I’d entered both marriages with the idea that we were nice people that would always be civil to each other. But then bad things started happening including the death of parents, difficulties with children, job losses and money woes. We were no longer willing to “cooperate” and instead starting blaming each other for the pain.
Recently, close friends have expressed the same thing. They entered into marriage thinking it would be “forever”, but instead they are on the brink of divorce. Or I hear of others who are so afraid of divorce that they never marry, choosing to live together and raise children without a marriage bond.
I’ve asked many times in examining my marriages, “What happened?”
Complex issues surround people who live together. In the last chapter of the Rule of SSJE, the Society of Saint John the Evangelist we are encouraged to “express a shared vision to move beyond the issue of personal cooperation to that of a common spirituality.”
I wonder if this applies to marriages as well as to life in a monastery?
We all long for an intimate relationship where our deepest fears can be shared and accepted. Rather than the superficiality of “cooperation” we long to connect with another person at the level of our soul. But that can only occur when there is a “common spirituality” rather than a spirit of sheer willpower in “cooperating” with another being.
Cooperation is good, but I’ve relegated it to my acquaintances and work relationships. For the most intimate relationships in my life, I’m looking for the “common spirituality” that binds us together more tightly than just being “nice people.”
Blessings, my friend,