Friday, 26 October 2012

Myself on the couch - what about marriage and me?

In the midst of a deliciously deep email conversation, I was asked the following:

But what are your own plans - do you intend to marry, or are you a bachelorette, or are you secretly living the consecrated life?

I had thought the response would be difficult, but it just flowed from my keyboard, giving me new clarity along the way. So, since I offered advice on marriage to a hypothetical couple on my couch, it seemed only fair that I put myself next to Winnie and his honey jar - and do that very rare thing for me - show my emotional cards:

I want to be married and (G-d willing) have children if possible more than anything else in the world - it has always felt like my vocation. But I always swore, up and down, that I wouldn't end up in the loveless, horrible marriage my parents had. Granted it was arranged, but I've seen arranged marriages that at least rub along tolerably well; my parents' marriage was a form of hell. I was...12? 13? before I realised that people marry because they're in love with each other - that you could actually LIKE YOUR SPOUSE. That...has had a long-lasting effect, and I am extremely relationship-shy for fear of being trapped as my parents were and as we were in what was a desperately unhappy home. The minute they mentioned arranged marriage, I moved out, leaving them a note on the fridge. It's hard to be with a guy without that immediate panic attack feeling of 'Oh my god, he's going to trap me forever and it will be horrible' cropping up. Having said that, I don't think I've turned anyone away who was right for me; I just wonder where he is. I really hope he didn't get run over by a bus crossing the road to find me!! :-P

For me, marriage is so deeply holy, such a binding of souls, a real sacrament, I wouldn't DARE approach it unless I knew G-d, and not my boyfriend and I, had put it together. Anything other than that certainty would be a mockery for me; I couldn't do it. Vocation is such a deep thing, it's beyond words - I just don't mess with it, and try to trust G-d knows what he's up to, hard as I have found it over time. I trust He'll let me know. I don't want to step into a marriage because I feel I should be married; I want to marry because it's what G-d wants of me. I want to say those vows before G-d and KNOW that's what He wants for me, KNOW that I mean them heart and soul to this person and to G-d. Nick had a wonderful line in a wedding sermon: May you become so entwined with G-d and each other that you have no idea where your marriage ends and G-d begins. That sums it up for me.

I rarely dare dream - I'm too aware of how easily they're ridiculed or snatched away, but some dreams run too deep, are too much a part of every fibre of our being to be submerged or ripped out - or even discussed except with those who can be trusted with one's heart - and even that is difficult. 

For me, this is that dream.


CEAD said...

What I really love about this is that it captures an essential most discussions of Marriage As Vocation I've seen don't. It's not a vocation To Be Married. It's a vocation to be married to you. The identity of the person you are marrying is so crucial. It makes all the difference. Marrying Some Random Person is not the same thing. How are you going to get the worship and sacredness if you're only doing it pro forma? There's no way you could get the depth that way. It would be, as you say, a mockery.

I will not marry unless I think it is a sacred thing. I have always supposed that I was unlikely to find that kind of love in my life, and therefore I have always assumed I would not marry. And, although I would rather find it, I am okay with that.


CEAD said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Irim said...


For some reason, yours posted twice, so I've deleted the second one - so worry not!

Yes. EXACTLY THIS. You cannot sanctify each other through lukewarmth, will, or grim determination. It HAS to be done through deep connection, passion, love.

The state in and of itself is not a vocation; it can only become so through being married TO a specific person. To be cryptic - in a moirail way - Sacred Union. Ja?

I will not marry unless I think it is a sacred thing.

THIS. I mean, it totally bugs me that marriage is the default in our society - if you've been together X amount of time, you marry. It shouldn't be. It should be reserved for something so deep and holy that it is rare and precious, and a true sign of G-d's love at work in the world. xx

Playful Grace said...

Loved this. And agree that marriage is indeed a sacred union, and always sad to see people marrying because they feel they "should" not because it's what they truly feel is the best choice.

Thanks for this!