Photo: CC by Vicky Hugheston
Marriage is a long journey of deconstructing whatever our culture says about marriage
BY MAGAZINE COLUMNIST CARYN MIRRIAM-GOLDBERG
Okay, so “The Yoga of Marriage” sounds all wise and maybe haughty, but believe me, from here on the ground, it’s as down-home as leftover coffee grounds tossed on the flower beds so that the zinnias will grow taller.
To my great surprise, I’ve been married for a long time… like over 25 years, which is crazy since I’m a very old-looking 32-year-old. No, really, it’s more that I’ve been married to one person for about half my life, which is nothing like I imagined and very prone to keep morphing into other things beyond my imagination.
Marriage is a long journey of deconstructing whatever our culture says about marriage. It can be a wild road trip or a slow dirge toward the end of the cliff, and how we do the trip is what makes the trip.
Road trip tips
● Pack light, or if you’re like me, pack heavy but be willing to carry your own baggage. One of my friends says there’s nothing worth a high-maintenance person who doesn’t know she’s high-maintenance. I figure that if you need a lot of reassurance, stimulation and care, you better be willing to fulfill on your own the lion’s share of these needs. Your mate isn’t there to take care of you on the hundreds-of-details-of-life level but rather, for you to take care of each other by being present for the twists, turns, lost forays and found destinations of the trip.
● Get married, and you’ll wake up next to your lover each day? Sometimes, but you’ll also wake up next to someone who, on various occasions, feels more like your college roommate who keeps trashing the house, an old friend, a stranger, a sibling who always drove you crazy and, gasp!, one of your parents (the one who gave you the most trouble).
● Sometimes you’ll know exactly what he is she is about to say, but more often, s/he’ll say something you never expected. “You like sushi? I thought you told me you hated it” is just the tip of the iceberg of what you don’t know.
● See your spouse’s aging as a gift: you still have him/her, and in keeping connected and attracted to this person as s/he ages, you can learn how to appreciate your own aging body more.
● Speaking of which, the absolute best thing about marriage is what you don’t know about each other.
● If you get really good at having the same fight, you can simply phone it in, fast forward it or, as one of my friends does, have the fight in abbreviated words via texting. By the way, that fight you tend to have often? Get cozy with it because it can hold court with your marriage for decades.
● Sex comes and goes as do children, money, various desires for various material things, memory and belief in any solid plan for your lives together.
● Know how hard it is to hold a particularly difficult asana for a long time in an over-heated room when you have a headache, need to eat something now and are starting to break out in worry about x, y and z in your life? Trying to communicate with your beloved is already or will be one day (and perhaps many times) harder. During a difficult time, when my mind floats phrases such as “You #&$^@!” and “Divorce!” I’ve learned the thing to do is let the phrases float through, keep my seat planted in the chair and stay. Staying is the essence of working things out just as it’s the essence of working through all the noise and discomfort that that asana may immerse you in when you least need it.
● The best things are not necessarily what you think they will be. Instead, laughing crazily over Dr. Evil in the Austin Power movies to the total embarrassment of your young adult children or shopping together for eggplant at midnight may feather up to the top of your “best moments” list… then again, such lists will feather away in the storm that is marriage. “What the best moments of your marriage?” one of your children or grandchildren may one day ask. All you’ll be able to say is, “The time we got the washing machine on sale during a tornado watch” or “I don’t know. Sharing mashed potatoes at the diner?”
● Nothing is more important than having some time each day or so to check in with each other.
● Nothing is better than looking into your husband’s or wife’s eyes and realizing how beautiful, mysterious and confusing this connection between you is, and how, after all these years, she or he is still hot in your eyes.
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.