Sacred Practice: Marriage as vessel for individuation

Cape Cod 2016

This week I find myself reflecting on my own marriage. In her book, Shelby (2018) says, “Human love is sacred practice” (p. 189). It is sacred to love the humanness of another and yourself. The flaws, quirks, and foibles of my wife are some of the things I love the most about her. Together, we are real, heard and witnessed. Thomas Moore begins his writing on soulmates by saying soul functions as a conduit for both connection and individuality. This seems to me the gold in romantic relationship. When Psyche returns to herself, when she sinks into unconsciousness at the end of the tale, she is utterly within. It is from this place that a real connection with Eros occurs, when he returns to meet her where she is. We cannot be connected to another if we are not fully ourselves in the relationship or allow the other the same freedom. We free ourselves from what Moore (1994) sees as the spirit’s desire for perfection and find as he says, “value in fragmentation, incompleteness, and unfulfilled promise” (p. 255). These are elements of long-term love as much as they are of relationships that don’t last many cycles. For me, love of soul is love of the universal in the particular(s). Loving the experience without judging the journey means soul is permitted to be both in this moment and beyond this body. This can happen in any meeting with ourselves or another. Romantic love allows for it if we don’t’ idolize it. Idolatry stops being about the gods and becomes about the icon. I fear that we’ve created idols of romantic love in our culture and have blocked ourselves from the true grace and grit it can bring the soul.

Shelby, S. (2018). Tracking the wild woman archetype: A guide to becoming a whole, in-divisible woman. Chiron Publications.

Moore, T. (1994). The soulful relationship. In Soul mates: Honoring the mysteries of
love and relationship (pp. 233-254). HarperCollins.

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