Marriage is a BIG topic from any perspective or by any author. A few weeks ago at one of our workshops one of the participants asked me if I could write a blog entry on marriage from a shamanic angle. Like with any request I always have to throw it to the Universe first and wait for synchronicities to lead the way before I can come back with something to share.
The synchronicities were so numerous that there was no doubt in my mind that the topic of marriage was a cosmological theme
this month. Every single weekend was about attending a wedding. If it wasn’t my son or daughter dressing up for such an event, it was my husband and I which hasn’t happened in years. CH, my son’s girlfriend who’s a photographer was suddenly busy with weddings as well. Then, my daughter came up with the idea to enrol in college, in the program of bridal consulting. In the span of a few weeks KT started classes and suddenly the house was filled with questions on the topic. Even at our shamanic workshop participants were questioning the subject of marriage.
The best way to explore any theme from a shamanic perspective is to surrender to the experience. For starters, we should always explore themes that are sup
ported by synchronicities. Why? Because synchronicities offer potential archives of knowledge. For example in my case, I had the possibility of collecting countless stories with great facts on the subject of marriage through attending weddings or looking through my daughter’s school books. There are no better way to learn about something than to share with the people who are living it or learning about it.
There’s what people say and then, there’s what I hear!
From the young people I questioned I came out understanding that marriage is scary. It’s a life long commitment that most young couples see as a restriction or obstacle to individual ambitions and dreams. It’s also about responsibility, money and what you can do with it and eventually children as well as compromise. A couple relationship outside of marriage doesn’t require accepting and respecting the individual personalities and habits of their mates 24 hours a day. The focus is on courting so it’s about fun and games. It’s about discovering the other and in great part that consists of pleasure, communication, and common ground. Marriage suddenly shifts a relationship into testing the love that exists between two people. It is inevitably about every little detail that wasn’t shared and isn’t common ground.
“My mother once said to me,” said a friend of my daughter’s “that for the 7 first years of marriage it’s normal to not be able to stand your husband.”
“Did she tell you what happens after 7 years?” I asked hoping she’d say yes. Unfortunately such comments don’t come with great advice or wise lessons. They are ancestral programs repeated almost unconsciously from mother to daughter. If only we could break these cycles and replace them with more helpful stories…
There were so many divorced couples at the weddings that were attended that it was difficult to find a good reason for anyone to get married. Both my children came home somewhat discouraged with the idea. Most of the young women talked excitedly about the dress, the pictures, the weddings gifts and reception but none were interested in speculating on what came next.
“You do realise that the wedding is suppose to be about the marriage?” I stated at some point through the discussions. It seemed really important to bring people to reality. The fact of the matter is it takes a year to plan a wedding and yet, very little individuals have put any kind of planning into a life time of marriage. I noticed that most young women in their mid-20’s salivate the perfect wedding and do so through romantic illusions. It’s all about the dress, and that special day where they-are-the-center-of-attraction. What happens when every day after the wedding is nothing like that day?
I noticed this month that when my daughter questioned my husband and I on our marriage we both answered; but when she asked about our wedding my husband never replied. I found this interesting. In fact most men believe that the wedding is kind of a gift they give to their wife. The norm suggests that men aren’t that interested in the wedding itself but give more thought to the actual marriage. It is probably the reason why so many young men fear the idea of getting married or need to be absolutely ready before they do the plunge. Women usually are the most demanding during the three first years of marriage and mostly because they married what they expected out of their mate rather than the man himself. After three years of marriage most women will concentrate on who they are and who their husband is often to stop the hurt that comes from conflicts that never get anywhere; and they’ll concentrate on building a relationship that is about mutual acceptance. This is why marriage therapy usually comes to mind as a solution in the fourth year of marriage.
Women who believe that marriages often get better after seven years of trying are not wrong because when you look at the process that rises out of our Western conditioning it does seem to take 7 years before a couple gets the hang of being married. Somehow our Western indoctrination seems to dictate our marriage process. For example, it’s a known fact that after 20 years of marriage couples often feel like they no longer share similar interests or similar goals. Often these impressions are created because of the demands of a busy life style. Both men and women work these days and although they share the responsibility of parenting, mothers often have the power of decision making when it comes to the household and the children. Men are often busy climbing the corporate ladder or shouldering the weight of a growing practice, clinic or business. They are the dominant bread winners. No matter how much we believe we’ve changed as human beings ancestral conditioning still exists and influences our life. The traditional division of labour can still be seen through our mundane, daily living.
People often say that to break these programs we would need to let go completely of the Western life style. Personally, I think that all it takes is a better awareness towards the choices we make and a new set of attitudes.
With Sacred Circle tradition we learn that marriage is one of the sixteen mysteries. The concept of mystery implies that we are dealing with something that is unknown, puzzling, different (original or unique) and divine. Mystery is also about natural reality in other words, it’s part of our basic, primal nature. Marriage from a shamanic perspective implies commitment; deep emotional, spiritual and practical connection; as well as a need to pro-create and build dreams together. Sexuality and love refer to other morsels of the Medicine Wheel and so aren’t necessarily connected to marriage although many have inter-woven these elements to the mystery.
There is so much to say about marriage through what I observed this month; through connecting this mystery to the moon of self-value (moon of May, 2010); through looking at it as a mystery; and through exploring it in tradition etc…. Yet, I would much prefer answering your questions on the topic – so that you could get a tool to use in your daily living. One thing is for sure I told both my children this month that above and anything else in life it was most important that they feel whole, happy and content with themselves.
"Marriage," my husband and I both stated to our young adult-children, "is meant to help you grow as strong individuals. A partner in marriage is expected to empower his or her mate and to help them grow to the heights of their person. Tough love, tender love, caring love -- whatever love exists is meant to send the message that you are there no matter what for your mate. If you can't devote and commit your life to someone then, it's best you don't but if you can -- it is the most incredible journey you will ever take. Just be sure that if you embark on this journey it's for the long haul because the outcome of marriage is mystery and you wouldn't want to get off the Wheel before it's spun all the way through."
So I leave you with my first blog entry on the topic and look forward to being guided by your questions for a sequel entry on marriage.
P.S. Pictures of my husband and I.