Marriage: Aspects of Dating and Mating
Most Unexpected Views in Three Parts
- Aspects of Dating and Marriage 2. Growing together 3. Having the fairytale.
By: J. Marlando
Aspects of Mating
We begin at the beginning—the “falling in love” process or when the attraction becomes serious between couples and commitment is on the horizon. 50% of all marriage ends in divorce and we have no idea how many couples end up living “aptly” ever after.
Why is this? After all, when we marry we are assuming it is forever.
There is a major cause for the discontentment that arrives for countless married couples within the first three years of their togetherness. They have discovered each other’s humanism!
With this in mind, we will return to the falling-in-love process. What we love about the other person is image. The problem is that image is never a pure reflection of the other but a projection onto the other.
What exactly does this mean?
What we find so magnetic about the person we “feel so strongly about” is that he or she, in one way—or many ways—reflects our own other-gender-inner-self. Carl Jung described these other gender components as the “anima” and the “animus.” (The anima is the feminine component of the male psyche and the animus is the masculine component of the female psyche). And so, on at least an unconscious level we are saying that the other is a living manifestation of our inner-souls. This probably where the term “soul mate” originated?
And so what we see in the other is our inside selves being demonstrated in the world outside ourselves. This is why couples will so often say to each other things like, Gosh, I just feel like we have known each other forever…we’re just so much alike and so forth.
While there may be a few differences we are generally happy overlook them as differences that will be worked out after marriage. The problem is, most typically, the differences that couples have before marriage are going to become more prevalent after married.
The answer is obvious—because we men and women/husbands and wives are not the same. As I have said before, we are not only different genders but we were raised with different values by different parents and treated differently by society. Our indoctrinations have been different!
Anyway, while seriously dating we are projecting components of our own personality onto the other—those (other gender) components that we would never demonstrate ourselves. This is no doubt why people have referred to their mates as “their better halves” and/or “their other halves.” These descriptions are not merely metaphorical—they describe a state of psyche-life that is often so strong that we actually imagine we would be much the same as our mates had we been born the other gender. In any case, the more we see self in the other, the more “in love” we feel. The less we see ourselves in the other, the less “in” love we feel.
None of this is to say that people only marry their own reflections since people get married for all kinds of reasons other than actual psyche-magnetism which we have been describing here.
Note: To understand all this more thoroughly, I give a detailed explanation in another IB article, “How to Love Your Imperfect Mate and Live Happily Ever After.”
Aspects of Nesting
Once a long time ago nesting and mating were weaved together and arrived after the ritual of the marriage ceremony. Today especially mating but often times nesting too has occurred before the wedding bells ring. As a result, the idea that coitus is what consummates the marriage has gone the way of bobby pins and drive-in movies theaters. So, at least the majority of newlyweds are…well, not very new to one another. On the other hand, even living together prior to marriage does not offer the same experiences that being married does.
For one thing, before marriage we minimized the other’s faults, fears and frailties and maximized the other’s virtues. After marriage this typically reverses and we begin maximizing the others faults, fears and frailties and minimizing the other’s virtues.
One major reason that this happens is because of a complex turnaround that occurs during the “period of adjustment” between couples that have wed. Unaware that what we so loved about our mates was projections of our own personality, we simply and purely loved our mates for being…themselves. In fact, how many times has one mate said to the other, I love you for being you?
This is usually a very sincere comment when we actually experience attraction for our mates—we are romantically enamored with not only their other gender qualities but for their individuality.
After marriage there is almost certainly a transition of attitude—we don’t want our mates to be like themselves anymore, we want them to be much more like ourselves…which they can never be!
When we think that “falling in love” is actually a self-reflective act, we should not feel that this is a negative—Nature has instilled this activity in us to make mating and nesting a priority of our human nature. Obviously the underlying motive is for the survival of the species. And anyway, if we did not project our own qualities onto the other, there could be no attraction since the world that we live in is mostly what we project it to be anyway. In regard to this, and I have used this same example many times: If we deem the rose bush a thorn bush that is what it becomes…for us.
As we will be seeing in part two of this short series is that it is how we “deem” our mates and our marriages that they too become.
Most people are used to thinking that they are either victims or victors by happenstance, fate or providence. As we are soon to see, this is not the case.