How are you doing with your New Year’s resolution? As we pack away the last decorations of the holidays and New Year’s celebrations, pause with me to reflect on the potential of the time. The season holds mystery and so does marriage. You might call it alchemy.
Alchemy attempted to turn base metal into gold. Coupling attempts to turn flawed persons into beautiful, life giving relationships. The alchemy of love lived intentionally creating a new reality of meaning and material.
Hanukkah lights our way with hope. A babe born in Bethlehem marks the possibility of a new life. A ball dropping in Time Square marks the potential for a new year. We accept these agreements and allow them to transform us. Coupling has the same magic.
People will tell you that things change once you get married. Well of course they do! Like this magical season, we accept that these things are mysteries. Holy days are set aside and mean something different. New Year’s Day is set aside, it means something. But we infuse these special times with meaning. Belief holds magic and commitment makes it real.
These big events carry mythic meaning. Just like Christmas and New Year’s, a marriage day means more. To stand before a crowd of witnesses, to stand before God, your family and friends, starts a journey with potential we will not yet be able to understand.
The very act of intentionally committing to the other contains this magic stuff. To be devoted to the other and hold that inside becomes a transformative catalyst that moves us to a deeper relationship. And that makes us better people.
The tricky part comes in the balance of thinking, feeling and action. Each plays its part. Do you know which is your weakness? Do you feel deeply but fail on follow through? Are you eager and willing to do but not very thoughtful? Maybe you are thoughtful and service oriented but can’t show your feelings?
The alchemy comes in the intersection of all three that I’ll just call belief. Kind of like faith, it can be irrational and hard to explain. But belief is a feeling you know in your gut.
Stillness may capture the idea I’m trying to convey. In the stillness of candle light the truth is revealed to us. We have a knowing that is unexplainable and goes beyond rational description. Just like our faith systems, the stories that inform us, committed coupling does through being what we cannot do by just doing, or thinking or feeling.
The stillness of the menorah, advent candle or romantic dinner, becomes the centering and unforced force for change. Living according to a mystery that you can’t fully explain but permeates your entire being.
Stories and holidays transform us in unexpected ways. Once one is committed, once we begin to live in the covenant of committed coupling, only then can the real transformation begin. Myth tells the truth that the truth can’t tell. Marriage carries a truth unrevealed until lived.
Bruce Conn is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and works with individuals and couples. Contact him at 478-714-7189 and/or email@example.com.