Falling In and Out of Love

In the words of the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke it appears that ‘for one human being to love another is the most difficult of all tasks’, and this is true for parents and children, friend and friend, lover and lover and husband and wife. For the purposes of Valentine’s Day I am going to focus on adult relationships. In the USA, 60 per cent of marriages breakdown and, poignantly and significantly, 80 per cent of second marriages end unhappily. Those statistics do not take into account the high percentage of intact unhappy marriages. It is a real conundrum that if, on the one hand, love is the greatest power on earth – the force that sustains human life – how, on the other hand, is it that many relationships are a near-certain prescription for unbelievable pain and emotional devastation?

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Conscious Marriage

When a marriage relationship begins to become a conscious interplay within each person and between the couple what emerges is openness, an inhabiting of one’s own and an appreciation of the other’s individuality, an emotional safety for each to examine their own defensive reactions, a communication that is authentic, direct and clear and, most of all, an unconditional loving of the sacred presence of self and of each other. What I am saying for marriage relationships holds true for all relationships. Furthermore, the place of marriage as being central to the stability of the family and society needs to be urgently reinstated, but in a new way.

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Reasons to be Married

Two people deciding to create a life together today face some new challenges that their parents did not encounter. Nowadays, with the fall in religious practice, a vacuum in social values and economies no longer dependent on ‘family’ trade, couples have little help or guidance in addressing what comes up between them or how to work with the inevitable conflicts that arise. Indeed, the traditional reasons for marriage – religious dogma, social pressure (don’t be left on the shelf!), having children and maintaining a family business are largely gone. A high percentage of women are now choosing not to marry and have children and there are many couples who, though they decide to marry, do not see it lasting beyond seven to ten years. 

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