In early 2010, I lost my house. I’d been buying it on land contract, and the man I was buying it from hadn’t been paying the taxes. I got a notice from the county that the house was going into foreclosure, and I decided to just walk away. It hurt, a lot, but it was necessary for the path that I’m on to come to be.

I needed a place to live. I had a son, and we had nowhere to go. On impulse, I posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a couple of rooms to rent. Within hours, I got an email from a couple with an entire upstairs available. We started moving in the next day.

During the next few months, I met this young man, my roommate’s brother. He was 19 and far out of the realm of a possible partner. I was 31. He was just my roommate’s cute, younger brother. But there was something about him… He always made sure to go out of his way to say hello to me.

gwyIn May 2011, he came over for a party. We often had parties in the yard, big affairs with bonfires and lots of people. We started talking. And talking. And talking… From that point forward, we were virtually inseparable.

For the question of how I knew this relationship was special, I have to go back further. In 1991 (the same year my husband was born, incidentally), I discovered divination. I’d found a book called Fortune Telling with Playing Cards in my local library, and I fell in love. Over the last 23 years, I’ve studied Tarot, Runes, Numerology, Lenormand, Oracles, and various other methods of reading the past, present, and future.

In 2001, I got married, and that marriage was legally over in 2008 when the divorce papers were signed. I didn’t date anyone. Ever. I didn’t want another relationship. I just felt like it wasn’t for me. I was content being alone, single, doing my own thing.

Then, in early 2011, my readings for myself started to take a twist. No matter what system I used, what technique, what tool, they all started indicating that I was going to be entering a major relationship, and soon. I, of course, denied it. Nope, it can’t mean that; I don’t do relationships.

But sure enough, after that party, I was in a relationship. He asked me to “date” on a Monday, which I thought was cute. He seemed so, so young, and I thought, “Okay, maybe this is the major relationship, but he’s 19, it’s not going to go anywhere! It’ll just be a fun fling, and then we’ll be done.”

Two days after we started dating, he asked the dreaded question: “Will you do a Tarot reading for me?” Um, whoa… I wasn’t sure I wanted to know that much about the person I’d just started a relationship with.

I’m a good reader. I have a stunning track record for predictions coming true, especially in relation to pregnancies and marriages. So imagine my shock when I saw in his reading a marriage. And one that would be occurring fast!

I hesitated; after all, what man wants to hear, “Oh, you’re getting married in the next six months” from the woman he just started dating two days before! But he just smiled, said, “Who knows!” We got married five months later.

I’ve always believed in soul mates. But I don’t believe that we have just one soul mate, nor do I believe that each of our soul mate relationships serve the same purpose. Soul mate relationships are for learning lessons. Big lessons. Huge, life-altering lessons. Sometimes, they are lovely, happy, wonderful lessons to learn. Other times, they suck. And just because a lesson sucks doesn’t mean you aren’t soul mates. This marriage has been the hardest experience of my life. My husband has bipolar disorder and borderline disorder. His mood swings faster than anyone that I’ve ever seen. He’s paranoid and suffers from extreme anxiety. For the first two and a half years of our marriage, he didn’t work. We’ve been separated twice, once for two weeks, and the other for three weeks. Everyone in our life wonders why we’re still together, because it’s really hard.

But the love is deep and undeniable. We can’t stand to be away from each other for any length of time. We fight and we make up. Over and over. Each time, we learn something new about ourselves. We grow. We change.

This card's meaning is stable passion, and is a bit of a contradiction. In literal terms, it often depicts a wedding or similar celebration. When I read, if it comes up in a certain position, it means, without fail, the person is getting married in the next six months. It's happened multiple times, in fact. But it's a contradiction because passion can never be truly stable; it ebbs and flows, comes and goes. It's a stability that requires a great deal of work to maintain. You can't just build it and expect it to stand no matter what comes along!

When we first started dating, I was a shy, submissive hermit. I worked as a freelance transcriptionist, and I spent 20 hours a day alone, in my room, with little personal contact with other people. My whole life was essentially online.

After meeting him, I have friends now. I got a job outside the home that has turned out to be quite successful and lucrative. He has a job now as well. I’ve grown stronger and much more sure of myself. I stand up for myself, whereas before I let people walk all over me. I know more who I am and what I want out of life because of this marriage.

And every time I do a reading for myself or him, I’m reminded that there’s still more to learn from each other. Still more to work on. It is not a perfect marriage by any means. We have a long road to travel before we could even come close. But it’s also taught me that the Hollywood definition of soul mate is completely wrong. A soul mate is not there for you to live happily ever after. Happily ever after can only come from within.

Instead, a soul mate is there to teach you, test you, and bring out the best in you. And sometimes, that’s a really, really hard process to go through, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Gwynne Montgomery is a card and stone reader with over 20 years of experience doing readings professionally. She can be found at www.happymoneyflow.com and www.facebook.com/TransformationalIntuition, as well as www.GwynneMontgomery.com. She calls herself an “accidental cougar,” and she’s proud of it!

Thank you, Gwynee, for sharing your love story with us! ~Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships52 Prescriptions for Happiness, and the upcoming book The Soulmate Lover, and creators of Mantras for Making Love