Pre-marital couples often ask me, ‘what is the best advice you can offer us before we get married? Interestingly, couples who have been married for many years ask a similar question, ‘what is the best advice you can give to help us restore love to our marriage?’
Regardless of the age or stage of the relationship, my answer is always, ‘Learn to say ‘I do’, everyday, with your body, soul and spirit’.
Saying ‘I do’, will mean different things to different people. I find that these simple words invoke dream-like ideals, thoughts, images or sensations that our mind has defined as marriage. More often than not, we say ‘I do’ to a dream of love; or a dream of feeling committed to another person, of growing old together, ’til death do we part;’ Often it is the dream of Hollywood-style sex, when the chemistry is always perfect, where our physical senses arouse an unyielding fire that is only be consumed by passionate love-making, that is satisfying and fulfilling. Or it could be the dream of sharing each others thoughts without a spoken word.
Sadly, it doesn’t take long for most couples to realize that their dreams have horribly mislead them. At some point, couples find themselves waking to the harsh reality that they have not married a dream, but a real person with faults, who is unable to read minds and often misinterprets thoughts and intentions. A real person whose touch stirs up more irritations than goose bumps. The thought of spending the rest of life with this insensitive individual seems more like a prison sentence than utopia!
This is when saying ‘I do’ really matters!
Saying ‘I do’, is not something we do once at an altar, with friends and family watching. Saying ‘I do’ is not signing up for lifelong security, or sex, or linking arms with my best friend. Saying ‘I do’, is a moment by moment, day by day, year after year experience of choosing to connect with the person you have married, body, soul and spirit (for better or worse amidst the good, the bad and the ugly!) It’s learning how to engage unconditional, caring and romantic love at the right time and place. Saying ‘I do’ is choosing mature love regardless of the circumstances. When we say ‘I do, body, soul and spirit, we take the limits off love. When we take the limits off love, the real dreams of love will begin.
And that’s the best advice I can give to any marriage!
The ‘Say I Do, Body, Soul, Spirit’ course comes with four, 30 minute audio teachings and a workbook filled with thoughtful exercises to deepen your understanding of loving your partner. It can be purchased at www.elaineolson.org, click on the Resources tab.