"When a couple is ideally matched they can stay together indefinitely, as long as they work to evolve and become ever more perfect expressions of themselves. However, when one or both members give up, or indeed have not been matched perfectly, the soul mate effect sometimes expires. Two people who thought themselves destined for each other find that, after some time, the flame of love and friendship has gone out, and their karmas begin to pull them apart. Their mutual support wanes into indifference, or worse, enmity.

"Practically, this can be gauged by consulting the Vedic horoscopes of each partner. Is there a lifetime worth of karma shown in these horoscopes, or just a fleeting moment? This practice is done before marriage to ensure lasting compatibility. Personality, psychology, and spirituality, as well as the life cycles, as we'll see below, all affect how we relate to others. Finding someone with whom we are well suited is a task that transcends momentary passion and infatuation; it takes looking beyond the immediate physical phenomena that captivate two souls to see if there is anything else to keep them together after the flames of lust and romance have died down.

"Sometimes we have to come across many soul mates before finding the one for this lifetime. These are purification and preparation experiences that prepare us to love. Without learning to love, even soul mates grow apart and relationships die. But how can this be avoided? How do those who stay together happily for decades manage the ebbs and lulls of the karmic tide? . . . Ultimately, it is up to us to navigate the high seas of our romance, to build a mast that's keen and strong and a rudder that's true, so we may sail on toward our destiny and destination and weather the gusts and storms of fierce misfortune."