I realize that this is probably not going to be my most popular post, but it's what I feel needs to be said, so here you go.
I'm not a big fan of marriage.
I think marriage takes really talented dreamers and creative beings that are capable of creating real change and puts them inside this widely accepted institution of marriage, where they will then spend most of their time, emotions, magic, and valuable energy trying to be "good" citizens and live up to the impossible "perfect marriage/perfect family" illusion that has been so successfully placed in our heads. Marriage also has the potential to produce a lethal feeling that we now have ownership of another soul because they said "I do," gave us a ring and signed a contract saying they would not leave us (do you ever stop to look at how crazy it all is?).
One of the greatest deceptions we can fall victim to is the lie that we should need someone else in our life in order to be complete. We are set up waiting for Mr. or Mrs. right to come along so that we can begin our life and be truly happy.
I've been with the same man for 15 years and we still really, really like each other. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that we each stand alone, beautiful, creating light, both working toward helping each other reach our individual goals. We are so incredibly different, but neither of us is fighting to change the other. We have grown to respect and appreciate each other as we are. We don't need one another. We enjoy each other, but we don't need each other... there's a big difference. The most unromantic line in the world is "you complete me" -- it literally makes me want to scream when I hear it at weddings. I want to complete myself.
Spin solo until you are in perfect harmony with source and are able to create magic alone. Then you can, if you choose, attract someone who can spin along side you. The result is two beautiful souls who are spinning separately, but in perfect harmony... that's where magic happens!
What about children?
I don't believe we were all meant to have children and the pressure created by our culture to have a family is RIDICULOUS! That being said, once the decision to have children is made or made for you, then yes, it's beneficial for their sake to find a mate willing to help you give them the best life possible. That doesn't mean you both live in the same house, but you are committed to working together peacefully to make sure the children are given the support they need to grow into healthy, confident and emotionally stable members of society.
If you do get married, because that's what you want... WONDERFUL! Just make sure to keep your expectations realistic and be open and honest about how you're feeling. It's unhealthy for anyone to be in a long term relationship where they feel trapped and miserable. It's also why we have so much trauma related to relationships in our life that didn't last... mother/father, first love, etc. because we had this fairy tale image of what love looks like and when it turned out different we were crushed.
Don't marry your soul mate
Billy is a good friend (the best, really). He's the man that thinks I'm wonderful, amazing and incredibly gorgeous. He's all in and ready to help and support me and this unit in anyway he can. He's the most incredible father and teammate. We are perfect for each other in so many ways. We bring out the best in each other almost always. We don't need or cling to each other and are able to stand alone even though we'd prefer to stand together. This relationship is easy and gets shit done. Billy is sweet, patient... downright wonderful and I love him, but he's not my soul mate in some kind of mystical, ancient bond, finish your sentences kind of way. We are together in a perfectly unique union that has a purpose completely unique to itself.
What is a soul mate? Is there such a thing? Each of us will answer these questions differently depending on your belief system. I personally believe soul mates are people we've been connected to since the beginning of time. People that weave in and out of this massive interconnected web that is a collection of our many lives. Souls matched perfectly with ours to help us grow. Our soul mate or mates aren't always meant to be our lovers. I think this is really important for all of us to understand. As a culture we seem to struggle with understanding deep relationships that aren't sexual or unions that aren't romantic, but have a greater purpose. Any deep connection sensed between two people is meant to become romantic, right? No. There are all kinds of connections in this wild life. I believe soul mates exist and they will show up in each life when you need them. They come to push you, challenge you, mirror your shit, wake you up and push you forward. Honestly, you're probably better off not marrying that person, because then you'll get caught up in creating the ideal marriage (WHATEVER THE HELL THAT EVEN IS) and forget why your souls were put together from the beginning. You'll all too easily forget that your job is to help each other evolve as quickly as possible not torture each other into this bizarre role we've created that a husband and wife ought to play. Because who knows what that looks like for each of us. Lord knows we've all experienced interesting versions of those characters.
It's this idea that one person is supposed to meet all of our needs that sets us up for heartache and disappointment. Instead, why don't we look first at what it is we would like our relationship with another human to create or accomplish. Then believe that the universe will send us a perfect match for that goal. If you just want to have great sex and travel around the world then you will call forth a completely different soul than if you want to raise a family. If you aren't sure, just trust me on this one. Knowing exactly what we want is the first step to being able to create the most magical union ever.
Listen, I'm not an expert, and I certainly haven't figured it all out. I do know one thing for certain though, and that is the reality that what we are doing is working. How many happy couples do you know? Okay. How many do you know that have been together longer than a few years and have kids? Not just comfortable, but truly happy. It makes you wonder if we have it all wrong. We are all searching for that crazy, wild, intense love of our life to match up with and stay with that person at all costs till death do us part. Maybe, just maybe, we should be looking for something completely and totally different.
Let's rewrite the norm.
Let's hack parenting, love, partnerships, friendships, connections, soul mate unions, LIFE, and marriage as we know it and create what works, what feels right to our soul without being afraid of upsetting the norm.
Because in case no one has told you, normal is WAY overrated.
Brooke Hampton is author of Enchanted Cedar: The Journey Home and co-founder and owner of Enchanted Cedar, a local Chaga house and Bookstore in Lorena, Texas. She writes at barefootfive.com, where this post first appeared.
Main photo by Lacey Miller Photography.