Everyone who’s been married for even a short while will learn things they didn’t know going into it. Here’s three of those things.
"The point is that marriage has a higher goal than to make two people happy or even whole. Yes, the investment we make into our marriage pays dividends for us. But, concluded by Medina and his colleagues, the same investment also has significant implications for our family, our community and eventually our culture."
Years ago, 2003 to be more precise, as I was studying photography and jewelry/ metal work in Cortona, Italy, I had an amazing summer of introspection, and connection, love, disconnect, melancholy, excitement, passion, and full life with all its complexities. Here I began to accept both sides of the spectrum of my gendered being among other dualities. The feminine that loved to nurture and be cherished and the masculine that wanted to pursue a challenging love interest, create with tools, speak out, protect, and be respected.
In this process, I made a ring from steel and silver. The image hammered and shaped from steel was of the symbol for plants seen on the glass cased pottery of the ancient etruscans which I had sketched into my journal as other museum goers brushed past me. The root was a triangle and the head a circle with a hole and rod with ball on the end, it was like the delta of venus and a phallic symbol as well as the root and fruit with stamen. [Generalized images take on more layers of meaning and are easier to project upon/ more archetypal.] When put into ring form it reminded me of the ouroboros or copulation (the marriage of the gendered bodies/ union of spirit/ co-mingling of energies). Later, as I discovered and studied eastern religions and healing practices- partially as an accident because, the first name for a website I chose to represent my artwork was auraimaging.com, and when I went to google myself and see where the site stood in the rankings, I found information about machines that could read chakras and colors and energy people omit that indicates emotions. This opened this once Southern Baptist turned non-denominational church girl/ closet horoscope reader onto a whole system of other meanings and metaphysical relationships. The phallus/ stamen for me became associated with the crown and head circling around to meet the root. Surrounding this strong hard metal I placed wax, molded and melted by hot steel tools then cast and replaced by delicate silver, polished, rounded to nestle into the curves of my “ring” finger (that finger Romans thought there was a line connecting all the way to the heart).
Oh metaphor and meaning, how I adore you! Layers, informed by different cultures/different systems of knowledge.
And that summer, the ring became my symbol of a marriage to myself, a commitment to being true to me (in all its shifts and changes and expressions). To honoring my masculine and feminine nature, instinct and intelligence, giving and receiving. To allowing myself to sing, to explore, to create, to destroy, to dance, and laugh, and cry, and pull my hair out, and long for a love, and break off a love affair that had been abusive and imbalanced. To flirt, take photos, spend hours in the dark room, sit under trees, write poetry, eat expensive meals, cook community dinners, to take time and space, to accept gifts, and cuddle with friends, celebrate solstice and kiss random Irish acquaintances in piatzas, eat nutella and bread late at night, wear costumes and read, and journal. To be nude and unashamed, and unapologetic (yet respectful ;). To gain independence from the past, and family, and obligations, and projections/ expectation about who I was/ needed to be. To do or be what I felt, what I chose in the moment!
Today I honored that commitment and bought my “wife” strawberries and chocolate after going to lunch and letting her have exactly what she wanted on her sandwich, without caring how much it costs, and taking two samples of the peanut butter chocolate fudge without guilt, and sea salt and vinegar chips washed down by pulpy peach juice. I bought her adorably packaged truffle sea salt, and she stood by with pride as I spoke to the proprietor about business. She congratulated me on my discipline and savvy with finances that built an amazing credit score as we met with an affiliate of WEV (the Women’s Economic Ventures Program we are taking to gain knowledge and skills for furthering our business) Then she opened up and connected on a personal level with the business contact. All parties walked away feeling satisfied. The extroverted side of me did drag the introvert out to say hi to colleagues from Lucidity who were building structures for Sol Food Fest in Santa Barbara. And my “inner extrovert” had to concede to spending time alone, walking in nature and taking photographs, then reading, crying, and then some time emotional process, talking to mom, and friends.
Once this marriage is back on track we are thinking about inviting a lover (potentially a long-term partner, but let’s start slow and build, giving it a good foundation of friendship) into our world to share in the pleasure and pain, fun and work, anger and laughter, dark and light. This lover must must honor and respect the masculine while adoring and holding the feminine so the inner child can stop rebelling and play! On what level do you wish to engage?