We have announced and declared that we choose for
ourselves for marriage to be the highest expression
of the grandest experience of love of which humans
are capable. That's what we've said. We
have said, "We choose for marriage to be an
expression of the grandest and highest love of which
humans are capable." Then we proceed to
construct a marriage institution and a marriage
experience which produces exactly the opposite of
that--virtually the lowest form of love of which
humans are capable. A love that possesses
rather than releases. A love that limits
rather than expands. A love that owns rather
than disowns. A love that makes virtually
everything around it smaller rather than making
everything around it larger.
We've created an experience of marriage that has
nothing to do with love in far too many
instances. We've created a holder, a shell,
some kind of encasement. And that's what we
want marriage to be. We want it to be an
encasement that holds everything exactly where it
was the moment we said, "I love you," and
that holds us all exactly where we were in that
first moment. But people and events move
around. They change. Life is an
evolution. And so marriage, as we have
constructed it, works against the very process of
life itself, because it provides very little
breathing room in the way many societies and
religions and family traditions have constructed it.
has been used by those societies, religions, and families as a
mini-prison, as kind of a contractual arrangement that
"Everything will be, now and forevermore, the
way it is in just this moment. You will love no one else,
and you certainly won't demonstrate that love for anyone else in
the way you demonstrate your love for me. You won't go
anywhere else except where I go. You'll do very little
that I do not do with you, and in most ways from this day
forward, your life is going to be, at least to some degree,
limited." And so the very thing which should unlimit
people and release the spirit within them, works against that
and limits people and closes that spirit down.
That's the irony of marriage as we've created it. We say,
"I do," and from the moment we say, "I do,"
we can't do the things that we would really love to do in
life, in largest measure. Now, very few people would admit
this in the first throes of romance and in the first moments
after their wedding. They would only come to these
conclusions three, or five, or--what's the famous phrase, the
seven-year itch--seven years later, when they suddenly
realize that, in fact, their experience of themselves in the
world at large has been reduced, and not enlarged, by the
institution of marriage.
That's not true, of course, in all marriages, naturally.
But it's true in enough of them--I'm going to say, in the
majority of them. And that is why we have such a high
divorce rate, because it isn't so much that people have gotten
tired of each other, not nearly so often as they've
gotten tired of the restrictions and the limitations
that marriage seems to have imposed upon them. The human
heart knows when it's being asked to be less.
Now love, on the other hand, is all about freedom. The
very definition of love is freedom itself. Love is that
which is free and knows no limitation, restriction, or condition
of any kind. And so I would think that what we have done
here is that we have created an artificial construction around
that which is least artificial. Love is the most authentic
experience within the framework of the human adventure.
And yet in the midst of this grand authenticity, we have created
these artificial constrictions. And that makes it very
difficult for people to stay in love.
And so what we have to do is reconstruct marriage, if we're
going to have marriage at all, in a way that says: "I
do not limit you. There is no condition that makes it okay
for us to remain together. I do not have any desire to
cause you to be less in your expression of yourself, in any
way. Indeed, what this marriage is intended to do, this
new form of marriage, is to fuel the engine of your
experience--the experience of who you really are and who you
choose to be."
And one last thing that the New Marriage does: it says,
"I recognize that even you, yourself, will change.
Your ideas will change, your tastes will change, your desires
will change. Your whole understanding of Who You Are had better
change, because if it doesn't change, you've become a very
static personality over a great many years, and nothing would
displease me more. And I recognize that the process of
evolution will produce changes in you."
This new form of marriage not only allows for such changes, but
it encourages them.