I’ve written a lot about divorce on this blog, and of course the things I’ve learned about what it entails. Yet, I haven’t written much about what it has taught me concerning marriage. Seems a funny thing to say that divorce is meant, or can, inform how you interpret such a supreme type of unity.
It has taught me that marriage isn’t the act that binds a couple–it’s merely a legal appropriation. Yes, it makes things easier logistically and some would argue it provides a cord that links a familial unit. Although, I’ve never understood why people rush out to get married upon discovering a pregnancy (in fear that they would have an illegitimate child). I think there is more illegitimacy in a child experiencing a broken or forced love between his/her parents. Which leads me to the next thing I know marriage to be.
A love that creates a happiness that others can see (most importantly your children). This kind of love can’t be found in a short amount of time, but rather it is built throughout a lifetime.
Sacrifice. I think this component of marriage informs from two directions. I mean, if you’re willing to sacrifice then you know true love for another, or rather, you have found it. And then, seeing that sacrifice in action as you live your lives together.
Finally, as I was reading through Walt Whitman’s “The Dalliance of Eagles” today (the poem that inspired this post). It represents an important, but often overlooked, aspect of marriage or commitment–personal independence and identification. The poem discusses the courtship ritual of the bald eagle–they resume in flight the courted eagles, dancing and marveling together, claws interlocked, and together take a deep aerial plunge toward the earth. Then, at the last second, the eagles will release their talons and soar upward toward the sky in what Whitman describes as