Amy and Jeff contributed a tremendously insightful story to the “Playing Leapfrog” chapter of The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships about their year in Ghana with their daughters.

Do you feel that you’re connected on a soul level?

Jeff: Absolutely. You don’t spend a quarter century with someone unless there is a soul connection. Either that or you are a member of a royal dynasty and were forced into marriage in order to consolidate your family’s dynasty.

Amy: I don’t really believe in “soulmates.” Our relationship is about loving the whole person and also just as much about timing and luck… As I write, I am realizing that for me, soul is an individual thing and I am just not comfortable putting that expectation out there. I am much more pragmatic about love and relationships. I LOVE many people and am an enthusiastic lover of many—I was born that way. I feel skippy and happy about my love for Jeff (you can quote that!). Perhaps looking for a soul experience sounds too exclusive and very daunting for a single person. Much of our relationships as we mature are about timing.

My relationship with Jeff is profound in that it has survived 24 years and gets better and better. It is a reality check that has been earned, like a nest egg. It takes maintenance, patience, and awareness; it just didn’t happen by some divine inspiration.

How did you know that this relationship was special? 

Jeff: When I met Amy I was in my 30s and sowing my wild oats a bit late. There was the obvious cultural connection; we are both Jewish and in this county at the time, that was not that common. In addition, she was hot! Now as a typical 30-year-old-male, the hot factor was my primary concern. Everything else was icing on the cake.

Amy: I didn’t know there was anything “special” about my relationship with Jeff (and I am sure he didn’t either) when we first met. I think that is what prevents a lot of folks from coupling: this expectation that if this is really a “true” relationship, it should flow and be easy. This was a hang-up for Jeff: if there was struggle, it wasn’t meant to be. We survived on being able to communicate and truly desiring not to be in the way of each other’s happiness. That made the responsibility for happiness shift onto the person and not the partner. (I would be remiss if I didn’t say that we have always had good sex!)

Too many people, I will go out on a limb here and say, mostly women, give up on men if they don’t feel any “sparks.” Go on a third date for crying out loud! If you have been dating the wrong men, or have been treated badly, try dating someone a little older, a little slower, balding even, and a whole lot more humble…. and you be the prize for that gentleman. When you are looking for “special” you miss a lot. Look for kindness and vulnerability.

What are some of the most soulful experiences you’ve had together?

Jeff: To share an isolated incident after 25 years would be, at best, superficial. The birth of our children is an obvious soulful connection. The times I find our connection strongest is in the wee hours while lying in bed talking about existential matters and realizing that in this one life, we have chosen to spend it together. That, in itself, is profound.

Amy: Soulful experience? I can remember our turnarounds, but truly there is no deeper experience than creating life and sharing the role of parenting—talk about vulnerability! To experience together the fact that you were once a precious, perfect human and that you were/are so unconditionally loved by a caretaker opens your heart to that profound feeling of love. You recognize how your environment and interactions shaped the quirky person you are today and together you try to mitigate the damage to your precious charges.

When I look at my high school students who have little guidance and support for being fully realized adults, I wish three things for them: to have the kind of rich experiences my children are having in a natural progression of importance (i.e., we are a family, and it isn’t all about YOU), to understand that throughout the entirety of their lives that all the resources and much of the way we live needs to be mutually respectful of others and their welfare, and to experience being with someone as quality as Jeff.

What do you share that helps keep your connection vibrant?

Jeff: Sex, sex, and sex. No seriously, you must continue to have a strong desire to keep your relationship in a loving space. We also have very similar values. We care about politics, the environment, assuring that the world is more about giving than taking, and we love to be physically active together. Our children are an important focus and we are aware that this will soon change so we look for ways to stay connected beyond our progeny. We love to travel and I would say we are both experience junkies. Amy’s curiosity helps me from being complacent and jaded. My enormous intellect, awesome sense of humor and understated ego keep Amy entertained.

Amy: What we are lucky enough to share that definitely adds to the glue of our relationship is: universal view, shared sense of environmental stewardship and social justice, desire to be knowledgeable, good stories (movies, books, music, poems, plays), letting go of fear, making each other laugh without really trying and being really good roommates (i.e. housekeeping and general thoughtfulness).

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to reflect on good fortune.

 

Mali Apple & Joe DunnThank you for sharing your soulmate experience with us—we are inspired by your example of what a truly soulful connection is all about! ~Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience, 52 Prescriptions for Happiness, and the upcoming book The Soulmate Lover, and creators of Mantras for Making Love