I’ll be the first to tell you that marriage “scared” me, and it took me quite a while to get over my mental blocks and move forward with entering into a lifetime commitment. During that time I sought out individuals who were divorced, married, and everything in between. My rational was that I needed to know all facets of marriage before I took the step myself. As you would expect I got information that was both frightful and encouraging. So today I thought, if I could go back and tell myself one thing about marriage what would that be?
By nature I’m someone that tries to choose their words carefully, because words have power. Words can hurt, uplift, create, and destroy, while that could be a post entirely on its own, I know that I would want to convey my experiences in marriage as succinctly as possible. It’s that thought that made me laugh! How do you convey the emotional complexities of marriage? Especially, when you seemed to have married someone who is the *exact* opposite of who you are – or who you thought you’d be with? So, I continued to think about what I would tell myself? How would I balance the marital experience while still giving myself a solid idea of what I was getting into? The answer revealed itself in a simple word – Cathexis.
If I could go back in time and tell myself one thing about marriage, I would simply tell myself “Marriage is the art of cathexis.”
Cathexis is simply “the investment of emotional and mental energy into a person, object, or idea” (Merrian-Webster). For me that is the most solid definition of marriage that I could possibly give myself. For me that is what marriage has always been at its core. A continual investment of my emotional and mental energy into ensuring that my spouse is happy, our foundation is strong, and that “till death do us part” is a charge to make our marriage as meaningful as possible while we are blessed with life. I know my younger self would be able to understand the grandeur of that simple response and act “accordingly” (read: run for the hills *smile*).
“Marriage is the art of cathexis” a simple statement packed with as much depth as the last words I spoke as a single man, “I Do”.
So, it’s your turn. If you could go back and tell yourself one thing about marriage, what would you tell yourself?