My wife, Carlin, and I have each been married twice before. Like most everyone, we grew up in families that were dysfunctional in various ways. I think of our journey as being a confluence of separate rivers of life. Our parents each had their own stream and came together to produce us. Each time we marry, once again two separate rivers come together to produce a new river made up of each of our previous streams.
I believe the deep purpose of marriage is to heal old wounds so that we can love ourselves more deeply, love our partner more completely, and create loving offspring. These can be our own children or creative offerings that help make the world a better place.
That’s not what I thought when I married Carlin. Consciously I thought I was marrying a beautiful woman who brought me great joy. But soon the conflict set in and for years we struggled to get the other to treat us the way we wanted and needed to be treated. It took us a while to realize that we had each created a home that emotionally was very similar to the one we grew up in, along with the same conflicts that bedeviled us growing up.
Under stress, I became like her abusive father, irritable, angry, and potentially violent. She became like my frightened mother, trying to please and closing down emotionally to protect herself. Like most, our emotional stresses expressed themselves through physical illnesses including erectile dysfunction, atrial fibrillation, and breast cancer. The areas where we seemed the most incompatible where actually the areas that most needed to be healed.
I came to realize that we could not love unless we had healed and also that we could not heal unless we were loved. That required us each to do a lot of healing on our own and also a being a loving presence for each other. This was easy when the love was flowing easily, but under stress, we each felt we were under attack from someone who was not our friend.
It helped when we could remember that the loving friend had not disappeared, but that old wounds from the past were triggering reactions that made the other person appear to be mean and ugly.
Gradually, over the years we were able to surface the old wounds from the past and support each other in healing them. I tell my clients, being in a relationship is like being in the Ph.D. program of life. It’s the highest level of attainment any of us can make. It requires that we hang in there through the years and remain a loving presence for ourselves and our partner even during weeks, months, and even years where we mostly see the ugliness that results from old traumas surfacing.
It sometimes feels like the boiling caldron with ugly scum rising to the surface so that it can be healed, skimmed off, and laid to rest.
Healing is too painful if we don’t feel loved in the process and loving is short-lived unless we continue to heal. Carlin and I have been together now, since 1980. I’d say the honeymoon period of romantic love lasted for 4 to 7 years, but then we run into the stage of incompatibility. The conflicts were mild, at first, and lasted about four years. A wake-up call came to me when I was diagnosed with a life-threatening adrenal tumor in 1991. We moved out of the big city and bought a house on 22 acres of land in Willits, California.
Though we lived in a peaceful place and I was healing from the physical effects of the tumor surgery, emotionally we were at the height of our conflicts. I needed more love and support, but I was angry and afraid much of the time. Carlin withdrew from my anger and become more depressed and withdrawn.
The universe offers opportunities to heal, but are often painful. One of our adult sons had a drug problem and went into a residential treatment program to heal. In 1994, Carlin and I went to visit and support his healing. As part of “family weekend” we participated in activities and all family members of those in treatment were given a questionnaire to test for depression.
Often family members of those who are dealing with drug problems are depressed. Carlin took the test and scored high, indicating she was suffering from depression. I scored low indicating that I was “normal.” When we returned from the weekend, Carlin immediately got evaluated by a psychiatrist, began taking anti-depressant medications, and her life improved greatly.
As she got better she suggested that a lot of my irritability and anger might be a result of depression. I immediately became irritable and angry and pointed out to her that “you scored high on the depression scale and I scored low.” By then she had learned to back off, but not to back down. She still suggested I might want to get evaluated myself.
But I was stubborn. I was the professional after all. If I was depressed, certainly I’d be aware of it (although as a professional, I was totally oblivious to my wife’s depression until she was diagnosed). Even though many members of my family had suffered from depression, including my father who tried to commit suicide when I was five, I was sure that I was too smart, too well-educated to let “mental illness” harm me. What arrogance. What stupidity.
It took me four more years to finally agree to get evaluated for depression, four years that were horrible for Carlin and for our relationships. When I finally got evaluated by an excellent doctor I was put on medications and began coming for weekly therapy sessions. We were both finally getting the healing we needed. I feel so blessed that Carlin hung in there with me during those years that I was so deeply feeling my pain and anger and so deeply in denial about the causes.
We’ve been definitely reaping the rewards of healing since 1998. It hasn’t been easy, nor has it been a straight line up and up and up. We’ve definitely had some ups and downs and the healing/loving/healing/loving cycle continues.
In his book, The Honeymoon Effect: The Science of Creating Heaven on Earth, biologist Bruce Lipton uses the analogy of 7 elements that are known as the “noble gases” to illustrate what can happen when two people who have healed old wounds come together. The honeymoon never ends.
There are 118 elements in the periodic table, and 111 of them make chemistry. Like sodium and chlorine, they can easily combine with other atoms to make new compounds. Lipton says that 111 make chemistry. The other 7 don’t normally bind together. These are called Noble gases and include helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, radon, and ununoctium.
Unlike the other 111 elements, these 7 have a complete set of electrons in their outer shell so they don’t react with other elements. “Noble gases can be around all the crazy atoms, and never be influenced by them,” says Lipton. “People who are in balance are independent of others in the sense that they don’t need somebody else.”
That’s another way of saying they have been part of a pairing where they have worked to heal a lot of their old wounds so aren’t “starving to connect” or “easily wounded when they don’t get what they need in the moment.” In other words, they have been practicing, healing/loving/healing/loving, for some time.
Here’s how Bruce Lipton described his discovery. “When I first started coming in touch with this, I thought to myself, “Oh, poor Noble gases, they lead a solitary life. But then I realized something about lasers. (You’re familiar with lasers, yes? Helium lasers, Krypton lasers, Argon lasers, Xenon lasers?). Where does the light come from with these lasers?”
“When an atom of noble gas gets hit by a photon of light, it’s ‘enlightened’” says Lipton. “It was spinning in balance, but now it has higher energy added to it. Enlightened noble gas spins at a higher vibrational speed. What it will do at that higher vibrational speed is hook up with another Noble gas. And they will create what is called a “dimer”. Dimers are two atoms coming together – specifically called “excitomers” – because they are excited. And together they form this relationship, and together they give off light – laser light. That’s where the laser light comes from: two atoms of a noble gas forming an excitomer give off laser light.”
This is a picture of what it means to be “enlightened,” full of love and spinning in balance. “So all of a sudden I realize,” says Lipton, “Ah. Noble gases do come together. And when they are enlightened, they seek relationships. And enlightened excitomers give off light that can activate other excitomers. And so now there’s a chain reaction. That’s what a laser is all about.
This is why great love can also heal others. Think about what the world would be like to have enlightened couples lighting up other couples to create a world of excitomers. This is the kind of love that can produce wonderful, healthy children. It’s also the kind of love that can heal our stressed-out planet. I look forward to hearing about your experiences. Please share your thoughts and feelings.
Originally posted on MenAlive. Reprinted with permission.
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