Is marriage passe? After all, over sixty percent of them in the United States alone end in divorce?
I think not. Despite the discouraging statistics in these modern times, couples continue to marry and remarry, trying again and again to get it right. But what goes wrong?
It seems there has been an evolution in marriage that has taken place and most people don’t have a clue that it has happened. They are busy trying to carry on in modalities that no longer work and the world crashes down around them.
Perhaps the key to a successful marriage lies in understanding the metaphysics of it, along with its evolution and a keener understanding of what commitment truly is.
Marriage in the Past
We have moved from a time when marriage was important just for our sheer survival. The first evolution of marriage was meant to aid in continuing our species in a somewhat safer environment from that of a lone woman being impregnated by a passerby, then left to give birth by herself in a nest of leaves under a bush somewhere. Both the woman and child were in extreme danger, vulnerable to whatever came along, be it weather, beast or another human. Meanwhile, the lone passerby who impregnated the woman may have met his demise as well, by running into another, stronger human.
Together, marriage gave couples back then a better chance of making it through at least to their children’s independence. Together they found shelter, fire, food and water – and defense against others.
From there we moved into marriages of convenience. These were arranged marriages, from the poorest of society to the highest bred. The poor married not only to combine together whatever meager ownings they had, but also to connect with whoever was most convenient geographically. The highest bred arranged marriages to combine wealth, landholdings and armies.
Love in these marriages was not even considered. Oh, it was an asset some thought in the wealthy set, while most others thought it a hindrance to accidently fall in love with one’s wife. There were mistresses for that sort of thing. Here and there in history one finds an arranged marriage where love successfully existed, such as that which developed between King George III and his German wife. But such marriages were novelties of sorts, rare enough to become fodder for romantic novels.
The solid idea of love between married couples began creeping, albeit hesitantly, into the mind of society along about the mid-1800’s. With it came a hollow restlessness, an emptiness and yearning for something more. Could it have been the underpinnings of the women’s suffragette movement, I wonder?
People living before WWII had a different view of life. When they were young, it was fun to play around with love, and enjoy their lives, and it was not uncommon for the average person to have more than one lover. But after a few heartbreaks, those broken relationships produced a few enemies that brought hatred and guilt, and then a formal and public commitment with a partner became much more appealing. So in short, people get married for security.
In addition to an increased security, there might also be some cost avoidance. Getting married, and starting the married life can be very expensive, but the day to day expenses are slightly cheaper than living alone, because a lot of the expenses are shared by your partner. Children are not so expensive until they grow older, but by that time, your career should have advanced as well, bringing more income to support your family. Of course, a young man can avoid more costs by living with his parents for his entire life! He might have a little more money in his pocket, but his relationships will suffer as a result, because of the limits to his pride and the restrictions on his freedom that his parents will impose. Marriage will give a person the moral right to be in control of his/her own relationship with his/her partner.
After World War II, and after the metaphysical energy of the earth shifted from Europe to the United States (another Perceptions article to be sure), divorce began a continual rise until today it is pandemic.
An Objective Assessment of Marriage
Of course, no one should get married solely to avoid heartbreak, isolation and the burdens of relying on one’s self. Properly, marriage should be chosen more for the benefits that it brings, and less for the troubles that can be avoided. Most of all, the choice of an appropriate partner is the key issue that will determine whether the marriage relationship will be happy and successful. Choosing a partner can be quite a complicated issue by itself. However, my point here is that being afraid of commitment can be just as dangerous to your life as making a bad decision. I personally believe that some of my students would be happier if they got married, simply because the opportunities that they are experiencing now will not last forever. Taking opportunities always involves risk, but having regret over opportunities lost is a little harder to live with.
But even today, people keep trying for the brass ring of marriage over and over. How do we avoid the possibility of divorce, and find the happiness that marriage offers?
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard something that would not have been uttered in the 1600’s, 1700’s and for most of the 1800’s: “The romance went out of my marriage.”
What is romance? It is the spiritual side of marriage. It is the one thousand volts of electricity that give you the ecstatic “high”, versus the 110 volts of electricity it takes to run the vacuum cleaner after the marriage in order to clean up after one another. Romance is the Divine Presence within each of us that reaches out to the other within a committed environment. Romance spawns spiritual ecstasy. Spiritual ecstasy allows us to touch the face of God.
As marriage has evolved, we have evolved as well. We have, for the most part, not yet discovered that marriage has moved out of the realm of the physical and into the realm of a spiritual partnership.
Women are self sufficient now. They no longer need a man around to gather fire and food for them. They are educated enough to provide for a family without the man’s wealth. But it seems not to be enough. Once again, as in the 1800’s, when we women began to reach outward to fill the empty hole, we did so in the male world, only to find it emptier still. Filling it up with a marriage that goes sour in a few years is not the answer either. So what is? Perhaps the answer lies within the context of a spiritual marriage.
There are three purposes to a modern marriage:
- To heal the wounded child that exists within each of us
- To touch the face of God
- Raising children
Very little is sacred any more. But marriage is something that must be held sacred and spiritual if it is to survive. There is no other way in the progress and evolution of mankind thus far. Marriage must become a sacred healing ground as you set upon your earth walk together. Marriage will be used by either the ego, or the Holy Spirit. True marriage becomes a spiritual rite of passage.
This spiritual rite of passage between two people becomes a pact, a “heart pact”, and it must be made and kept sacred in order for romance and ecstasy to survive within the marriage. This heart pact is called commitment.
When two people really understand that a commitment within a spiritual marriage must be made in order for the marriage to survive, there is hope for a successful marriage to occur. Without the dynamic of commitment you cannot serve one another in the growth of the soul. Marriage then becomes a conscious journey into one’s own spirit; first by healing the wounded child, second by touching the face of God.