Those of us who are divorced, the growing majority, know first hand the crushing truth that marriage can be about as empty, and un-fulfilling, as white bread. It isn’t the bread that’s at fault, it’s the quality of the ingredients.
I’ve been thinking a bit about marriage; if it carries any value, what it means to me at this point in my life and would I ever sign such a contract again. My conclusions are that the contract means nothing to me. In fact, I could buy a home with the money my divorces have cost me. That piece of paper is just that – paper. If the two people signing it do not possess certain fundamental emotional attributes, if the depth and purity of love is not there, then the legally binding contract is similar to that of a prison sentence. Or at the very least a bit like when we blindly joined Columbia House as kids because the lure of ten albums (or in my case, 8 tracks. Yes I’m that old) for a penny sounded like a deal. Instead, months later we owed money and were filled with dread at the mere sight of a new shipment arriving in the mail; all of which culminated in our parents, now angered, having to write threatening letters to free us from the mess.
But then it happens. We see that elderly couple walking hand in hand. Our heart melts. And we secretly wish to call such love our own. We weren’t meant to be solo birds. We want only to have that ‘special’ someone in our nest. But we also don’t want them uprooting, bludgeoning or otherwise destroying the nest, or us. We also don’t want them flitting off while we’re out busy yanking worms from the ground. All that proved was that this person was not that ‘special’ person. Important for our development, but not our life’s love.
We can’t throw our love interest onto the table, grab a pair of tweezers, and begin dissecting their emotions. We can’t plug them into a machine with gauges and needles showing sincerity. It’s all a bit risky in that regard. And therein lies the reason so many of us avoid the mess altogether. But love is a constantly regenerating force that lives within. The best we can do is look back at our past not with anger, but with appreciation for all that we have learned. Life gives us those experiences with the hope that one day we will make the choice that brings us closer in alignment to who we are meant to be, and to whom we are meant to be united.
Marriage has the potential to be one of the most beautiful expressions of love two people can have for one another. But only if the conviction, commitment and love is there. Two people who love one another, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually, have no need for a contract. They are bound by something much more significant than legalities. Those with no need for a contract, are the one’s who are best suited to sign a contract.
Whether you choose to ever marry again or not, remember that it isn’t the paper that matters. It isn’t the pomp and circumstances of the event. And God knows, appearances are of little value. What does matter is the love. It’s the only thing that makes anything worth doing.