Love and Marriage

Love is something that we all seek in many forms. Even if you thought that you didn’t want love, if you look at any desire you have for a person, place, thing, or ideal, chances are, beneath it all is love, the longing to love or be loved.

Love permeates all things and as elusive as it might appear, it is always there for you in unlimited volume and scope. Love is so pervasive it is hard to comprehend. Yet, we attempt to define it and put it in our cozy little boxes, but it is for more than you could ever conceive of.

Primal attempts to define love were based on feelings. If two people cared for each other more than they did other people, this was the definition of love.

The love between two people led to a pledging of love one for the other before family and friends. This couple was considered to be married.

The concept of marriage was promptly adopted and promoted by the church, and now we have the sacred bond of marriage.

Before science was a highly thought of concept, people were more likely to believe in magic and to them love appeared to be a magical spell that would overcome an otherwise mostly rational person, turning them into someone who might sacrifice all for the love of another. A cherub with a bow and arrow was blamed for the spell, his name was Cupid.

Courtship is the idea that represents a person who becomes enamored of another then exercises a series of socially accepted rituals to profess one’s affection for the other person in the hope of winning his or her heart.

Love is also considered a passionate sexual bond that exists between two people.

Upon this foundation, we have built revised concepts of love, such as the proliferation of the idea of the sacredness of marriage and its move from religious control to the government (which was a highly profitable move, indeed), though there is a waning of the acceptance of the marriage ideal in the current generation.

Prior to governmental control and profiteering of marriage, divorce was rarely an option. Since the introduction of legally sanctioned divorce and annulment, marriage has become an incredible financial resource for the powers that be.

Modern technology has greatly affected the courtship rituals as it has expanded with the use of mobile devices and social networking. Nonetheless, even though it has changed to adapt to the times, the courtship rituals have survived throughout the ages.

 

Should I Get Married?

When you’re surrounded by a sea or wounded people going through divorce, destroying families and creating chaos between two people and their people sending shock waves of decimation throughout the community, it’s no wonder you asking yourself, “Should I get married?”

Marriage builds stronger relationships between two people than two people who are not married. It’s not that unmarried couples cannot thrive together for the long haul, but statistics prove that married couples are 50% more likely to survive a long term commitment.

So as much as our society is resisting the idea that marriage is a good thing, or is leaning toward the belief that marriage is “just a piece of paper,” couples who are married experience greater degrees of happiness, stronger family units, greater health, wellness and longevity.

In this day and age, many people are resistant to the idea of marriage because they see the many people they have known who were married and witnessed the destruction of these lives affecting friends and family members as the legal system strives to make the struggle for survival after divorce even more difficult.

While the institution of marriage (I know, I can hear the hecklers in the background, “Why would I want to commit myself to an institution?”) does demonstrate a good chance of success, the devastating effect of the divorce process gets far more publicity via social exposure, and many more people than those involved can be shocked or hurt by the mere thought of whatever might possibly be a fearful conclusion that no one would sing up to endure.

Who could blame them? Most everyone has been within earshot of, if not directly affected by, the down and dirty effects of divorce on families across the board in America today. And the legal institutions that back up the divorce process are all tools available to an unscrupulous parent or child to make matters even worse. The divorce process can be a painfully horrible experience to have to go through.

In my practice I serve both married and unmarried couples and from my experience the best, most long-lasting relationships are among the couples that are married. It’s as if that little “piece of paper” does give them that little extra incentive to put forth just enough more effort to get over the hump and realize whatever amazing thing is waiting for them on the other side of adversity.

Plus, in successful marriages, married couples have more stable states of mental health, and better physiological health and wellness. And (you might be surprised to discover) successful married couples suffer fewer heart attacks, are less likely to get Cancer, and live longer than their single or unmarried but coupled peers.

While the unmarried couples are more vocal about the benefits of not being married, the married couples do experience a higher quality of life. Oh, you hear about how sex outside of marriage is better than the sex that takes place in the marriage bed… What? Who are these people?

In my practice, I have spent a lot of time counseling with married couples, and as far as I can tell, in general, there is more sex happening more frequently between partners who are married (to each other) than their single or unmarried cohabitating peers. I also hear that married sex is better because of the potential of a much deeper connection that is possible between married couples sharing similar spiritual journeys. So, the idea that unmarried sex is better is a myth, as is the idea that unmarried sex, or swinging sex, is more frequent than married sex.

As a wedding officiant, I have married many couples and am somewhat disappointed at the survival rates of people whose weddings I’ve officiated. It’s pretty much the same as national statistics. To be honest about half of them end in divorce.

