Wedding season is upon us, so what better time to give a little marriage advice? My husband and I continue to choose marriage for over 40 years now, so it could be that I am an expert on the subject. 🙂 Please notice that I use the words ‘choose marriage’ because that may be the biggest piece of advice I can give. You may say, ‘Of course I am choosing!’ and I agree. And there are many levels of choice to be aware of when contemplating getting married. Culturally, one of the reasons we have an engagement before getting married is so we can take the time to decide what our reasons are for getting married. Remember that there is no right way to approach the life style of marriage. As a life coach, or relationships guide, I do what I can to have you be conscious of why you make the choices you do rather than dictate that one way is better than the other.
Here are the reasons for marriage that I have seen:
- Because it is a spontaneous adventurous thing to do.
- An arranged marriage- not a part of my culture, but still a possibility. Some might suggest that because this reason is the most impersonal (or unemotional) it gives a long term relationship an easier foundation. Perhaps the inevitable fall from the ‘in love’ grace can be mitigated.
- To have children- I have noticed that in my lifetime that our culture has started to support alternative life styles inclusive of having children. And, it is still a prevalent cultural norm to be married before you have children….or to get married if you are pregnant.
- So you won’t be alone- this is a prevalent reason to marry and to stay married; even when the two of you are together it is not a respectful relationship.
- So you will have someone to support you or take care of you; this can be financial, physical or emotional in nature. Usually there is a ‘you give me this and I’ll give you that’ perspective. Coming through my intuitive counselor filter this is where we all honor the Prostitute archetype.
- An intention to be in Conscious Relationship- having the sacrament of marriage be your path to self acceptance and to optimize your soul’s growth.
Which reason are you (or did you) choosing marriage?
If I were queen of the world, I would encourage all people stepping into marriage to choose the road of Conscious Relationship (here’s an interview with me on that subject). This choice encourages you to hold the idea that moving into marriage is a choice of lifelong personal work that supports the concept of self help. This means you work towards embracing ideas that are inclusive of:
- You have a partner who will mirror for you all the aspects of being human that you have yet to accept in yourself
- That your partner’s viewpoint is as valid as your own and the converse (maybe the harder work!) that your viewpoint is as valid as your partner’s.
- You choose to study the practice of respect; respect for yourself primarily, respect for your partner’s way of managing the world and respect for the other very real entity that is your relationship
I was officiating a wedding a few weeks ago and one of the witnesses came up to me after the ceremony and commented on how she had never heard an officiate talk about how important the self awareness aspect of differentiation was in marriage. Most wedding ceremonies ritualize the idea that the two individuals are now to be one. I know from experience that is only half of the story. Once you get past the in-love phase of committed relationship (studies show that you aren’t going to be there for longer than 18 months!) it will be important to be as inclusive of individuation/differentiation as you are at allowing connection. Intimacy is the dance between the two. If you are entering wedlock thinking that you are now going to be cleaving together and you must let go of your personal boundaries, you could be heading into crazy-making experiences.
This advice may be daunting. Above all, know that no matter how intentional or thoughtful you are about your reasons for getting married, I have found that being in love, being curious and having a sense of adventure makes this walk along the intimate committed relationships path so much easier.