marriage, Relationship, relationship practice

Marriage Is Awesome and Helpful

photo by Johanna Reimer

Before marriage I was confused, unhappy, longing for more, and in general a pretty immature dude relationally. I was that guy that said “I’ll never get married, ever.” I used to love telling folks what a dumb idea marriage was.

Then I met my wife. It was not a fairy tale thing. I had no interest in her early on. I was still kind of shut down and emotionally unavailable. My ego wanted to keep roaming free and not be tied down. Give up my freedom? No way. Not a chance.

My soul had another plan.

Slowly but surely as we got to know each other she saw me, she cut through my games and had little room for my bullshit.

As scary as that was, and as much as I got defensive at times, it strangely felt good.

Relationship started to take on a whole new meaning. My heart began to soften. I began to see what a maze I had created for anyone to come near my heart.

I was letting her in, slowly but surely….

Sitting in the fire of relationship with her has changed my life. It is one of THE critical breakthroughs I’ve had to date.

Some folks need a trip alone around the world, others need a new job. I needed a real, raw relationship to confront my self absorption and my fears of intimacy.

There is a lot of talk these days about why marriage kind of sucks. Understandably so. I meet very few people who are deeply satisfied in their marriages. However, I’d argue that’s partly because people have a traditional, conventional context for their marriage.

I have no need to convince anyone about the merits of marriage, but I do want to share my experience in the face of increasing criticism about monogamy. In a nutshell, having the proper context (or view) for a marriage is EVERYTHING.

For example, it ain’t long before a married couple realizes that once the honeymoon is over, some aspects of the relationship can trigger every last nerve in us. It can be so frustrating and painful that we consider calling it off. By firing our partner, we can get relief again. But the problem is the trigger is in us not them, which means it won’t go away until we face it. Our partner is giving us the opportunity to face whatever is being triggered and heal it.

Or, if we don’t want to run away because “we made a commitment god dammit!” we might bury our complaints of our partner trying hard to not fight or get too upset. Then we might become best pals and roommates.

These responses to the rub of marriage are understandable, but hardly milk the raw potential of what’s possible when two souls come together.

When we choose to get together with a life partner and seal the deal by making a commitment, it provokes all our wounding around love, from infancy on up. This presents an endless amount of “material” to work on and work through if we choose to.

None of this is a problem for people with a context that supports healing and awakening through marriage.

But what about those of us who prefer to hang on to the child-like fairy tale that our partner is supposed to “complete us” and make us feel better? What if we look to our marriage to make us happy?

This is a trap of course that is doomed for failure or flatness.

Then why bother? With divorce rates so high and growing criticism against marriage, why make the leap?

In our last post, I ask the question is marriage even relevant or desirable anymore by pointing to a great psychology today article which makes a strong case against marriage.

Yet because my wife and I have a pretty unconventional view of marriage, we are growing and deepening after 8 years of being together. Everything in our marriage is an opportunity to go deeper and learn more about ourselves and we don’t have a fantasy about being together until death do us part (When we’re done, we’re done and we’ll both know it whenever the hell that may be).

When I see marriage as a path, it changes the game.

For example, my marriage is alive even when it’s not. Huh? In other words, when things get flat, and they do sometimes, we examine it and put it on the table. We might get lazy for a while, but sooner or later, we roll up our sleeves and deal. When “we lose our juice” for our marriage or sex, or whatever, we have to get back in the ring and face each other. The so called “ruts” or stuck places are ALWAYS opportunities for both of us to grow, and for us, we choose growth.

I’m curious what is your experience with marriage? Does your “view” have an impact like it does with us? Leave a comment below.

When I see marriage as a spiritual path, it takes on a different meaning completely. Read more here on Elephant Journal. Then be sure to watch Mooji discuss this subject on the video below. He speaks my views very accurately on intimacy, marriage and relationship. THIS to me is where marriage has a future.

 

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5 Responses to “Marriage Is Awesome and Helpful”

  1. On January 8, 2012 at 10:46 pm Michael Taylor responded with... #

    As a happily married man for the past ten years I must concur with your article. Marriage can be (and should be) an opportunity to not only love and be loved but to grow emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.

    When viewed from a spiritual perspective, making the commitment to marriage is akin to saying “I commit to bringing up all the parts of myself that I’m afraid to look at but I know I must look at if I truly want to be happy.” There is nothing on this planet that can help us evolve and grow more deeply than our intimate relationships.

    Unfortunately too many people have this over-romanticized view of marriage and are not willing to use marriage as a tool for growth and therefore when the going gets tough the weak start running.

    I personally love being married and I am so glad I took the time to learn to love myself first before I made the commitment to do so. The key is to recognize that you will never feel complete with someone until you can feel complete without them.

    Two thumbs way up for marriage!

  2. On April 18, 2012 at 5:23 pm Cc responded with... #

    I long for this kind of deep commitment. So far, I haven’t met a man who is willing to do the work. Can you speak to that – I know so many women like myself who are ready to be blown open and challenged to grow, but can’t seem to find men-true warriors- who want to do so.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 8 Ways to Deepen Your Relationship Life Forever | elephant journal - April 16, 2012

    [...] Marriage kicks ass. If you are willing to see marriage as a spiritual path, its tight container has the strong [...]

  2. The Sex Lives of New Dads — The Good Men Project - August 23, 2012

    [...] For whatever reason, I have no desire to keep “hunting,” working 24/7, spending vast amounts of time alone away from my wife and kids, or playing the field. I also don’t feel trapped in my marriage or with my kids. Quite the opposite—I find marriage awesome and helpful. [...]

  3. Giant Comfort » The Sex Lives of New Dads - August 29, 2012

    [...] For whatever reason, I have no desire to keep “hunting,” working 24/7, spending vast amounts of time alone away from my wife and kids, or playing the field. I also don’t feel trapped in my marriage or with my kids. Quite the opposite—I find marriage awesome and helpful. [...]

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