And divorce can be a low down and dirty business. While men get a bad rap when it comes to divorce, the women can be just as dastardly, if not more so, and are more emotionally equipped to survive the divorce process than a man, who is twice as likely to take his own life following a failed marriage.

By the way, any of the positive effects gained during the marriage are negated while emotional and biological health deteriorates rapidly during the divorce process.

So, the unmarried folks who put down marriage have a point, no doubt. Divorce is the downside of marriage, but the benefits of successful marriages far outweigh any other kind of relationship.

So, what do you think when you ask yourself,

Should I get married?

Let’s Get Married

Today, I will be participating in my friend’s wedding ceremony. This time, I will not be officiating the ceremony. I will be in the wedding party.

When you participate in important events, like this, you can’t help spending time inside your head and your heart, reviewing your feelings about love and marriage, and what meaning it has for you.

I have officiated many weddings, and of those relationships, about half of them survived the matrimony. There’s a part of me that thought they would all work out, and the bride and groom would live happily ever after.

I have been married before, and when I made those promises on the altar, I meant every word, but it takes two. And it’s not all about integrity. I used to think that if the bride or groom could not keep their promises made on that day, in the presence of family and friends, then either one, or both, of them simply lacked integrity.

But I realize, now, that things are not always as they seem, and we (all of us, people residing on planet earth) are only doing the best we can with what we have.

When we look around at the people we know and care about who have been married and subsequently divorced, it can’t help but make an impact on you. Some of my friends have vowed never to marry because of the tragic effect it has on the couple as well as the damages suffered by family and friends.

If we haven’t been through it in the first person, we all can relate to having seen others go through this tragedy, maybe even being directly affected by our proximity to the failed relationship.

But, if you have witnessed a failed marriage or relationship that ended poorly, does that mean you should not try.

Having been divorced, I often feared that my children might struggle with the idea of going the chapel and tying the knot, but, thankfully, they all were able to grasp the idea and they are all happily married. This endears my heart, because I am the hopeless romantic.

I believe in love. I believe it to be the most powerful force in the world. Yes, I believe love conquers all, if you only allow it to grow freely, uninhibited by what I think I might know.

Those who know me well, know that I have a propensity to study a particular topic with a scientific veracity that is more than one might expect from the guy next door (unless you’re living next door to a quantum physicist). So, it will be no surprise to you that prior to my marrying someone, I might expend a great deal of time in research, inner work, and meditation in an effort to ensure the most positive result.

Hey, I’m not the only one. I have a couple of friends who do the same thing, and all of us make the same face when our perspective mate tells us that he or she doesn’t have the same level of compulsion to investigate and study this idea of getting married, what it means, and what it might take to have a successful (hopefully lifelong) marriage. And in that moment, we all wonder if the other person is taking this whole thing seriously? Nonetheless, we do the best we can and move forward in the relationship.

What’s the answer? Many books have been written about love, romance and marriage and you can find them being written from every possible perspective.

But if you ask me, my response would go something, like this:

Love yourself first. Love everything about who you are and find comfort in your own company. Then, if someone appears on your horizon that loves his/her self and is comfortable in his/her skin and you achieve a certain vibrational harmony. Take a chance, and let your love overflow out of you, allowing it to spill over onto him/her. If he/she can return their love overflow in kind, then this is relationship bliss.

Will it mean that everything goes smoothly? Probably not – because life is complicated – it is impossible to be prepared for anything that might present itself while the two of you forge forward hand in hand.

Can relationships survive the marriage event? Yes. Many do survive. Though I wouldn’t go rushing to them for advice, because I believe in a higher degree of possibility and love than the stories the people who have managed to stay together after marriage can tell.

If they are honest, they relate stories, in many cases, that describe a sacrificial state that is anything short of martyrdom. I believe there is a higher plane of marital existence that is possible to attain.

Have I done it? Not yet. But still I believe.

Is it a fanciful fairy tale image that I hold dear? In some ways, yes – in some ways, no – I believe that if I wait for someone who is travelling on their own similar life path, headed in the same direction, which has a healthy degree of self-love, has integrity and a desire to see what the future holds with all its possibilities for growth and expansion, then maybe.

In any case, nothing makes me happier than seeing two people take the plunge, disregarding all the horror stories that prevail in our society and throw the dice, come what may. This is a courageous leap of faith and love which is by far, the best anyone could hope for.

I am blessed, having friends who believe, and wish for them all the best this life has to offer as the let their love light shine. And shine, it does.

Love, love, love. Love is all there is.