So two of the internet people I follow closely, Steve and Erin Pavlina, have recently announced their separation after 15 years of marriage. I’m not one to follow regular Hollywood celebrities, but I reacted the same way most people did about the Gosselins–stunned. It was all very amicable, they’re just growing in different directions and have decided to split to pursue their individual goals.
It was interesting to read the forums the first couple of days, especially when it came to Steve and Erin’s kids. There was a lot of debate about the impact on them, and frankly a lot of judgement. But there were a couple of interesting takes on the whole concept of marriage. One person pointed to marriage as a societal more that developed as a way to economic stability, and is supported by religious and government authorities as a way to stabilize (and control) society. I think that’s not a far off perspective, especially when you consider infidelity (I think there’s a lot of evolutionary biology mixed in with that issue) and fertility (i.e., you can’t tell when a woman is fertile, unlike, say a horse).
Another person also brought up that the whole “happily ever after” was a lot more possible when people died in their 30s. Marriage would only last about 15-20 years before one of the parties died, and perhaps now that we all live so much longer, we are seeing more of the natural end of relationships.
I think 15-20 years may be the lifespan of a marriage, and when it comes to a turning point, various things can happen–the couple may be different but find they are still growing together, and so the relationship enters another phase. Or the couple may decide that the relationship has reached it’s end and part ways. Or the couple may realize they are no longer a match and decide to stay in it, out of fear or apathy, even if it is no longer a good fit.
I guess it all depends on how you look at it. I, for one, do not believe in the idea of soul mates. Six billion people in the world and somehow you’ll manage to be in the same geographical location as your future mate? That does not make sense to me. But I can believe in a soul connection, that we are fated to meet certain people that will help us on our journey–though they may be friends, ex-lovers, or a person we will marry.
I’ve been thinking a lot about souls lately. I was Christian, agnostic, atheist, agnostic again, and now I don’t know what to call myself. But I do believe in something more and I find I believe in reincarnation, though I never thought I would. I also find that I believe the souls of children choose their parents, though of course they forget what they chose them for by the time they are incarnate.
So from that perspective, I look at Rowan and wonder what her soul wanted to learn, that it could learn from being our child. And I wonder if we’ll meet again–I kind of think we will (and we have). But then I’ll talk to my Mom–and I know this sounds horrible–and I’ll wonder if I’ll want to meet my parents again. I did learn a lot growing up in that household, but as an adult, my path feels miles away from them. I don’t feel like I have a strong connection to their souls at all.
To be frank, from their perspective the reason my very existence is hurtful is because not only will I die someday, but they will never see me again. Because I’m not going to their heaven. I understand that–I grew up with that belief though I no longer abscribe to it.
And then there is my current husband of this lifetime. I do think there is a soul connection there. Sometimes he is maddeningly my karmic mirror–showing me all the aspects of myself that I dislike. But I look back at all the years we’ve had together, and how different we have both become from each other’s influence–there were definitely lessons worth learning there. And certainly, as the father of my children, he was an excellent choice, no complaints there either. But I think it is normal–and valid–to wonder if 5, 10, 20 years from now, will we still be on compatible paths? After all, people aren’t static. Will we still have things to teach each other?