Marriage
Neale Donald Walsch

  
We have announced and declared that we choose for ourselves for marriage to be the highest expression of the grandest experience of love of which humans are capable.  That's what we've said.  We have said, "We choose for marriage to be an expression of the grandest and highest love of which humans are capable."  Then we proceed to construct a marriage institution and a marriage experience which produces exactly the opposite of that--virtually the lowest form of love of which humans are capable.  A love that possesses rather than releases.  A love that limits rather than expands.  A love that owns rather than disowns.  A love that makes virtually everything around it smaller rather than making everything around it larger.

We've created an experience of marriage that has nothing to do with love in far too many instances.  We've created a holder, a shell, some kind of encasement.  And that's what we want marriage to be.  We want it to be an encasement that holds everything exactly where it was the moment we said, "I love you," and that holds us all exactly where we were in that first moment.  But people and events move around.  They change.  Life is an evolution.  And so marriage, as we have constructed it, works against the very process of life itself, because it provides very little breathing room in the way many societies and religions and family traditions have constructed it.

Largely, marriage has been used by those societies, religions, and families as a mini-prison, as kind of a contractual arrangement that says:

"Everything will be, now and forevermore, the way it is in just this moment.  You will love no one else, and you certainly won't demonstrate that love for anyone else in the way you demonstrate your love for me.  You won't go anywhere else except where I go.  You'll do very little that I do not do with you, and in most ways from this day forward, your life is going to be, at least to some degree, limited."  And so the very thing which should unlimit people and release the spirit within them, works against that and limits people and closes that spirit down.

That's the irony of marriage as we've created it.  We say, "I do," and from the moment we say, "I do," we can't do the things that we would really love to do in life, in largest measure.  Now, very few people would admit this in the first throes of romance and in the first moments after their wedding.  They would only come to these conclusions three, or five, or--what's the famous phrase, the seven-year itch--seven years later, when they suddenly realize that, in fact, their experience of themselves in the world at large has been reduced, and not enlarged, by the institution of marriage.

That's not true, of course, in all marriages, naturally.  But it's true in enough of them--I'm going to say, in the majority of them.  And that is why we have such a high divorce rate, because it isn't so much that people have gotten tired of each other, not nearly so often as they've gotten tired of the restrictions and the limitations that marriage seems to have imposed upon them.  The human heart knows when it's being asked to be less.

Now love, on the other hand, is all about freedom.  The very definition of love is freedom itself.  Love is that which is free and knows no limitation, restriction, or condition of any kind.  And so I would think that what we have done here is that we have created an artificial construction around that which is least artificial.  Love is the most authentic experience within the framework of the human adventure.  And yet in the midst of this grand authenticity, we have created these artificial constrictions.  And that makes it very difficult for people to stay in love.

And so what we have to do is reconstruct marriage, if we're going to have marriage at all, in a way that says:  "I do not limit you.  There is no condition that makes it okay for us to remain together.  I do not have any desire to cause you to be less in your expression of yourself, in any way.  Indeed, what this marriage is intended to do, this new form of marriage, is to fuel the engine of your experience--the experience of who you really are and who you choose to be."

And one last thing that the New Marriage does:  it says, "I recognize that even you, yourself, will change.  Your ideas will change, your tastes will change, your desires will change.  Your whole understanding of Who You Are had better change, because if it doesn't change, you've become a very static personality over a great many years, and nothing would displease me more.  And I recognize that the process of evolution will produce changes in you."

This new form of marriage not only allows for such changes, but it encourages them.

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Pearl S. Buck

  

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