Day 272 - Personal Love & Marriage
I know that I am on a tear, but I feel like we are in this place where we are all out there having one of the marriages I described yesterday or some combination thereof. But what we really, really want is this marriage based on personal love. But how do we get there when all the models we have to choose from, when the continuum of those models is severely lacking as a platform? And what exactly is lacking? Is it us? Is it society? Is it how we approach the whole deal? Why is it so hard to find a loving, soulful connection that lasts?
All very good questions to which I have no answer, only lots and lots of questions. But I am beginning to have an inkling of what might be missing...
In order to create a platform where your partner’s needs, wishes, dreams, desires are as important as your own, you must first clearly know your own. Where in hell are we taught to figure that out?
Not in any home I have ever been in.
Not really appropriate.
My observation, not here either.
So where in the hell are we supposed to learn to love?
If we are lucky, we get love in all of the above places. We are loved by our teachers at school, our parents at home, by our colleagues at work and by our fellow students on our spiritual path. Not everyone is lucky and all of the above places become injurious and the situs of abuse, neglect or unfulfilled needs. Mostly it is a mixed bag I think.
I think that we must start with ourselves, earlier than 50 would be my guess. Spend your life loving you and creating a life that is yours while practicing the tenants of a principled life. Then seek to so the same with another. Truly see them, love them, hold them and cherish them. But pick someone who can do the same...and there is the rub. And where I find myself...I feel like I have done the work, spent years working on loving the person that I am, going to therapy, owning my shit, coming to love the things about me that are hard and in the way. Working to remove the stuff that doesn’t serve me or really anyone else. But then I seem to keep trying to give that to someone who hasn’t done the spiritual and emotional work, and the results?
Not great and quite painful.
But where do you find a person who has chosen to not take the easier, softer way? Where do you find the person who has done the work? They certainly are not on Tinder. Or in the bars. I suppose they could be but in my experience they are not. Where do you find another soul on the path?
I haven’t a clue. But I do believe that in order for any of us to have really satisfying, deep marriages we have to come to see the relationship AS the spiritual path. That it isn’t just about finding the right person, it is about finding a person willing to sign up to make your life as important to them as yours is to you and be willing to continue to do the work...forever. I think the only place that we can create a container to hold this personal love is a relationship that is based upon a deep and abiding concern for the other person. And that can only really happen when you have figured out a framework to deal with your own stuff.
I think we now pick one of the marriages I have outlined and then become super disappointed that it is not a good container for personal love. When anyone looking at it could tell you very quickly that was the case. We, instead, seem to insist that it be different. Often times, I think we don’t even pick the right type of marriage for us because we are wholly misguided in our identification of what we are selecting. We are really looking for a 1950s marriage but select a 1990s marriage and then are consummately disappointed in our results...
As usual, I have theories galore and lots of questions and find myself lacking greatly in actual real life experience to bear any of it out. I am willing to put all my theories to the test but find that it is quite difficult to find another soul that is willing to meet me on the path. A lot of false starts and swift endings. Not a lot of middle ground or people willing to do much work at all...or maybe just not with me.
Fuck, I don’t know.
What I do know is that I am willing and I know that I am able because while I didn’t do it perfectly before, I did love someone as much as I loved me. I did care about his needs and desires as much as my own. I did love him even when I didn’t like him all that much. I did want what was best for him, even when that meant he was going to leave. I am not sure why my attempts at love have always left me standing alone at love’s curbside. Perhaps that is my lot, perhaps that is where my path leads. I do know that I will keep trying, breaking my own heart each time because I know that the lessons learned within that pain make my life richer, more fully alive than any life where I stood fiercely protecting my heart. Love shared is never wrong or misguided. Loving is the path. I just believe that is true.