In the birthday card I gave my husband this year, I couldn’t help but mention that when we got engaged and then married, he could not have known the people we would grow to be. Yet here we are thirteen years later, eleven of which have been in marriage (as of tomorrow).
I heard a statistic that if you make it past the first seven years of being married, it’s like making it over the hill. Then, of course, you hear of all these marriages that crumble into divorce after up-teen years together, even 20 or 30 years. What makes a marriage stick?
*Warning: These are non-clinical hypotheses, just a lay-woman’s view.*
Marriage takes a constant flow of energy. Hopefully this energy is given and received, given room for expansion and contraction, and allowing room for growth and change. Oftentimes, this means we have to work at it, we have to give a little push or pull. Some of us need lessons, as if learning to dance; each learning how to lead and how to follow. As long as we’re willing to work together in our relationship, it can thrive amazingly in any circumstance. It can look beautiful and effortless, even be so.
There are times, however, when the flow is broken. It can be tragic or necessary. When I say necessary, I mean as in cases of violence (physical or emotional) or cases of distrust. Some say time heals all wounds, but some wounds are too vulnerable for constant exposure and need to be out of a situation to be given opportunity to heal.
I consider myself blessed to be in a loving flow of energy with my husband. Even as we’re growing into who and what we want to be when we “grow up” and feel some of those growing pains, we’re in it together, aware of each other as individuals and as a whole. We are dancing, however awkwardly. (Given our height disparity, this is a particularly funny image to me!)
This same philosophy on sacred marriage can be applied to any relationship, however large or small. If we can be conscientious of the flow of loving energy with others, our capacity of respect and growth is amazing. But sometimes the seemingly smallest infringement creates a dam to the flow, and sometimes even humility isn’t enough to mend. Sometimes paths have to diverge, change course — often for the better.
Marriage is work and not work. Marriage is sacred, and like all sacraments, there is a great underlying Mystery at its core. What better ground to dance upon and with and through than that of Love?
Here’s to many more years of beautiful music.