelings, hopes, dreams, problems, concerns, time, attention, interests, etc.? Much of this book speaks to exactly that and how to right potential or actual wrongs in a relationship.

In Chapter 3, Right & Wrong, Ms. Vien writes "In relationships, it is the fundamental rightness of the being which must be, not only kept in mind, but acknowledged and admired. You would not have chosen a 'bad' person for your mate, so you must take into account that upsets, hurt feelings and those things about which you disagree, are of lesser value than that basic being with whom you fell in love. When one makes love and trust in the intrinsic spiritual being the cornerstone of a relationship, minor difficulties are put into a different perspective."

I'll vouch for that.

A few weeks ago I spied a notice on a restaurant wall which read "When you despise someone it's like allowing them to live rent free in your head."

In chapter 8, Influences, the author writes, "All of us are influenced by those we love, but we are also influenced by those we dislike or even hate. The people we try the hardest not to emulate are still having an effect on us, even if it is reverse."

That's good advice and it works for us. My wife and I never allow anyone to impose themselves in or on our relationship rent free or otherwise.

Enid writes "My life has been dedicated to the pursuit of understanding what makes me and others tick. That is the spice of life to me."

This is a spicy book.

If how to find and keep a soul-mate is of interest to you then you would be better served to read the book than to have me continue with this review. There's much more and the advices and insights are applicable to all relationships not just soul-mates. But read the book and decide for yourself as to its value.

In finding fault with the writing, I would like to have more real-life, meat- and-potatoes examples to go along with the spicy text. But that's me; that's what I would like. The advantage of telling a short story around a principle or maxim is that the information becomes more interesting and easier to assimilate for some like me. The disadvantage is that the reader might become too narrowly focused and lose the value of the information as it might apply to his own life. So my faultfinding may or may not be justified depending on the reader's preferences and the writer's intent.

As with all books of this nature, I am affirmed in some of my beliefs and perceptions, I learn something new, and I still have questions about this subject. Maybe I have found my soul-mate and I simply haven't been able to see the forest for the trees.

Ted Crammer

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