June is the traditional month for weddings. The weather is nice; not too, hot. School is over. Graduations have passed. White is in season. Daylight seems destined to last all night. The season vibrates with promise. It seems an auspicious time for making commitments about the future. Spring has dosed all of our senses with the promised rewards of love. At one time, as you may have heard, weddings were the condition precedent to obtaining the rewards of love. June it seems is the month for weddings because nature has filled it with swelling buds, shoots of tender new growth, a drenching haze of pollen, and the awakening of bees to collect it.
So you may be having a wedding this month, and if so, you have my sincere wishes for a perfect day and the spouse of your dreams. But, don't think for a minute that just because you've had the wedding ceremony, the champagne and cake, that now, lo and behold, "by the powers vested in me," etc., you are "married". Not by a long shot.
Marriage isn't an event, it's an achievement. You have to work at it. It takes years, typically many years to become truly married. The best description I've found comes out of the old, tobacco growing, south. Cigar makers blend different varieties of tobacco, each with its own traits and characteristics. Then they would then pair and roll the different varieties of leaves together and stack them on racks in a special room called a "marrying room". There the tobacco would be left to age and mellow. Over time, thanks to the skills of the blender, the undesirable traits and characteristics of each variety would be mellowed, or overshadowed by the best traits and characteristics of the others. The result was the best of what each tobacco variety was capable of offering.
People are not tobacco. We've pretty much abandoned professional "blenders" for computer matching algorithms. The marrying process requires more time and much more effort and struggle, than for tobacco. We do not give up our rough edges, our egos and competitiveness nearly so readily as tobacco leaves. Mellowing for people usually requires that the rough edges be chipped off and filed smooth. It requires going through a process; determining what is truly important to our being who we are, and what only seems important because of our vanity, ego, and stubbornness. It requires installing a control valve on our deep well of oppositional defiance - the thing that makes us want to stay standing when someone says, "Sit down." It requires recognizing, that our efforts at 'correcting' and 'removing' the flaws and short-comings of our spouse create more problems than they fix. It takes quietly giving up on ever 'fixing' anything about them, and at last truly accepting them and loving them, as they are - great, good, and bad. So marriage comes, not easily, but after all our efforts at making over our spouse have worn us down. Once the battling is exhausted, marriage still requires persistence, patience, and a great deal of acceptance and giving in.
These adjustments are not easy. They do not happen quickly. But the result - the peace, the depth of love that transcends feeble passions, the merger, the dance, the song of two souls, makes the struggle and the years seem insignificant. The result may be bold and fiery, or placid and cool, but this is what it takes to become 'married'. It will pay great dividends in the long run. This is the first generation in history that can access help and a head start before the wedding by putting some time and effort into collaboratively planning life after the wedding. There are collaborative marriage planning teams out there that can help. But, with or without professional guidance in the process, you should practice working collaboratively with your spouse-to-be. You will need a vision for where you want to get once you are wed, a plan for how to get there, and a picture of how your partnership is going to work once the honeymoon is past and "real life" takes over. Then as you walk down the aisle, you can have confidence that you're prepared for the long, and challenging journey you are embarking upon; you will have a valuable head start toward - 'marriage'. Your wedding is the embarkation point for your life's journey and marriage. Bon Voyage.