Happiness Class: Marriage by Gisele

Posted by Laura Paulisich on

"Before Tom and I were married, we talked a lot about how we wanted our relationship to develop, and I expressed that I wanted an interdependent relationship, not a codependent one. I see marriage as two people walking side by side, growing individually and together, never giving up the essence of who they are, or their dreams, to please or pacify their partner. I wanted someone who would accept me fully for who I was, someone who inspired and challenged me to be the best version of myself. I wanted to be that same person for my husband. I saw our relationship as a safe port we could both return to for shelter when we needed it, while making sure we both had the freedom to actualize our own dreams.

...our marriage not only had to be based on love, respect, and honesty; it had to be interdependent--where two strong people love each other but never to the point of sacrificing their own happiness or values. To me, marriage, or any relationship, comes down to two people walking side by side through life, learning alone and together, and sharing what they've learned with each other as they keep growing and expanding.

...Similar to the balance of masculine and female energies inside all of us, the ideal marriage is a dance in which both partners take turns giving and taking, leading and following, directing and receiving, for the rest of their lives. I believe that a woman who has those two energies in balance will attract a partner with that same balance. Remember, ideally each one of us is both powerful and loving. Strong and compassionate.

I've always loved poetry, and a month before our wedding in Costa Rica, I found a poem that really spoke to me. It's from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, and it was written almost a hundred years ago.

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore

You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days

Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God

But let there be spaces in your togetherness

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you

Love one another, but make not a bond of love

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls

Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup

Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts

And stand together yet not too near together

For the pillars of the temple stand apart

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow

The poem reminded me that two people in love can attain both interdependence and balance. With that balance, you each become a pillar strong enough to sustain love while living side by side. One partner doesn't need to lean on, or crash into, or merge with the other. A strong pillar stands straight on its own. It's perfect just by being itself, and from that place it chooses to share and to stand with another.

Our wedding took place at sunset on a warm day in early April...Around forty people gathered in our open living room: Tom's and my entire extended family--including nieces--and three good friends apiece...I wore a simple white slip dress. My feet were bare. The ceremony was brief, and the last words anyone heard were:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow

There was no formal wedding reception afterward. It was more like a free-for-all, a joyful, relaxed party, just the way I'd always imagined it would be." (LESSONS 213-227)


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