Love is not an object. It really isn't. Love is a state of mind.
Since my divorce almost three years ago, I've thought deeply about the concept of marriage. At my sister's wedding last year, as beautiful as it was, I pondered our culture's obsession with ownership of our other halves. I've watched nonreligious friends and family stand in churches and 'sign their lives away', joking about their partner finally being 'mine', and spending copious amounts of dollars on 'the day' so they can cherish it 'forever'.
I don't want to be a cynic, but geez we love to overuse the term 'forever'. And don't we hang on to this concept of owning another all in the name of love.
But shouldn't we acknowledge that any intimate, committed relationship we enter into with mutual agreements is a 'marriage' without the pretty dress, hangover and high price tag?
I have recently had to let go of someone I love very dearly. During our wonderfully intense yet all so short (<2 years) relationship, we made conscious commitments to remain loyal, honest, and communicative, and in our eyes we were no less married than a 'husband' and 'wife' with a piece of paper. There was a time we couldn't ever see ourselves taking any other path than one of union together, and with me having two kids from my previous marriage we had to be sensitive that the kids would adopt a new live-in partner of mine as their step-dad. They did and we adapted and we all shared a stratosphere of love with each other.
But forever isn't human. We rise, we fall, and we re-birth. We grow, evolve, and wake up. We relate, we have affinity, and sometimes, we fall out of our inner peace when trying to adapt to others needs and dreams. The 'marriage' can still work if both parties are willing and able to invest, but sometimes we just have to let each other go.
But you know what? Letting go of someone does not mean letting go of love. Love is unconditional. And this is where we all too often miss the point. We are addicted to condition making. Legal marriages are built on condition making, "for better or worse." We are conditioned to condition those we love the most and in turn many of us are walking around feeling unfulfilled.
I listened to an interview with Glennon Doyle Melton on Liz Gilbert's podcast last week, where Glennon shared about her recent decision to leave her husband, at the particularly 'bad timing' point of her life where she's promoting her recent book launch for 'Love Warrior' which is all about marriage. Glennon wrote this about LOVE on her must-read blog:
"This next step is not a departure from the path of the Love Warrior. This next step is the fulfillment of it – for me, for my particular journey. Love Warrior is a book about self-trust. It’s a book about a woman who has painstakingly learned that there is a still, small voice guiding her through this brutiful life one next right thing at a time. And that the only thing she cannot do – not ever again – is betray that voice. Self-betrayal is allowing the fear voices to drown out the still, small voice that knows what to do and is always leading us home to ourselves and to truth and to love. Love is the boss of me, not fear, and certainly not “success.”
And by the way, success to me is not staying in a marriage — it’s staying in my own peace. At all costs. And so, even when it’s highly inconvenient – even when it feels CRAZY – I will listen to the voice, and I will obey it. And I will be messy and complicated – and I will show up anyway. Because I’ve fought too hard for my sobriety, sanity, integrity—and for your trust—to give it up now."
Well fucking said Glennon.
Whilst I wasn't the one in my relationship to be brave enough to recognize we both needed to let it go, I had for months tried to dodge my own needs that weren't being served and in turn slipped out of my own inner peace. Self-betrayal. After being abused for a decade by my ex-husband, and then falling into the arms of one of the most caring, affectionate, and conscious humans on the planet who loved and still loves me unconditionally, it was damn hard to recognize that I could love myself more than even that. And that I needed to, bring that love he gave me into self.
Fuck yeah it hurts.
And it's hard.
And perhaps that's how I know it's all so beautifully as it's meant to be.
Marriages end. People change and because of that there needs to be constant re-affinity. Sometimes that can't be achieved due to timing or circumstance or just simply because. Some couples last the tides of time or are prepared to to the real hard work but many don't and to those people I am telling you it is ok to let go. Be honest with yourself, with each other. Sure some break ups are more complicated than others especially if you're paying off a marriage debt - I fucked that up the first time - but nothing could have bigger consequences in the long run than ignoring your inner voice.
Love transforms, but it is never lost.
Love is a state of mind.
Love is all there is.