Dear Jil, in my last mail I forgot to tell you about their marriage. I mean the marriage of the couple I spoke to you about. Their home is relentlessly filled with happiness. There’s a lightness and airiness to that home. It’s as a home should be.
A home should not feel heavy. The atmosphere should not be a dead weight of unhappiness oppressing the soul. A soul can’t thrive in atmospheric gloom. Unhappiness exerts gravitational stress on the soul. There should be light and lightness in a home, the air fresh with love, the atmosphere saturated with peace. There’s a substratum of indefinable joy in that home. It’s a spiritual quantity. Their marriage is a dream come true for both of them. You should aim for nothing less. This is the rest of your life we’re talking about. She got the man she’s always wanted and he got the woman he’s always wanted. They are glad they have each other. Not in so many words. It’s evident in their sense of wellbeing.
There’s that thing about looking at your spouse and thanking God you married him or her. Marriage is a dependency of otherwise autonomous entities. Both parties in a marriage NEED each other. And on so many levels – physical, emotional, psychological… It’s why there’s voluntary assumption of roles in marriage. These are roles the other party is not generally good at. Which is why you need to appreciate the capacities of your partner. Never take your partner’s contribution for granted.
Another thing I observed about this couple is that they do everything to avoid conflict in their marriage. And they avoid conflict by striving to please each other. This also means they strive to forbear each other’s lapses and gaps. There’s absorption of imperfection. And because they’re friends they just want to be with each other. It’s a truly remarkable love story. That doesn’t mean they have the same viewpoint on everything. I mean, the woman supported Hillary, the man Trump. Nothing could be more divisive in a home than the last American election. But the election is external to their marriage. He understood why she’d support Hillary, and she chooses to understand why he’s still supporting Trump. You won’t always agree with your spouse but trying to understanding why either takes a position makes marriage easier. You must find accommodation in your differences. It’s critical to marriage success. And there will be differences in marriage. There will be different perspectives to certain issues. Even identical twins brought up under the same roof in the same circumstances have differences. If you philosophically assume differences represent different angles to a subject matter, you’ll be enriched by differences. But you must accept and assume those differences of opinion on those subjects have nothing to do with your marriage. When you really think about it, what has either Trump or Hillary got to do with their marriage! And you’ll find their differences in other respects. They even have differences as to movies to watch. She likes light romcoms, comedies; he likes heavy stuff. She can’t abide violent movies or sci-fi. He can’t abide Adam Stiller. Yet they go to movies together despite disparate preferences in genres of movies. You see, it’s not about the movie, it’s about being with her, it’s about being with him. It’s about spending time together! And so those differences shouldn’t break a marriage. Rather they should enhance it.
We’re all coming from different locations into a marriage. We all take different routes. We all carry one baggage or another into a marriage. Some baggage are hand luggage, some are cargo. The hand luggage is not a problem. It can be stowed. But how do you stow cargo into overhead compartment of a marriage? It’s why we need to get rid of our cargo if we want to enjoy marriage. Get rid of bitterness and victim mentality. Once you have a victim mentality you’ll always feel everyone is out to get you, or to take advantage of you. That’s how you end up with two personalities residing side by side inside you. There’s the surface personality which attracts. Then there’s this other person beneath the surface. She’s nasty, controlling, vicious, suspicious, cannot give. This is an insecure personality. And it’s that personality that destroys relationships and marriages. If you want love and joy you’ve got to excise that personality from you, kill her. You can’t be two people. I’ve spoken about this to you before and yet the problem is still there. You’ve got to deal with it. It’s going to make you push people away because it’s nasty. That personality cannot be understood.
When insecurity is so deep, it becomes who you are. You won’t get the man you want with this other personality. It will always repel what you attract. Beauty can’t sustain a marriage. Men have been known to go for lesser versions of their wives. What happens is that the man gets used to that beauty. And don’t forget he’ll see you in uncomely state. Without character the value of beauty depreciates significantly. You’ve got to watch out for these things I pointed out. You’ve got to purge your head of these notions. You can’t hold a future husband responsible for what happened in your past. Just as it does not make sense for a man to hold his future wife retroactively responsible for the problems in his life. That a man took advantage of your innocent heart sometime ago doesn’t make all men liable. You’re only interested in one man really, and that’s your man. Let God deal with humanity in general. Don’t rob yourself of happiness because of someone else’s failing. Learn to create a buffer between painful memories and loving desires.
If you don’t separate that past from the rest of your life, the past will consume your future before it arrives. It’s called anticipatory destruction. Much like a lion killing off the cubs of another lion so there’ll be no rivals. I keep telling you marriage is a beautiful thing. You just get the right partner. But when a man makes a relationship conditional upon violating your conscience, what are you doing there! Think on these things.