All important relationships offer us a crucible, a container for the fiery work of soulful transformation. However, a life partner invites us into a truly unique and multifaceted alliance.
Here, romantic fervor foreshadows a sound devotion that deepens and matures with time. Dreams for a common future are woven through the routine events of daily life and unfold within the context of a shared history. A primal, physical intimacy coexists with a closeness nurtured by shared joys and sorrows. And this bond of a lifetime grows amid the knowledge, at times felt quite viscerally, that one or the other will leave, through death if by no other means.
When one embarks on a relationship such as this, one enters unknown territory. As Jungian analyst and author Thomas Moore describes, “The heart is a mystery—not a puzzle that can't be solved, but a mystery in the religious sense: unfathomable, beyond manipulation, showing traces of the finger of God at work.” When we travel in such realms, we're in for quite a ride, indeed!
To be sure, delights are scattered along the way, and we are wise to embrace each one of them fully. But this path is not for the faint of heart. Through daily contact in all kinds of emotional weather, our baser qualities awaken as well, rising to the surface to greet us and our partner.
As Moore puts it, “Relationships have a way of rubbing our noses in the slime of life—an experience we would rather forego, but one that offers an important exposure to our own depth." And this is as it should be, for only by dancing with our demons can we move forward into the process of transformation.
My husband and I are both strong-willed individuals who came into each others' lives with a full array of the usual baggage. Things, therefore, have not always been easy or smooth. Yet we nurtured an evolving commitment to do what our love required, each and every step of the way. Greater depth, healing, and an enlarged capacity to cherish ourselves, each other, and life itself have been the result.
Now we arrive at the 35th anniversary of those first steps on this path of love. And when I turn into the driveway after a long day of work, see the light on in the kitchen, and know he is there, my heart sings still.
This man is indescribably dear to me. He knows my strengths and my secrets. He loves me as I truly am, not in spite of my flaws, but because he has seen me vulnerable and transformed through them. And I try to love him with the same steady devotion he has taught by example.
Thomas Moore again: “A soulmate is someone to whom we feel profoundly connected, as though the communicating and communing that take place between us were not the product of intentional efforts, but rather a divine grace.”
Yes, my husband and I have worked hard at this loving, but there does seem to be something of divine grace involved as well. For this--precious jewel--I am very, very grateful.
Happy anniversary, my sweet, sweet man!
And may blessings flow to each one of you through the heat engendered within the crucibles of your own life.