An Essay on Marriage I Wrote Four Years Ago…

It’s another rainy Sunday night, I am just beginning to bleed, and I certainly don’t feel like writing about my dad anymore today… though I’m far from finished.  So much history, so many undigested emotions…no, I have barely scratched the surface of the lake of uncried tears and liquid misgivings over that man.  (also, I just took a bite of apple just now, and in mid chew, I remembered to appreciate and REALLY experience it.  I’ll tell you, it became so sweet and alive, slightly mealy.  Little fire crackers of flavor and sensation in my mouth.  Yummmm.)

So instead, I reach into my grab bag of a heart and pull out the topic of—MARRIAGE!!!  Listen, if you’re thinking about trying it yourself, it’s a worthwhile one to nibble on, chew, and even rip to shreds.  Trust me.  And even if you’ve already taken the plunge, (more than once?) still, the subject is abounding with juice.

What IS this thing that women grasp at, yearn for, dream of, and fear we may never “get”?  I remember asking my first “boyfriend”, Joey Seffelieu on a daily basis “Joey, will you marry me?”  Once I asked him over and over again until he burst with annoyance, “YES!!”, the blatant subtext being, “Now shut the fuck up.”  I was three years old, at that stage in the game, and already, the orchestra of social conditioning had struck up inside me with a vengeance.  Walt Disney’s bitches, Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty were my first mentors (besides of course, my own mother) on the topic of marriage.  They taught me that “someday my prince will come”…and naturally we’d live happily ever after.

Well, gosh, I’d love to say it’s all a big hoax.  “It’s all a BIG hoax!”…there, I said it.  But on the other hand, my prince DID come.  And sorry, we ARE living happily ever after in my opinion.  And yet it’s NOT a fucking fairy tale.  Certainly cultivating the sweetness of our communion is more akin to tending a garden, with all the weeding, composting, watering, planting, harvesting, etc. than to riding into the sunset on horseback toward the teensy castle on the colorful horizon.  (though sometimes our relationship DOES feel that way.)

Guess what?  The three year old me who only ate strawberry ice cream for the sole reason that it was pink, loved nothing more in the entire world than stuffed animals (oh, except REAL ones), gaily watched the Smurfs on Saturday morning, and spent too much time in day cares, the little cosmic fairy child who diurnally begged Joey to tie the knot…SHE IS STILL FULLY ALIVE AND KICKIN’ inside me.  And yes indeedy, she asks Eric to marry her (me), mostly any time I well up with immense feelings of love and appreciation.  Now, honestly, should one get married because their inner three year old feels to on a semi-regular basis?  WHY should TWO get married?

Marriage is an ancient institution, which means it can potentially carry with it many cobwebs and skeletons and a general sleepiness.  It is something so many people “DO” just because it’s something everybody does.  Most of our parents did it.  (Given the angle from which I am portraying marriage, you sure wouldn’t know that I whole heartedly ache to dive into its boundless, life long depths.  But by succumbing to my cynicism, hopefully I’ll continue to sink below it, into a self-created realm of my own heart where marriage has the meaning that I, Dawn Athena Grace Kourage and my beloved partner, Eric Neil Friedman imbue it with)  Is it for the purpose of having children?  To seal off that good ole’ back door?  To instill some intrinsic value in the relationship (not to mention the persons) partaking?  For tax purposes?  So that women can flaunt their diamonds?

I want to get married with Eric because our life together is far richer, more fun, well balanced, and just generally BETTER than our lives individually.  I want to marry Eric because I love him to bits and pieces, because through our relationship, I continue to unveil and truly love and honor my divine Self.  I practice being Love.  Oh, all that deep and poetic and “spiritual” stuff is certainly true, but mostly, we are just long lost playmates, and I want to stand before this world and declare our enlightened silliness to the world!  I want to ignite the world in laughter and nonsense.  I want to build a spaceship with him (actually we already have, and it’s called “the New Born Monkey…) and fly to the inevitable lands of unconditional love, self realization and Lila (divine play).  Our fuel is laughter and tears, truths spoken, time shared in silence, passionate love making, dreams fulfilled, unknown paths traversed for the sake of adventure and curiosity, comfort, safety, HOME.  We are each other’s home.  I want to fart in stereo for the rest of our lives.

