"The whole thing in marriage is the relationship and yielding. Marriage is not a love affair. A love affair has to do with immediate personal satisfaction. Marriage is an ordeal; it means yielding, time and again. That’s why it is a sacrament: you give up your personal simplicity to participate. And you are not giving to the other person; you are giving to the relationship. Because you are not giving to the other person, it is not impoverishing — it is life building, life fostering, enriching.
…The beautiful thing is the growing: each helping the other to flower. We often want to freeze the other person, but you can’t have that and love too."
by: Joseph Campbell from A Joseph Campbell Companion, elected and edited by Diane K. Osborn
Wow! “…you are not giving to the other person; you are giving to the relationship….it is not impoverishing — it is life building, life fostering, enriching.”
My first go around in marriage happened at the age of 20. If I listed all 20 reasons why I chose to marry my first husband, I guarantee not one of them would have been to GIVE to the relationship.
In fact, my list of 20 would be reasons as to why he failed me and a swift ”of course I wasn’t perfect”,
in order to give a humble recognition of my part in the demise.
As grateful as I was for the second chance to get it right when I married Larry at 26, the truth is the list of 20 was pretty much the same, and included even higher expectations of the husband role (notice, always the other..not my own)… Isn’t that what happens when our wounds dictate our belief system and who we have come to believe we are? Most of us get bitter, we become even more narcissistic, build walls, and our “vision” becomes increasingly blurred. But ultimately we are all looking for the same thing! LOVE. The very Love we were born of and continues to call us home.
By the grace of God and 39 years married to Larry, I am able to read this quote from Joseph Campbell and recognize the Truth within the truth of his words. It is absolutely true that marriage is about giving to the relationship and not a love affair. Yet, unless I let go into a Love much greater than my own, I will never attain the ability to give from the heart. Anything less than that place of giving, comes from my head and my thoughts. I will never be able to sustain it and it will never sustain me.
So what do I hope for in my next 39 years with my man? (wink) For us to individually continue to grow and flower, so that we can be Love that builds, that fosters, and enriches. Then the question becomes, “So what if that doesn’t happen? What would you say about your marriage, then?” I would say, “We didn’t always do our best and some times we did…thank you, my God, for the ride! It was the best!”
Would love to hear your thoughts from Joseph Campbell’s quote!