Friday, July 9, 2010

settling down

marriage certificate
bob and virg mielzynski
July 9, 1956

Dad gave me his marriage certificate yesterday so I could share this as today would have been their 54th anniversary.  He still connects with Mom every day, even as she enjoys her place in Heaven.  Today I am posting some quotes about marriage and settling down in honor of those couples who have weathered so many storms and stayed strong by continuing their commitment to each other.  You are a bit of a phenomenom in our times and deserve kudos. Good for you!

All my friends at school grew up and settled down. 
Then they mortgaged up their lives...
They just got married 'cos there's nothing else to do.
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

It was during the 1600s that the expression settling down came to be associated with marriage.  Women have always longed to create stable, orderly, serene, comfortable and safe surroundings in which to raise their children, and since Eden, have preferred not to do it alone. We would like a little help from our darlings' fathers.  You know what they say about mothers inventing out of necessity. One day a brilliant woman thought of stuffing the soft downy feathers of ducks and geese into mattresses made of muslin and hay.  Now you know where the expression making hay came from. "Don't sleep out in the cold and damp," said our woman sweetly. "Come inside and settle down here with me where it's cozy and warm."  Thus began a pivotal chapter in connubial history.  Soon feather beds and plump pillows became prize possessions in a new bride's dowry, and single men, eager to reap the multiple rewards offered with such bedding, flocked to marital unions.
One way or another, women have been telling each other,
"If you want to get married, don't ask questions."
Mary Kay Blakely

We believe there are only two kinds of marriage - good and bad.  But really there are three: good, bad and indifferent - and the last of the three is really the worst kind.  It is not possible to be the kind of wives our mothers were because the world is different and so, therefore, are our needs.  There isn't any single formula for marriage which all couples should find right.  Marriages should be as diverse as the people in them are and those who don't want to love, honor and obey should be able to promise each other anything they choose, without having to ask anyone what they think of that, particularly themselves.
I don't think marriages break up because of what you do to each other.  They break up because of what you must become in order to stay in them.
Carol Matthau

We work out our karma through our choices.  I believe we are always asked to choose between loving and learning.  Sometimes loving someone means walking away in order to be happy.  The truly moral and courageous choice, the good choice, is to leave if both parties are living a miserable existence.  Sometimes this is the generous way.

There is a stage with people we love when we are no longer separate from them, but so close in sympathy that we live through them as directly as through ourselves...We push back our hair because theirs is in their eyes. (my favorite)
Nan Fairbrother
Since women view themselves through the prism of their love relationships, it is crucial that we take a closer look at the reflector we hold up to our eyes every day. Can there be anything better than waking up with a smile and a snuggle next to the person you want to grow old with?  The sweet days of marriage are nothing less than Heaven on Earth.  The bad ones strip you of the fear of death.  The truth is, our marriages are only as emotionally healthy, happy, holy and content as we are.  The hardest, most heart-wrenching conversations ever had have been with myself. Mirror, mirror on the wall...

Some women wait for something to change and nothing does change so they change themselves.
Audre Lorde

It takes a long time to be really married.  One marries many times at many levels within a marriage.  If you have more marriages than you have divorces within the marriage, you're lucky and you stick it out.
Ruby Dee

One couple would use a January/July code "Look kid," he would say to his wife, "if we can make it to January, we can make it to July." The first hour after he comes home from work is their time together to sit, talk, and reconnect over a drink.  They were not to be interrupted unless it was a matter of life and death. 

Nothing in life is as good as the marriage of true minds between man and woman.  As good?  It is life itself!
Pearl Buck
Experience teaches us in a millennium what passion teaches us in an hour.
Ralph Iron

Passion is what the sun feels for the earth.  When harvests ripen into golden birth.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Passion is what Spirit feels for you.  This probably is not your first image of passion, but it is much closer to the essence of passion than any clandestine bodice-ripping cliche.  We must learn to recast passion's image to reflect our authenticity, not the world's lack of imagination.

Passion is such an intense topic, I will elaborate further another day.

It's a funny thing about life.  If you refuse to settle for anything less than the best, that's what it will give you.
W. Somerset Maugham
We do not lose ourselves all at once, but rather day by day, washing away our pain, the same way carvings on stone are worn down by water.  One day, settling down becomes resignation - settling for something else instead of pursuing something more.  We settle for a loveless marriage, a dead-end job, a diagnosis that predicts we won't get well, or someone else's opinion of our gifts, dreams and what should make us happy.  We settle for a passive, rather than a passionate, life.  Self-sacrifice is one of the more popular ways women betray themselves because it is condoned by society. What a good woman you are, offering yourself up on the altar of self-abuse.  Do we get extra points for suffering gratuitously? How about with a smile? I don't think so.  Settling for anything less than we desire or know we deserve is how we begin to betray ourselves, moment by moment, day by day.  When we disown and discount ourselves, so does the world, including the men we want to share our lives with. 
Self-esteem isn't everything.  It's just that there's nothing without it.
Gloria Steinham

Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its heights... Live in fragments no longer.
E. M. Forster

I believe settling down does not mean settling for less than your authentic self.  Settling with someone, allowing your true spirit to illuminate is key. xo

my sincere thanks to Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Something More, Excavating Your Authentic Self and Simple Abundance