04 Dec / A Witness to Love…and Marriage
After my divorce 8 years ago, I swore I would never get married again. Never.
I didn’t actually understand why anyone got married.
You see, I was raised to believe that if you wanted to have sex, you needed to get married. Sounds crazy, right? Well, welcome to a glimpse of 24 years of my life as a Jehovah’s Witness. According to the JW’s (and many religions) sex is only to occur between a husband and wife. And since hormones start raging early on in life, the formula quickly becomes sex = marriage. Not surprisingly this leads to a lot of divorce (and super young marriages), amongst other headaches.
Once I left the religion, and my husband of two years declared he no longer wished to be married, I was free. I could have sex and not be married (this was a novel idea for me at the time!) AND I could choose to never have anything to do with marriage again.
Until I fell in love with two my favorite people in the world, Jessica and Jeremy.
They got engaged, and asked me to officiate their wedding.
Facilitate a marriage ceremony? Whoa.
I was about to face a topic I had avoided for 8 years.
What did I really think about marriage? Not, what did the religion think about marriage, or what did “God” think about marriage – but rather what did I think of marriage? And honestly, I didn’t really know. It had felt like a prison to me. But was it really?
As I created the ceremony for Jessica and Jeremy (with the strong help of the book Sacred Ceremony), I began to make peace with marriage. Through this process I was able to understand the true desire to marry. I also got clear about what this kind of commitment really means.
Essentially, marriage is one of the vehicles for ascending to our highest selves. We can do this in any relationship, of course. But the level of commitment that marriage requires is one of the ways we really show up and do our work. Imagine it (and many of you are currently living it), you are committing to love one person romantically for the rest of your life. You two are going to get to know one another better than anyone else in the world. You’re going to find one another ridiculously sexy at times and at other times, just plain ridiculous. You are creating a family, even if you never have children. You are still becoming one with another human being and letting the whole world know about it (via the wedding ritual and wearing wedding rings).
To make a commitment of this depth and magnitude requires far more than a desire to get laid (note to religious organizations everywhere) but rather an intense desire to know one’s self and grow in a way that only a union of this kind can facilitate.
I’m still in awe of what I’m uncovering about marriage.
I was overcome with love during Jessica and Jeremy’s ceremony and watching two people I love go so deep in their growth and commitment to one another.
In the meantime, I’m still allowing this rewiring in my brain to sink in…I even sorted a lot of it out as I wrote my next novel Following Bliss. In fact, I think via this ceremony and writing Following Bliss, I’m finally clear about what this sort of commitment looks like for me (and I sense it’s time for a big paradigm shift in how we create our romantic commitments!). More to follow in 2013 on this!
What are your thoughts on marriage? Share them below!
P.S. And a big shout-out to our cameraman, the illustrious Steven LaMere. Love you love! xo