I have been married twice. My second marriage was to the same woman except she had a different face. I made the same mistake as the first time because I had not recognized and dealt with what hurt me most as a child. By not doing so, I ended up in exactly the same situation as before. I will not get married again until I am clear I have faced and dealt with my wounds and my partner has done likewise. I am grateful because I have finally learnt that what I do is what I do. Without clearing my shite, I will do it once again. The following blog on a recently witnessed wedding brings the points about getting married while living with deep childhood wounds. We have all been wounded in childhood. No one escapes this life process.
On a recent trip to Thailand, my partner Anne and I witnessed a wedding that took our breath away for all the wrong reasons for us. We were shocked to say the least about what transpired at the ceremony. I wish to explore this particular couple and what they generally represent for couples getting married.
We were lying on our beach chairs enjoying the sun and the peace of our location. It was clear to us that a wedding would take place on the beach right in front of us because the chairs and gazebo were all set up for the occasion. During the later part of the afternoon, the wedding guests took their places. The groom and his best man appeared on the scene. They were rather sloppily dressed (though maybe I just don’t know the current fashions). The two of them looked scattered and restless, and as far away from being present and in the moment as they could be. Both men appeared to have had a rough day given their posture, distraction, separation from each other, unfocused fidgeting, unkempt appearance, etc.
When the music started the bride appeared looking absolutely stunning. Her whole energy was focused on him. It was clear she was keen on her groom and this wedding. However, as she walked towards her future husband, he kept his head down only to peek occasionally at his wife to be. The best man appeared totally distracted too, as though he wished he was elsewhere and not part of this ceremony. The groom had his hands stuffed sheepishly in his pockets and was chewing gum in such a way that his mouth moved continuously, just like a cow chewing grass in a field.
Then came the vows. The bride said with much hope in her voice: “It doesn’t matter what you do, or what you have, you’re my life, my everything.” Still avoiding eye contact by keeping his head down, the groom kept his own vows very short: “You’re my best friend and soul mate”.
Their behavior shortly after betrayed the insincerity of their vows and the weak bond between them. After being pronounced man and wife, the couple moved down the aisle to greet the guests and receive their congratulations. The bride took charge right away, grabbed her husband’s hand, and walked straight to the greeting area. The groom’s mother was first to arrive. After quick hugs with the couple, the mother of the groom stood at the side of her son and held his hand. The groom immediately let go of his wife’s hand and physically turned his back on her. His mother clutched her son’s arm to move him closer to her. The bride continued to greet guests in her corner, unaware of the weight of their physical, and most likely emotional, separation. My partner Anne and I sat watching, wondering if they realized in any shape or form that they both signed up for a lifetime of misery.
Why did they both sign up for a lifelong commitment to a weak connection? Though I can’t know their histories, a typical scenario appeared to be unfolding before us. Here is my take on the situation:
She’s a nice girl who just wants to please. She feels she’s hit the jackpot, the good looking guy every girl dreams of. She’s a rescuer, a caretaker, an over-achiever. ”Doesn’t matter what you have – I’ll take care of you”. She can only live through others because she thinks she is not worthy by herself. She’s very committed to her partner, but without being tuned in to his emotional position, thinking that the commitment of a wedding ceremony is sufficient to build a life long relationship. She will keep being taken for granted and she will work even harder believing there is something so terribly wrong with her that she cannot, for the life of her, make her husband happy.
He’s a jock who does not know what the word commitment means. He’s a mommy’s boy and his mother will dominate the relationship between the bride and groom (this will lead to great fights for the couple). He needs to be rescued because he is an underachiever and questions his worth. He will take her for granted. He believes looks are everything. He will have casual sex outside the marriage because he does not love himself and cannot have compassion for her.
It is my belief this is a marriage made in hell. They most likely have the same childhood wounds. She is daddy’s little princess. He is mommy’s little boy. Both fill the void in their parent’s life. The difference is how they cope with this task. She is a caring, responsible, loyal, overachieving rescuer who needs to break away from her father. He is a careless, irresponsible, aloof, underachieving victim who needs to break away from his mother. They will both believe they are getting their needs met by filling the void in each other’s life. They both will believe they are getting that break by being in a different environment. The truth is their parents will likely continue to demand the same kind of attention they have always received from their children. Why would things be different? Because the kid got married? Both partners will crumble under the pressure and start blaming each other for their lack of presence in the relationship. More than ever, they will feel unloved, invalidated and unappreciated. Both will sink deeper into their wounds. Since they have never faced their truth, their pain will be a lifetime of suffering. When the pain gets to be so much that sheer survival feels it is at stake, divorce will be forced on the table.
This kind of emotional scenario plays out millions of times a day as couples get married around the world. Each partner is highly likely to share the same childhood wounds as the other, yet they will both use opposite coping mechanisms. The couple will expect ‘their better half’ to solve their pain. The opposite coping mechanisms will likely become a major irritant in the resolution of any conflict simply because each person feels their survival depends on their coping mechanisms. Neither party has any idea about their own pain, fears, conditioning, false bonds, false identities, etc. Both believe they are whole and are right about everything they see fit in life. Very few people are emotionally prepared for a great marriage. To survive the marriage bond, both partners either become co-dependent or capitulate by walking away just like I did twice already in my life.
Great marriages are far and few between because the people getting married are often not yet whole themselves. They have not faced and dealt with their own truth. Two wrongs just don’t make a right. I personally do not want a marriage of convenience. I do not want a marriage of in-convenience either. I want a marriage: two whole persons coming together because they want to, not because they have to in order to feel whole. This dream of relationship is a truly important dream for my life.
I am grateful for having witnessed the wedding. It has given me clarity about my commitment to a conscious relationship with a woman. It is all or nothing for me now. A great relationship or nothing. I am more inspired to live in such a relationship than ever before.
I thank my partner Anne Beaulieu for co-writing this with me. Writing this blog together is an experience in developing our relationship. I have learned much through this process of writing together about myself, about Anne and about our relationship. It feels magnificent. Thank you Anne for supporting me in my dreams. I love and adore you.