Visiting a new Quaker meeting house today, some thoughts were shared on marriage during the service and the commitment it takes. It both warmed me that there are people who are happy with long marriages but also left me feeling like the other side wasn’t spoken of. I don’t believe marriage should be a lifetime commitment and there should always be a choice to leave by either person.
In life, there are on certain occasions, times when we cannot change our circumstances. Being a child is one of those and children often feel powerless to the choices adults make around us. As adults, we experience a greater sense of freedom in the majority of our lives. The one area we do not, is often the choice to leave our marriages.
There are very few decisions that are permanent and where no choice is present. Although things may feel dark and that we are trapped, there are often more paths out than we care to admit. Being chained to a mortgage and other commitments and feeling like we can’t leave a job is one of those. But this is merely an illusion. There are options, but it’s whether we choose to see them. Options like moving back in with parents, or buying a smaller house are often possible. It may not be ideal or something we want to take, but the choice is always there.
Marriage however, is one area where society often makes people feel like they are locked into their choice forever. There is huge pressure we place upon ourselves, to stay in situations that we are no longer happy in. That’s not to say that marriage isn’t important and should be disregarded lightly. But it’s also fair to be gentle with ourselves, when the time to move on has come.
Life is a series of lessons and choices. Some of those serve us well, some are more difficult and painful than others. Some of those, we know we could be happier with a different choice.
It’s still possible in a marriage to see the true worth in a person, while acknowledging that you can no longer continue to grow together as a couple. Feeling trapped and alone, resentful or worried about your actions, does not come from a place of love. For either party involved. Sometimes, choosing to see a partner through new eyes. Through letting go of the pain and resentment, can bring new life to a relationship. It’s a difficult choice to make. But learning to see someone without their past, is not always possible without putting space between you.
On the way home from the meeting, I wrote the following words.
A marriage is a sanctuary
A marriage is a sanctuary
A place to feel safe
Where it’s possible to peel back the layers
To be emotionally naked in front of your partner
It’s a place to be seen as who you are
Without the pretending or the pretences
Where it’s possible to grow without fear or judgement
To make mistakes and to fall down
To be lifted back up with love and compassion
It’s a place where it’s possible to dream without commitment. To explore all possibilities
To be held in your sorrow, to be celebrated in your achievements
To be heard
And to be seen
It’s a love that grows deeper
An understanding that widens
The opportunity to be continuously amazed
But should a relationship last forever
When you are no longer seen or heard
And the distance between you grows
Can you still see your partner for who they are
Or are you clouded beneath judgement
Do you choose to only see the past
Of the hurts and resentment
Of the words unspoken
Can you look through and see their soul, and still see the divine within
To look upon them with fresh eyes anew each day
Or do you see only the illusions you have created
That keeps you in the shadows
Could you see their fears
That binds them and stops them from moving forwards
Could you choose to see your own?
And join with them to bring them to the light
Are you open to forgive and to learn to love again
To a place where you are ready for these joys
Do you have the courage to see what needs to be done
Could you detach yourself from your co-dependence
And step into your own power
Because it’s a time to be honest
Whichever path you walk
And to remember who you are.