I was married at the age of 18, after having run away from home to live with my future husband and surviving nearly two years together. That seemed a very long time for a relationship, then. Today, the saying goes “You don’t get that long for murder...”
Actually, I still love my husband very much. We have a relationship that is a tad volatile at times, but only when either of us are pushing a point. Most of the time, we have pretty much the same views on life, and we have a very great intimacy and friendship. I think those last two qualities are what gets any marriage through the long years.
When we first moved in together, no one expected our relationship to last. When we did get married, there were many people who thought we only got married because I was pregnant, (…and yes, I was pregnant when we got married but we actually didn’t know that, then. We only discovered it when I was sick every day on our honeymoon, and were actually engaged and had set the date of our wedding for months before I got pregnant).
That’s not to say that the going has not been hard at times. We had separations in our past, trying to see how we could live without each other. We just couldn’t. When we were separated, something sort of died inside us. We had a far better life together than apart.
I have come to believe that my relationship with my husband was destined or fated. He’s also a Capricorn and I’m a Leo, and astrology says that such relationships are toned with kismet. We’re both very strong-minded individuals and sometimes it can be a case of ‘too many cooks stirring the pot‘, as the saying goes, but if we hadn’t been able to work as a team we would never have made it this far.
My husband’s parents were married until the day his father died, well into his 70s. Twenty years later, his mother still considers herself to be married and expects to meet his father in the afterlife. Yet during the course of their long marriage, her husband was not particularly faithful.
That’s an interesting word, faithful. In marriage, it pertains to the sexual content, but if you were to take that word in its context of commitment and deep attachment and intimacy, my father-in-law was extremely faithful to his wife. He was there for her in all ways a husband should be for his wife. (He just shared around a part of himself).
My mother-in-law knew what she was getting into when she married him. (She adored him, anyway). They also lived together for many years before they married, and had children during that early relationship. My father-in-law had been married previously and was a widower when he met my mother-in-law. Even so, his family did not approve of her because she came from peasant stock in Austria, whereas he was his uncle’s ‘considered heir‘ of a manufacturing business. He gave up all that for her. (I’m not surprised. She was ‘Heidi of the Mountains’, all grown up).
My own mother’s second marriage is still thriving today, too. She remarried when I was eight. My sister and I were flower girls at their wedding. It was an extremely volatile relationship in the early years. He was a sailor and spent long months at sea. I’m not sure they really had time to sort things out properly between them in the periods they had together before he had to go away again. They were also very young and she had been married before. She came to the relationship with two children who were no longer toddlers. It must have been hard.
In the early years of their marriage, we all suffered – my parents, my sister and I. A lot happened and it was quite traumatic, but today I can look back on those times with maturity and experience, and put those events into perspective. They really were just silly kids, at 23 and 24, and my sister and I were just ‘caught in the flak‘. It wasn’t a good situation to be in but if you saw them today you would never believe they ever did the things they did then. They are extremely devoted and committed to each other. They are best friends.
All my children also married fairly young. When my daughter married, we didn’t have a lot of money for a wedding. All our savings had already disappeared in caring for our disabled son. So I cobbled together a wedding dress for her out of my old ivory wedding dress and a beautiful gold ball gown that had belonged to my mother. (She was a larger girl than I was when I got married, though I’ve outstripped her, today).
The material was so delicate after so many years of storage that I had to sew every stitch by hand. I also made her slippers out of leftover scraps, pricking my finger many times as I sewed on the harder soles. With a veil made out of my old veil and a new donut shaped head-dress covered in dangling fake pearls, she looked like a medieval princess.
I also made the wedding cake – not baked it but decorated it. I was no cake maker, so instead we sampled dark fruit cakes from the supermarket for weeks before the wedding. Then, after finding the most delicious selection, I began basting it with brandy and later put on the traditional blanket of white icing with a marzipan underlay. Having been heavily involved in theater in earlier years, I knew how to stage a production and make it look superb – and it was. (I later found out that many wedding cakes have flaws on the inside, that are cut away when they cut the cake into pieces. It is the outside of the cake that has to look superb).
The wedding was held in a garden rainforest, on an outlook dais near where two small waterfalls poured into a stream, creating a ‘lucky horseshoe‘ shape, and my years of singing in musicals paid off when I sang the medieval ballad of ‘Where’er She Walks‘ as she and her bridesmaids traveled the path to the dais, and then the song of ‘Tara‘ from the movie ‘Gone with the Wind‘ after their vows were finished. (The words begin with ‘my own true love…’).
They had an afternoon tea reception at the gardens restaurant and their bridal waltz was a maypole type affair, with the bridesmaids and groomsmen binding the couple in white paper ribbons as they wove their dance around them. It was a magical day, and encapsulated the bright spiritual moments that I believe a wedding should be. (My sons had different types of weddings, but each began with such hope and promise, bright smiles and commitment).
