What is spiritual marriage? I believe it is helpful to begin by defining marriage itself. According to Merriam Webster dictionary marriage is “a) the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex…in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law, b) the institution whereby individuals are joined in marriage, and c) an intimate or close union. (The photo to the right is a Ketubah in Aramaic, a Jewish marriage contract that outlines the duties of each partner)
The definition of marriage has been in the news concerning whether homosexual marriage should be made lawful. There is much more to marriage than meets the eye and controversy takes focus away from the Truth of holy matrimony and the deeper, spiritual meaning that is only discerned by communion with the Spirit of God.
Marriage, according to the Dictionary of Symbols by Chevalier & Gheerbrant, is the symbol of the loving coitus of man and woman, which in a mystical sense, is also that of Christ’s union with his Church, of God with his Chosen People and of the soul with God. The marriage of the soul with God is reflected in a Rumi quote “you must marry your soul, that wedding is the way”. The bible says the greatest mystery is the two shall be made one. When the soul marries God, the two become one, and it is the end of a separate self. In Jungian psychology, marriage symbolizes the union of the feminine principle of the unconscious with the male principle of the spirit. Chevalier & Gheerbrant also describe marriage as deriving from the rites of making life holy. To bring the transcendent God into the body is to make God immanent and present. This is the marriage of spirit and physical matter. It is the inner spiritual marriage that leads to a happy fulfilling outer marriage.
While marriage is thought to be mainly a legal contract or agreement to love, honor, and cherish until death do us part, spiritual marriage is much more complex. I believe that the problem with marriage today, and the reason for so many separations and divorces, is the absence of spiritual marriages. Romantic love was once defined as nature’s anesthesia for bringing two incompatible people together to heal their inner wounds. Unfortunately most people get married in unconscious ignorance and wake up to suffering and wondering “who is this person I find myself married to”. If children were taught about relationships and marriage early in life it would save a lot of heartbreak and mistakes later on.
Two unconscious egos who transcend the ego in the blush of romantic love, wake up in marriage as strangers with a crowd of parental introjects and subpersonalities vying for attention and healing. If you understand spiritual marriage, you anticipate that this is going to happen and you allow whatever is unhealed within each of you come to the surface to be healed into wholeness. Instead of thinking something strange is going on or projecting blame onto the other for triggering your darkness, you recognize it for what it is and let it go. In spiritual marriage you invoke the power of Spirit to transform and transmute the darkness into light and the fragmentation into wholeness. The deep, sacred relationship of marriage brings up everything that is not love so you can open to deeper and deeper levels of love. Marriage today is most often based on conditional love: I will love you if you make me happy, I will love you as long as I feel the same sexual attraction to you, I will love you if you stay exactly the same.
Spiritual marriage is based on unconditional love. I choose to love you no matter what. I choose to recognize and use the uncomfortable things that arise in us both to fuel the growth of our souls and reunite with the Beloved on a higher level. Spiritual marriage is a commitment to grow through the trials of relationship for the goal of awakening and development of each person’s true spiritual self. Physical marriage is meant to be the training wheels for the real spiritual marriage of the soul to the Beloved. Spiritual marriage is the crucible of transformative love that is able to transform each partner into the divine complete self or anthropos, and reunite each completed self with God.
There are many levels of marriage or union in our psyche on the path to wholeness. The first marriage is the marriage within each partner of the ego and the soul. The second marriage is the inner feminine with the inner masculine within each partner. The third marriage is the outer marriage of male and female. The fourth marriage is the completed anthropos with God. The fifth marriage is between the divine feminine and the divine masculine within. The sixth marriage is the union of the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine without. The seventh marriage is the union of all opposites, within and without. (To be continued)