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A Marriage with Soul

By Andrea Lee Avari

No one ever said that it would be easy, except the glossy, beautiful pictures in the magazines with sparkling, happy faces running down the aisle. Even as a young girl, as I was entranced with these images of married bliss, I noticed a certain jaundiced eye of mine glazing over at the idea. Sparkling bottles of coca-cola won't bring me exciting adventures and good-looking friends as the magazine advertisements suggest. I knew that. But could a ceremony filled with colorful flowers and a white dress bring ecstasy to my heart and mind?

The partnership equation consists of two people. They can be of any gender, it matters not. The equation increases in complexity with the addition of the history and psychological makeup of the ancestral families and traditions. Multiply that sum by the health of the model of the each partner's parental relationships.

Hit that multiplication button again and again for any unconscious belief systems that reflect possible abandonment, not being good enough, feeling controlled and engulfed, possible boredom from lack of growth, any and all fears of connection and surrender. Be sure to include any behaviors that include distancing techniques or tactics of engulfment that demonstrate the dynamic of the distancer and the pursuer. Then you multiply the equation by the number of unhealed wounds of both parties.

Use the exponential function key if there are addictions, patriarchy, and codependency issues sitting as a third party to the relationship. Now divide by the individual levels of self-awareness and insight into one's process. Divide again by the awareness of and skillful use of communication skills which emphasize listening, patience, and self responsibility. Repeat the division process by using any chosen factor from 1-10 for the highest level of motivation of each partner to figure out what the heck is going on at times.

Hit the = button and stand back. What does this answer mean? You have no idea. Excellent, you are on the path. Now take that numerical answer and factor in the concept of a soul, uniquely differentiated for each personality of the marriage. Hit the = button again and the word ...MYSTERY... appears. What does the process of mystery have to do marriage? We all want a definitive answer for our relationships, do we not?

Acknowledging the presence of the soul of each partner in the relationship definitely changes the perspective of a relationship. What is the soul? Perhaps we can consider it to be that essence of all that we know in our hearts to be good and true. And that essence wants us to grow. The soul wants us to grow in ways we do not even understand. And we marry to explore some of the deepest lessons of our lives.

The soul is not interested in an ideal and perfect marriage. Society sets the tone for what is acceptable in relationship. The soul has its own goals for evolution. The shadows of confusion, doubt, anxiety are among the places that the soul wants us to explore. It doesn't want to know if we are a "picture perfect" piece of a societal cutout; it wants us to grow in the dark places where we normally choose not to tread. And given our "druthers" most of us would really rather not tiptoe into those dark corners of ourselves. Increasing our self-knowledge usually meets with resistance. Even those of us who seem to delight in self-discovery can be deluded into accepting surface reasons for our intentions.

We have been taught that in order to be "successful" in marriage there should be no rumples or wrinkles. But a soulful marriage is not interested in the polarities of good and bad, smooth as silk or confusing as buttermilk. The soul is not interested in labeling and categorizing. If we stay out of trying to fix the problem, finding the solution, quickly making it better, perhaps we can observe what the soul might be asking of us.

By moving our point of perception into the larger picture of a marriage with soul, we are allowing the soul to show us the way. It is as Heraclitus said, "the soul is its own source of unfolding." The soul, that highest vibration of our humanness, wants what is best for our highest good. Our challenge is to observe the soul's unfolding.

When we are able to hold that state of unattached seeing, we are more likely to peer deeply into what is the soul is asking us to explore when we feel doubt, anxiety, confusion, a sense of separateness in our partnership. Our human tendency may be to berate ourselves with a... why can't I get this right; what is wrong with me? And, more importantly, what is wrong with that other person?

Zooming out of our egoic-self perhaps we are better able to witness where the soul is taking us and trust in that wisdom. Perhaps with that acceptance we can better see where our inner work really lies instead of focusing on the other person's issues. Perhaps that other person is our guidepost in helping us to deepen our practice of self-love and self-responsibility.

Releasing the need for perfection of ourselves and our partner, learning that our soul is teaching us important lessons about a deeper knowledge of our inner life and standing back in observation rather than running for a quick fix to an assumed problem, we are beginning to learn to live in tandem with our soul in relationship. As we deepen our practice a natural appreciation for our partner's soul becomes evident. This state of consciousness invites the divine to dance with us in our marriage.

Copyright © 2008 Andrea Avari, Ph.D.
Andrea is the author of "A Hit of Heaven: a soul's journey through illusion."
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