A Thousand Flowers Will Bloom

I have never met a man who didn't want to be loved, but I have met a couple of men who did fear marriage. Something about the closure of the union seems constricting instead of empowering to them.  As some would define it, marriage seems easier to blame for what it cuts out of our lives than for the things it contributes. When I was younger, this fear also immobilized me. I did not want to make a mistake in choosing a partner. I watched people get married for the wrong reasons, like social acceptability, sexual fever, or just because they thought it was the logical thing to do at the time. I looked on as they and their partners became bitter and petty in their dealings with each other.  

Over the years I have also watched older couples who have at best simply a mutual tolerance of each other. I pictured a lifetime of loveless nights and bickering days and could not imagine subjecting myself or someone else to such a fate. And yet, on rare occasions, I would meet still other couples who somehow seemed to glow in each other's presence. They appeared to be completely in love, not just dependent upon each other and tolerant of each other's shortcomings. It was an astounding sight, and it seemed exceedingly rare.

“How can they have survived so many years? What keeps love alive in them when others seem unable to even stay together, much less love each other?” I asked myself. The central secret appears to be in the act of choosing well. There is something to the claim of fundamental compatibility. Good people can create a bad relationship, even though they both desperately want the relationship to succeed. It is important to find someone with whom you can establish a healthy friendship that can weather the storms of life.

Unfortunately, it is hard to see clearly in the early stages of a relationship. The heated attraction draws you to each other and colors the way you see yourselves together. It blinds you to the thousands of little things that determine whether relationships eventually survive or fail. Some people choose to involve themselves sexually and enjoy a most heated period of sexual attraction to see what is on the other side.  A word of caution – this also leaves a trail of wounded hearts should the relationship fail. Others deny the sexual side altogether in an attempt to get to know each other apart from their sexuality. They cannot see clearly either, however, because the presence of unfulfilled sexual desire looms so large that it keeps them from having any normal perception of what the other aspects of life would be like together.
The genuinely lucky people are the ones who manage to become true friends over time as their mutual passion and attraction grow. They get to know each other's laughs, interests, pains, and fears. They see the other person at his worst and also at his best. They share time together before they get swept up into the entangling intimacy of their sexuality. This is the ideal. If you immediately fall under the spell of your sexual attraction, you need to look beyond it for other keys to compatibility. One of these is laughter.

Laughter tells you how much you will enjoy each other's company in the long term. If you can laugh together in a good and healthy way and find ways to amuse yourselves even amongst the mundane things of life, then you stand a chance of finding something to laugh at together when life challenges you. If you can make each other laugh, you can always surprise one other. And if you can continue to surprise each other, you can keep the world around you new.  Be wary of a relationship in which there is no laughter or where it is forced.
Next to laughter, look for a partner who deals with the world in a way you respect. When two people first get together, they tend to see their relationship as existing only in the space between the two of them. They find each other endlessly fascinating, and the overwhelming power of the emotions they share obscures the outside world. As the relationship ages and grows, the outside world becomes important again. If your partner treats people or circumstances in a way you can't accept, you will inevitably disagree.

Look at the way she cares for others and deals with the daily affairs of life. If that makes you love her more, your love will grow. If it does not, be careful. If you do not respect the way you each handle the world around you, eventually the two of you will not respect each other.
There are many other keys, but you must find them by yourself. We all have unchangeable parts of our hearts that we will not betray and private commitments to a vision of life that we cannot deny. If you fall in love with someone who cannot nourish these firm parts of you, you will find yourselves growing further apart until you  live in separate worlds where you share the business of life but never touch  each other where the heart lives and dreams.

So choose carefully and well. If you do, you will have a partner with whom you can grow, and then the real miracle of marriage can take place in your hearts. I pick my words carefully when I use the word “miracle,” but I think it is not too strong a word. There is a miracle in marriage; it is called transformation. Transformation is one of the most common events of nature. The seed becomes the flower. The cocoon transforms into a butterfly. Winter becomes spring, and love creates a child. We never question these extraordinary processes because we see them around us every day.

Marriage is a transformation we choose to make. Our love is planted like a seed, and in time it begins to flower. We may not know what it will blossom into, but we can be sure that a bloom will eventually come. If you have chosen carefully and wisely, the bloom will be good. If you have chosen poorly or for the wrong reasons, the bloom will be flawed. Instead of death by a thousand blows, choose to nurture growth with a thousand touches of love. Two histories intermingle. Two separate beings, two separate presences, and two separate consciousnesses come together and share a view of the life that passes before them. They remain distinct, but they also become one. There is an expansion of awareness instead of a closure and a constriction, as was once feared.

This is not to say that there is not tension and there are no traps. Tension and traps are part of every choice of life, from celibacy to monogamy to having multiple lovers. Each choice contains within it the lingering doubt that the road not taken is somehow more fruitful and exciting. However, only marriage can allow two lives to deepen and expand, against all odds, to become one. Those who live together without marriage can know the pleasure of shared company, but there is a specific gravity in the marriage commitment that sweetens that experience into something richer and more complex.  So do not fear marriage, just as you should not rush into it for the wrong reasons.
Marriage is an act of faith, and it contains within it the power of transformation. If you believe in your heart that you have found someone with whom you are able to grow, if you have sufficient faith that you can resist the endless attraction of the road not taken and the partner not chosen, and if you have the strength of heart to embrace the cycles and seasons that your love will experience, then you may be ready to seek the miracle that marriage offers. If not, then you simply must wait. The easy grace of a marriage well-made is worth your patience, and when the time comes, a thousand flowers will bloom.

Recommended resources on Love and Marriage

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts (Book)
Fireproof (DVD)
Fireproof Your Marriage Couple's Kit (Book)
The Love Dare (Book)


  1. Awww! this is a masterpiece; i enjoyed every statement in this article. I honestly wish wisdom like this could be shared among singles in religious gathering; instead of hammering on "praying and studying the bible together" which is usually preached; as if that's only what the couples would continue to engage in, throughout their lifetime. God bless you immensely.

  2. Love love loved it. Job well done. Keep up the good work

  3. Hmmmm...this is your most profound writing i have ever read. It is so rich and full of truth. You are on your way to greatness please stay true to what you believe in.

  4. Beautiful piece !
    I can relate with dis message, n I would like to ask how do you n nurture the love you share. Thanks

  5. Best way to nuture love is not to neglect it or take it for granted. Invest your time and tend to its needs.

  6. A great write up! You said it all... I have learnt a lot through this piece. God bless your wisdom always Seye


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