Sadly, not one of my children are still married today. I know there were problems in each relationship but I thought that they suffered nothing worse than what my husband and I ever went through – upon reflection, though, I knew that it wasn’t easy to walk away from marriage. Even if you are the one choosing to do so, it’s not an easy path. Even if you know its the best thing for you and that your life thrives much better apart from the relationship, giving up on a marriage still leaves a mark. It still hurts. While I never actually stayed separated from my husband, years ago, the separations we did have showed me just how much they hurt.
My children never had the opportunity to reform their relationships. Their partners all moved on fairly quickly. It was really awful to see the pain they went through, the loss of faith in themselves and in their world, and that awful sense of loneliness even when they were with others. It hurt, too, when my divorced daughter saw myself and my husband holding hands, (even after our arguments), and said that we were lucky to have that sort of intimacy. I may be old-fashioned, but I did wish my children a lifetime relationship of similar devotion – someone they could always rely on, no matter what. Doesn’t every parent?
(I was glad that my children had a strong connection with the universe, at least, so that even as their hearts hurt they were able to keep aiming for fulfilment. The pain never kept them down for long).
When I consider marriage, I think of the vows taken. I’m not sure that some people take those vows seriously. It seems that for some it’s like signing a waiver on a contract that they know they have to sign if they actually want the goods being provided, but where they don’t really read the words of the contract and just ‘go with the flow‘ in order to get those goods.
I view marriages like adoptions. If I adopted a child, I would not turn my back on the child because it didn’t turn out the way I liked it, later. You don’t divorce your children. (Although this metaphor may not be completely sound, when you consider how many children ‘divorce’ their parents, today). So I believe in always trying to make things work out in my marriage. For me, it really is the vow of ‘for better, for worse.’
This is just me. It is part of the modes I have chosen to express in my lifetime. I believe in love being able to conquer everything, and when it doesn’t quite get there, commitment will at least do the trick… In the cosmic scheme of things, however, I’m not sure that such intense commitments really matter. After all, I also believe that we are only individuals because divinity chooses to create us that way. In my view of spiritual truth, none of us are really separate from each other. We are all ‘one in god‘. We are all ‘connected as spirit’. We are all ‘one spirit‘.
So why is it so damnably hard to let go? Why is it so hard to give up on the old hopes and aspirations and expectations so that we can move on to something or someone new? Why do we hurt so much when relationships end?
I think it is because of that sense of ‘coming home’.
In life, whenever we find a person who makes us feel comfortable and connected, it is a spiritual experience. In that experience, we feel as if we are ‘more than ourselves’.
The same can happen from creative processes like forging a business or a project but those don’t always have the same intensity that a relationship brings to the equation.
I believe that in such relationships we find a memory of what it is to be completely ‘one with the divine‘. That is why it is so hard to let go and move on. As individual human beings we often yearn for that ‘greater connection‘, to experience ‘oneness‘ again, and when we find someone who makes us feel ‘as one‘ with them, that relationship sparks off a deep internal memory of the ‘interconnection between all divine elements‘.
Wherever you connect with the divine, it’s not easy to let go.
People do move on with their lives after relationships have failed, though. Yes, that is a matter of ‘have to‘ in many cases, but I believe it is also because of another divine truth – we are ‘all one‘, so others can actually fill in the gaps and make up the differences, too.
I’m not a great believer in singular pairs of ‘soul mates.’ I don’t believe there is only one person who can do that for us in any lifetime. While we may be limited in time, scope, and circumstance in finding someone else to meet the need for partnership, I don’t believe that means that when the person we thought we would live the rest of our lives with (and imagined was our one and only ‘soul mate’) is gone, there can never be anyone else. Being ‘one with the divine’ and therefore with each other, means that opportunities for ‘soul mateship’ are actually many.
Moving on effectively, and finding someone else (or something else), can only happen, though, when we let go of the old attachment so we can actually see the worthiness of new ones.
In a universe founded on the attraction law of ‘love’, it is obtainable anywhere and everywhere – so long as we are open to it.
(For me, love in this sense is the ‘energy of divinity’, which holds the universe together even through the dark and invisible – hence it is ‘attractive’).
I’m not looking to move on from my own marriage, these days. I long ago figured out how to live with my man, flaws and all. I realized that I can retain my individuality, my own opinions and attitudes, and forge my own path, even whilst staying married. The key for me was to remember that marriage is a friendship, my spouse is my family, and that it’s not just about attraction and not just about sex or procreation. (Although, both of those are wonderful, too!) The latter elements can disappear over time, but commitment to friendship and family are as lasting as my decision to be committed.