Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Marriage - what's new?

It's no secret, I've been married before - 3 times. It's also no secret that, last Saturday I got married for a fourth time. I don't look on the first 3 marriages as total failures but, to the extent that they were failures, I'm bound to ask myself why someone with my matrimonial track record finds himself embarking on a fourth marriage, with all those solemn undertakings, some of which I have previously failed to live by.

Previously, I thought I meant those undertakings, particularly in the case of my last marriage. Given that even I wouldn't be stupid enough to knowingly drag someone else or myself through the same gradual realisation that the necessary commitment was absent, What's New"? Last Saturday was the culmination of 2 years, during which Ann and I have wrestled with our differences and the pain we would visit upon others. During that time, love has emerged for me as much less of a balance sheet, concerned with how many planks of the dream platform might be present. Mysteriously, getting in touch with Ann via her blog (see blog roll) marked a rekindling of my interest in religion, and the extent to which my feelings about the reality of a spiritual dimension might amount to something I could call faith. At the same time, and prompted by Ann's lucidly written struggles with her own persistent faith, I've joined my local Quaker meeting, which suits me very well.

And so to what's new. Since we're both currently in the American Mid-West, last Saturday evening, I was prompted to fancifully observe that we had "Hitched our wagon to the power of transformative action". And that's the point this time. "Love In Action" is a big thing for the Quakers, and it seems to me like a major reason for believing in anything. To me, there's no point in professing something if it makes no difference to our aspirations and our lives. So, as I contemplate this fourth marriage to a woman who has already made great changes in my life, neither of us stands alone. If we try to be the best we can be, we believe that help and support is available. I hope and pray I now have a better understanding of what commitment means, and I, perhaps pointlessly, regret the suffering caused by my earlier failure to grasp it. Last Saturday, I made that commitment, not only to Ann and our family and friends, present and absent, but the Divine, "The Light", call it what you will, is now involved. This I believe, and that's "What's New".