Love Part 2 is a not about love for family, friends, animals, vocation or any other wonderful, beloved annoyances. It’s about intimate partnership, in my case called “marriage”, and the “joys” that come from that: sharing a bed and bodily functions for starters.
Songs and poems cover the intense joy and sorrow of love, and news and gossip mags cover extremes from lust to bust. None of those are my expertise. I once heard, “you can know 1 thing about 1000 men or 1000 things about 1 man.” My experience is with one man and the skill of re-finding balance over and over with him. This first preface is from David after he read this piece:
He had two comments:
‘it’s really personal,’ he said and…
the reason we have a good marriage is because he says, “I love you” and “you’re beautiful” and ‘Yes ma’am’ …a lot.’ ; )
And apparently in return, I’m “calm, not demanding (though he qualified that ; ) and always warm. “
So maybe that’s 70% of our life together. The other 30% is not as easy and requires skills of balance as well as an intuition of when to stay in the room and when to leave it.
A second preface to this piece are words from my mother when, as a teenager, I asked why she wouldn’t leave her severely strained marriage to my father: ‘You never know what goes on between two people; so don’t presume to understand their situation.”
I don’t presume to know your situation. These ideas for maintaining a balanced relationship (which are linked to body philosophy: aka: juice) might not be what you think are true. I hope my words are accepted in the spirit of ‘ this has been my experience’ and offered as discussion and not as directives. You can find plenty of those on the internet.
Marriage – Crazy or Courageous?
To fall in love to the degree that you consider spending a lifetime with someone is either insane or incredible. Falling in love twice to that degree must be a miracle. And surviving the vow of marriage?
I’ve been amazed how quickly David and I are willing to throw 7, 12, 20, 30 years of togetherness away with one really bad argument. A matter of one conversation on one evening is enough to shatter years of work and compromise.
On the flip side, I’ve been amazed at how we’ve weathered with relative ease huge upheavals like near-bankruptcy and a complete uprooting of our lives, twice.
And then there’s the restlessness. There was a time I wasn’t sure of myself in our marriage and I bent the rules. When I spoke to David about the possibility of separating while I sorted out my confusion he said, without malice or bossiness, ‘you can’t sabotage my life and our children’s lives because you need to find yourself, Kathy. You have to do it within the marriage. “
Luckily years before I had dealt with the headstrong child in me who needed to have her way. With her out of the picture, a clearer perspective could emerge – one that was capable of imagining all the people involved. In a matter of seconds I thought, ‘ of course he’s right.’ By sidelining stubbornness and drama, courage, forgiveness and patience had the opportunity to help us “bounce back”. We could begin leaning towards the ‘yes’ that change and growth require.
Bravery, together with vulnerability, brings openness. That transparency isn’t easy but it’s the key to staying together. In accepting the other’s shortcomings, we accept our own. Otherwise, blame becomes the default emotion for every circumstance.
Bruce Lipton in Biology of Belief says, “…white light is composed of all of the frequencies in the rainbow spectrum.”
Maybe love, white light, is a combination of all the emotions, where not one is rejected. Every “colour”, from the red of rebelliousness, to the “green” of jealousy and the “cool blue” of indifference, is included. Likewise, all conditions – from the flash flood of an argument to the drought of angry silence – need permission to show up before they can move on.
From Resistance to Perspective – Balance in the rocky precipices
Balance’s role is to negotiate the potholes and inevitable nonsense of life’s terrain. Our body adapts as it meets a faster pace, a new position, or a bumpier surface. A new equilibrium is found once the initial hit of ‘no!’ – and the consequent bracing – softens into ‘it is what it is…’ and ‘how do I work with this?”
Forget staying only in the present; balance requires an expanded outlook, one that looks to the Future You as well. When facing resistance – either internal or external – balance is best served by tuning inward and by looking outward. “Surf” till a new alignment is struck; then move on.
Ideally in life, while one partner is the catalyst to ‘rock the boat,’ the other holds steady. And then it switches. When David has lost courage, I have found mine; when patience was finished in me, David accessed his. When strength is hard to muster, support is truly balance’s best friend.
Resilience and Positive Tension
Balance in both body and life is about creating coherence between the bits and pieces of the whole picture. The verbal and non-verbal ‘co-hearing’ between two people that has to happen can be tricky.
In marriage, the smallest degrees of ‘give and take’ maintain positive tension. To respect that your partner’s path and their way of doing things is not necessarily like yours yet give them the freedom to be themselves is high love. And to ‘take’ as a couple means spending time and money when children and other responsibilities demand a big share of both.
David always insisted that as a couple, we came first; the children needed to fit in with us, not the other way around. This attitude made all the difference. Children grow up and leave (faster than I would have believed) and the couple is what’s left. Transplanting ourselves, for a weekend lift or a life change, fired us up when our marriage got stale or our appreciation of each other was dwindling.
Love Part 3
The cycle of the 7 skills, (aka: Juice!) leads me to believe that Love Part 3 might be focused on energetic integration for us as a couple. Whereas balance establishes structure and boundaries, integration blurs them in favour of unity, compassion.
Up till now I’ve mostly made the “sacrifices” for David’s dreams and trials. He makes 75% of our income, so that made sense; luckily the sacrifices have served my best interests too.
Now most likely, the next few decades of our lives will have some ‘twists and turns, ’ different to what we’ve known before. I hope the Golden Rule, “do unto others”, will guide both of us towards our Golden 50th Anniversary.
Peggy and Chip, David’s parents, were the one and only couple I’ve celebrated the big 50th with. When we asked them what was their secret to long marriage Peggy said, “Women need a studio, some place they can call their own, where they can go to create.” Chip merely grunted (maybe men just need a “cave”).
For sure, not all of Peggy and Chip’s married years were good but I think in the end they were proud of what they’d synthesized, without necessarily being aware of it, analyzing it or saying it. They epitomized the truth of The Rolling Stones’ line,
“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, well you just might find, you get what you need. “
Nothing profound and at the same time, completely profound.
Here’s to all of us, working on ourselves and the question of balance, which really is the most important work for this life. Peace.