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Joseph Campbell on Marriage

by John Michael De Marco: The late mythology professor Joseph Campbell is  best known for his book The Hero With a Thousand Faces, which inspired George Lucas to create Star Wars.joseph cambell and joan halifaxBut his writings also include some great quotes concerning the deeper meaning and responsiblities of marriage. Here’s a few of my favorites:

“The fourth level of love is that of spouse to spouse, and here there is the business of the androgyne, of identification with the Other. You have found the god in your heart, and now the god is found in this intimate and most enduring kind of relationship. That’s why marriage is regarded, in such traditions, as a permanent affair. There is only one chance to have this type of experience. Nuns wear a wedding ring, because they are brides of Christ. Their relationship is to this invisible spouse, which, on the spiritual level, is good enough.”

“Anyone who gets married is going to have problems with daily chores, because the problem of a household is on you whether you are a male or a female…but you can make wonderful little ritual experiences out of the things that have to be done, and life can ride beautifully on these events. I think it is a failure to accept the tangibilities of two people living together that makes marriages break up.”

“Marriage is not a love affair, it’s an ordeal. It is a religious exercise, a sacrament, the grace of participating in another life.”

“Successful marriage is leading innovative lives together, being open, non-programmed. It’s a free fall: how you handle each new thing as it comes along.   As a drop of oil on the sea, you must float, using intellect and compassion to ride the waves.”

“For the gentle heart, marriage must first be spiritual, then comes physical consummation.”

“The idea of the gentle heart involves a sense of responsibility to the person. If that is not there, you have not got love, you’ve got something else. If that is there, it will last.”

“What I am saying is, not that responsibility constitutes love, but that love without a sense of responsibility is not love. It’s taking possession. Are you trying to possess somebody? Or are you in a relationship?”

“What I see in marriage, then, is a real identification with that other person as your responsibility, and as the one whom you love. Committing yourself to anyone, turning your destiny over to a dual destiny, is a life commitment. To lose your sense of responsibility to the person who has given you that commitment because something comes along that enables you to think, “I’d like to fly off in this direction and forget that which has already been committed”—this is not marriage. I do not think you are married unless your relationship to your spouse has primary consideration in your life. It’s got to be top.”

“In marriage you are not sacrificing yourself to the other person. You are sacrificing yourself to the relationship…that’s the problem with getting married. You must ask yourself, “Can I open myself to compassion?” Not to lust, but to compassion.”

Source: AWAKEN


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