Years ago when I read the book, Conversations With God, there was a passage about relationships that really spoke to me.  So much that I transcribed it into my journal.  It is as follows:  “If you agree at a conscious level that the purpose of your relationship is to create an opportunity, not an obligation—an opportunity for growth, for full self expression, for lifting your lives to the highest potential, for healing every false thought or small idea you ever had about you, and for the ultimate reunion with God through the communion of your two souls—if you take those vows instead of the vows you’ve been taking, your relationship has begun on a very good note.”  For a soul like me who above all else, yearns for self realization, awakened communion with the divine, declaring marriage as a spiritual path has a paradoxically sexy and practical allure.  Spiritual paths can sometimes be so esoteric.  Marriage, on the other hand is so grounded, attainable.  It excites me to create my spirituality as something so accessible, of this world.  Gone are the days when we humans could get away with believing that to find God, we must renounce our precious bodies and the obscure mystery that is life on earth.  Standing before friends, family and Spirit and declaring our relationship to be a sacred path toward, within, through the land of AWAKENING…now that gets my juices flowin’!

But what if we “grow apart”?  Does that mean we’ll never get to make love with anyone else, EVER again?  (sounds severe to me…)  What if we become like our parents, if not divorced, then—complacent, resigned, dull, a-sexual, and unexpressed?  (Sheesh, Dawn, I hope you’re exaggerating…)  Those are just a few of the questions that haunt me.  A round of applause for me for not rushing toward the quick and easy answers.  But gawd, any of us could die tomorrow, struck by a cursed lightening bolt or a deadly disease.  Until then, we are the creators of our experience, like it or not.  At every moment, we can choose to receive the miraculous mess we are standing in as exactly that.  As a magnificent gift from the Old Lady Upstairs.

Speaking of being the creators…what is that unconscious part of me that clenches when I find out any number of my friends and acquaintances is engaged.  It’d sure be “nice” for me to flush with the sweet sentiments of merriment and celebration…nope.  I feel stabbed by the sharp edged absence of my own engagement ring and the all access pass to the title “fiancé”.  (I don’t want a diamond though, now that I know how much human suffering lies beneath the unearthly perfection of their sparkle.)  “Hey, WE’VE been together for over TWO years,” pipes in my logical mind, “and ‘so and so’ have just been together for barely a year…it should be our turn first!  What the fuck is Eric waiting for???”  Of course that kind of thinking gets my heart all aggravated and wound up.

It’s not like the idea of Eric and I getting married is coming from the black depths of left field…  We certainly talk about it plenty.  “At our wedding we’ll have three legged races,” we muse.  Or, “We can take a trip around the world for our honey moon.”  We even talk about “our kids”, for Christ sake!  So then when I bring up the topic of marriage in a practical context, (saturated with my sense of underlying urgency and desperation), Eric closes up like a clam.  Domino effect—I react to his closure by becoming more adamant and attached, which he reacts to by launching completely out of his body and the moment.  I feel abandoned and alienated.  We enter a downward spiral built for two, sail away to the land of passive-aggressive hell.  Usually in the end my heart is like an engorged tick, full of negative emotion.  I feel wounded, isolated and trapped in the confines of my obviously fractured psyche.  Eric is utterly baffled and helpless.  I am about five years old, and he’s maybe seven.

The more times we visit that signature version of hell built for two, the easier it gets to navigate.  One quality in myself that I frequently give a standing ovation to, is the ability to be in the middle of a deluge of my shit, and still be able to clearly recognize what is occurring.  (Can you do that?  I feel like it’s my super hero power.   Some people can turn invisible, or levitate or breathe fire and ice.  I can unhinge from my identity.)  Now, it still takes strength beyond Wonder Woman’s, to be able to surrender my fervent compulsion to punishing Eric, doing my best to make him hurt the way I do.  THAT is where the real practice lies for me.  If we’re in bed, I usually want to give him the “roll over”, curl up into a tight fist of a fetal position, completely shutting him out.  But though the temptation to close and punish is always alluring, the more times we find ourselves in a nocturnal dispute over marriage or other misc. loaded topics, it does get easier for me to see through Pink Buddha’s eyes of wisdom and generosity.  I know what the results are if I insist on allowing my pain to run the show—it just creates more pain, more separation…and that’s about it. (Oh, sometimes I can terrify him enough to get my way, but that’s lame…) What happens if I remember that Eric is a fellow feeling, breathing soul, with his own tender heart, and not just an empty shell, a sharp rock in my shoe, a secret agent of the devil sent to make me bleed?  That is when our relationship can truly become a source of healing, releasing the past and opening to unconditional love.  (Not to say that it isn’t all that when were doing mundane things like farting in stereo or making heart shaped “secret ingredient” pancakes.)

