Seven Blessing Wisdoms About Marriage
During the wedding of Kasi and Edan (our son), Sara and I offered our seven blessing wisdoms about marriage. Many of Edan’s and Kasi’s friends, who attended the ceremony to form the community of support, and the Circle of Encouragement that Kasi and Edan created for their ceremony, have asked us that we share with them the seven blessing wisdoms.
Dear Kasi and Edan,
Sara and I are excited that you have found each other and are building a family together.
Kasi, we are thrilled that you have come into our lives. You are kind, beautiful, talented, curious, and resourceful - a true joy to our family.
It is our responsibility as elders to pass on to both of you our blessings in the form of our experience-based wisdom. Every new beginning needs all the blessings and help it can receive if it is to thrive. Let us share with you seven blessing wisdoms.
- Learning – Marriage and relationships are learning journeys. You learn about yourself. You learn about the other person. And you learn about the new relationships you establish – as a married couple and with others. Learning works well when you are open, when you are curious and seek to understand, and especially when you apply your learning. Similarly, relationships work well when you are open, when you seek to understand, and when you diligently practice what you learn about yourself, about the other person as an individual, and about the union you are building in your relationship.
- Love – Love is an incomplete word. For example, we use it when talking about falling in love and falling out of love. But love is not falling. Rather, love is accepting and arising. Love is embracing. It is dedicating and renewing. Love means doing what needs to be done, even when you don’t feel like doing it. Love embodies all these qualities and more. It is multilayered, deepening and growing as love evolves over time. It is foolish to compare love at age 40, or 50, or 60 with the love of ages 27 or 30. People mature and grow. First you love another person because of how they make you feel. Then you discover you love that individual for who they are. Then, you love your partner for reminding you of who you are. Then you love what you’ve built and created together. These streams of love flow into each other, deepening and expanding through experience.
- Patience – Everything true and good takes time, nurturing care, and investment in good will, and generosity - all qualities that require patience. Two people are attracted to each other, because they are different. They have different ways of seeing and experiencing the world, and are therefore fascinated with each other. Their unique tastes complement each other, and their distinct styles and speeds offer a balancing to each other. Yet the biggest mistake couples make is thinking that a marriage license entitles them to embark on the project of changing their partners to be more like them! You can avoid this mistake by appreciating and celebrating the uniqueness of each other. Practice acceptance and patience. Be nurturing and fortify each other. Never quit on yourselves, and never bail out on each other. Be like the waves in the ocean. There is always another wave coming to shore, again and again. Always make another effort, find another way to encourage your partner, and embrace a deeper resolve.
- Forgiveness – To flourish and endure, relationships require forgiveness. Without it, the relationship becomes harsh and brittle. To forgive another person, you first must learn to forgive yourself. Forgiving the other person means choosing to release feelings and experiences you do not wish to carry into your relationship. Forgiving yourself means choosing to act as your better self. This choice requires work, because a true act of self-forgiveness is the commitment to hold yourself to a higher standard. Working diligently on self-forgiveness allows you to forgive others.
- Kindness – Good heartedness, generosity of spirit, and kindness together create the fountain of love and warmth. Symmetrical calculation, on the other hand, leads to a loveless desert where pettiness rules. Yet few aspects of life or relationships are symmetrical. Be generous and kind to each other. The receiving is in the giving. Give each other the gifts of space and encouragement for self-discovery and growth. Ours is a confused and confusing world. It trains people to be nice to everyone at work and in the world. But the most important person to shower with kindness and generosity is the person you live with. Do the best you can every day. Some days, when you don’t feel strong, your best may be only 3 or 4 out of 10; other days your best is 8, or 9, or even 10 out of 10. Remember that your partner is doing his/her best as well. Be generous in support of that effort.
- Joy – Fill your life with small and large moments of happiness and joy. Humor is the great lubricant for any relationship. It makes you richer, provides perspective, and frees you to look at situations anew. Laughter is the greatest healer and immune booster in the world. Enjoy and celebrate the joys of living, learning, and growing together.
- Support – You each were on a journey before you met. This journey began when your spirits chose to enter the theater of life in the flesh. Instead of thinking of yourselves as human beings seeking a spiritual experience, recognize that you are spiritual beings seeking a human experience. It is a courageous journey of service and learning. The deepest meaning of marriage is that two spirits agree to support each other in their human experiences. Remember that both spirits’ journeys continue inside of, and with the help of, the relationship. Respect each other and your individual journeys.
How do you support each other? The most important word in a relationship is YES. When two people actively seek many occasions to say yes to each other, over time they build a large reservoir of “yeses” that can withstand any challenge, and that encourages them both to succeed in the tests of life. To foster warm and happy relationships, always find the small yeses: they are to relationships as oxygen is to life.
Celebrate life with these seven qualities: learning, patience, forgiveness, love, generosity, joy and mutual support.
We love you, and wish you all the blessings in world.
Sara and Aviv
© Aviv Shahar