I really enjoyed Malcolm’s post, “Marriage is made of lies” That may sound a bit strange, but his post is speaking in a darkly jaded, literary language. It is the basic premise behind it that I appreciated.
First off, “lies” is a harsh word, it implies intent to deceive, a falsehood. What is being spoken of is more in the realm of illusion, fantasy, imagination. These things are no more “lies” than my own perception of reality is a lie.
To think in a linear manner, where the context must be literal, where we proudly declare ourselves part of the reality based community makes me think of the Coneheads on the old Saturday Night Live. Shave marriage down to the nitty gritty and we’ve simply got two carbon based units, random and meaningless bits of biological goo that have indavertently aligned themselves for the purpose of reproduction.
Some actually believe that, some actually pride themselves on having removed all illusion and deception from their lives, while they now proceed to go forth in life, bravely and “truthfully.”
I laugh. God may well laugh, too. Those Coneheads on Saturday Night Live are no more real than romantic dreams of King Arthur and the Knights of the round table. What is truth? What is perception? Is human perception “truth?” Well, yes and no. Our perceptions, what we choose to focus on, have a way of becoming our little truth.
We say of faith, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is a tangible thing, a thing of substance and evidence that we will make manifest in our own lives. There’s a saying I like, “believe, perceive, receive.” That is far more complex than the simple power of positive thinking, but it speaks to the influence of our own minds, to the significance of our imagination. Nearly everything “real” in our lives once began as a dream. In the context of marriage and romance, even ourselves may have began as a dream. Sight unseen, a couple of people got together and brought us into existence.
What is romance, but an illusion? It is two people who have captured one another’s imagination, and are now engaged in a metaphorical dance. Y’all have probably caught onto the fact that I am not actually married to Batman, but one cultivates romance, one allows their imagination to be captured, one brings forth the same feelings as if one really were married to Batman. You can perceive your spouse as a superhero or as the greatest evil to walk the earth, and to some extent that is what you will get.
When women perceive their husbands as a child in need of constant supervision it kind of kills desire. We are not attracted to our children. Conversely, when men perceive their wives as their mothers, nagging, critical, it tends to kill desire. In truth, in linear thinking, he is not a child and she is not your mother, but what is true here does not really matter, it is all about what is perceived and felt to be true. Thoughts create perception, perception creates feelings, and feelings create desire.
Men can be such literalists, and I mean this with all due respect, that serves a valuable purpose in the world, but sometimes they can zero in on the black and white, the cut and dry, like predators and prey, stalking their target. Then they will dismiss the realm of feelings, imagination, what some would call illusion, as if those things are just crazy, not having as much value as their own alleged, “rational, reason based perception of truth.”
Some men manage to reconcile this issue, there are great romantics and poets in the world, “illusionists” if you prefer, that recognize and cultivate the magic and romance of love. There’s an old charmer right now who I bring groceries to who calls me a beautiful angel. Is he lying? No, not at all, his intent is not to deceive, it is to cultivate some truth, beauty, and romance in the world.
This can be quite a challenge for some people. Women with our sparkly eyelashes are sometimes perceived as being full of deception, as if the illusion we create with make up is designed to deceive in a negative way, as if we are now responsible for the fact that some men are not aware that women do not come naturally with glitter on our eyeballs! Conversely, a sweet talking man full of charm and romance, can be perceived as a cad who is selling something, wanting something. We must be careful not to buy into our own cynicism, to not fear so much, to not to perceive the whole world with jaded eyes and wall ourselves off from what is beautiful there.
In the comments Malcolm says, “I’m so glad we agree on this one although I’m not sure how you reconcile the holy state of matrimony with your statement above, that marriage depends on keeping a fantasy going.”
Well, because I believe people are comprised of 3 parts, mind, body, and spirit, possessing higher selves, made in the image of our Creator. God gave us imagination, fantasy, for a reason, and how wonderfully and fearfully we are made with those two halves of our brains, the right and the left, so distinct and separate they are almost like two organs with nothing but a tiny wifi signal running between them. What is Holy, exists above and beyond our ability to fully perceive Him, and exists both within us and outside of us.
In case I have not been perfectly clear here, I am not actually an angel anymore than I am the most beautiful woman in the world, as my husband sometimes says, but hey, who cares? I will be an angel and you can be my Batman, and we will wrap ourselves in romantic idealism and cultivate the fantasy. Works for me. Even women who exist in the irrational, the emotional, can be quite pragmatic and full of common sense.