Does your match exist? What if he lives in Greenland? What if there's more than one? Valerie Frankel aims some soul-searching questions at religious leaders, metaphysicians and academics.
David Popenoe, Ph.D., co-director of the National Marriage Project: "[A soul mate] means a person who is exactly right for you, with whom you have perfect chemistry. In theory, the concept is terrific. But searching and believing in a soul mate is not helpful. Anyone has hundreds of potential marriage partners. It's a terrible idea to look for a perfect match. He does not exist."
Mary T. Browne, psychic and author of The Power of Karma: "The concept of a soul mate implies that you can't achieve perfection without uniting with another person. But each of us is whole in and of herself. What people really want is a loving, harmonious, passionate relationship. There are many people at this time on Earth that you can have a meaningful connection with."
Father Charles Kraus of St. Charles Borromeo Church, Brooklyn: "The teaching of the Catholic Church has always been of a complete holy marital union. The relationship develops in God's presence, transmitting total trust, committing to each other in life, and continuing the abiding love of God and each other in heaven."
Rabbi Miriam Ancis of Havurat-Shalom synagogue, Brooklyn: "Jews have a word—b'shert—that means 'meant to be.' But it's used only in hindsight. If a marriage works out, everyone says it was b'shert. That's the extent of romantic destiny in Judaism."
From the April 2002 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!