I do believe that we will surely revisit those realms of closure, punishment and alienation…hopefully “till death do us part”, because it is such a source of growth and realization of our truest hearts…but around the subject of marriage, something has shifted for us.  It happened over time, like an erosion of ego.  As I tapped into the dynamic duo of humility and patience, Eric melted into the experience of feeling honored, heard and powerful as opposed to attacked, squished and pressured.  I knew Eric’s relationship to the idea of marriage had moved from some external construct imposed on him by society, to something that HE truly felt and owned within his heart, because that’s when I got scarred and wanted to burry MY head in the sand for a while!  Oh shit, marriage is a LIFE LONG commitment.  That is nothing to take lightly or rush in to, is it?

These days, it sure seems like we’ve forgotten that.  In a society where divorce is as common place as going on a business trip or taking a bath, the weighty commitment of marriage has been washed down the drain.  My mom’s been divorced twice.  My dad’s still married to his third wife. (His first wife died in a car crash…but they were “separated” at the time.)   Subconsciously, I was not relating to marriage as a till death do us part phenomenon, but more of a till we don’t wanna anymore typa deal.  When Eric had his fundamental shift, something clicked in me, and I felt the finality and the immense commitment that marriage really is.  Ahhhhhhh.  That’s HUGE.  Really feeling the magnitude of the commitment before diving in is crucial.  It’s not something to do just because all your girlfriends are doing it, honestly…

When the big shifting of the tectonic plates of our relationship occurred, I feared too, that my latest state of fear and closure was a permanent, solid state.  It felt so much greater than little “flash in the pan of eternity” me.  Golly, did I feel like a fraud for being the catalyst for Eric to step into his power and certainty and then becoming a big fat coward, myself.  Yikes.  Instead of meddling too much in what felt like a new tangle, I just shifted my focus for a while…and after a time, VOILA!  I re-remembered that spending the rest of my life co-piloting the New Born Monkey with Eric was exactly what I wanted, in the heart of my heart, beneath all the fluctuations of insanity born from my monkey mind.

Part of my freak out came from the idea that I might never get to experience making love or any other type of deep intimate connection with another man.  I don’t know if that’s okay with me.  The idea that marriage means putting limits on who and how we love, seems fear based and not something that I created, but rather and old construct I have slept walked into.  I also acknowledge that it takes a very high level of honesty and integrity to navigate in the realm of polyamory in a way that truly honors the partnership that marriage is.  When I am wanting to put all my attention and lust on another man, it is usually because some operating system of the New Born Monkey is on the fritz, and instead of facing head on, in partnership with Eric, it is more fun to flirt and get attention from sexier and less complicated sources.  Is that who I really want to be in relationship?  Is that behavior a catalyst for the spiritual growth that I have declared my relationship a clearing for?  Uh-uh.  No way, jose.  The path I am choosing involves turning to face what ever is causing the aversion, the irritation, and use it as fuel for the fire of that hottest burning of Divine Loves.

But what about the possibility of just being able to deeply connect with another man I love and who loves me in that deep, transincarnational way?  Will that connection source deeper intimacy and connection with Eric and I?  Will it unmask and celebrate the true nature of love?  This is a realm I do not feel adept in at all.  Mostly because it is not widely accepted as “okay”, and therefore very unnavigated in general.  I aspire to fumble around with only my heart for a compass, to trail blaze the path for all of us who ache to love freely and without limits.  I feel no urgency, only genuine curiosity and a willingness to make mistakes, tell the truth, and continue to open my heart beyond what feels safe and comfortable. (easier said than done, eh?…but quite possible…)  Baby steps.

As it stands inside me now, I am certain that Eric will propose to me…relatively soon…and I am patient.  (I reserve the right to turn on a dime.)  I know that when we stand before our community, family and friends, and declare our love and partnerShip (the New Born Monkey) as a life-long spiritual journey, we will do it in the full Technicolor glory of our zany, wild selves!  I see our wedding breaking rules and traditions while simultaneously being contained by them.  It will be an epic excuse for all who attend to PLAY!  To share and fully be themselves.  To be seen, fall in love and celebrate this crazy, blessed life!

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