The Zoo Fence The Zoo Fence The Zoo Fence
The Bliss
Traveling Together
… continued …
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Rule #2 is a logical corollary to Rule #1: Whatever either of you has or had or will ever have, is now and forever “ours.” Everything belongs to the relationship. Everything tangible and intangible, without exception. Period.

Rule #2 applies to stuff, whatever its description. Look at it this way: By entering into a marriage as described here, the two of you have become in effect disciples in a sacred relationship, just as if you had joined a holy order. You are monks, and whatever once belonged to either of you, or will ever belong to either of you, now belongs to the sacred order, which is your relationship, the marriage.

Rule #2 also applies to non-stuff, as well. Like friends. From now on, whatever friends either of you has must be “our” friends. That does not mean that you must both associate with them, but it does mean that you must both agree that they are friends of the relationship. And it applies to activities, like hobbies and vacations. Again, this does not mean that these things must be performed together, but it does mean that doing them separately must be demonstrated to serve “us.” It is a contradiction in terms to be in this kind of a relationship, and to have a “private life” that is private from one another. The relationship, the two of you, may have a private life that is private from everyone else; indeed, the relationship’s life should be private. But not private from one another.

And, clearly, rule #2 applies to information. There are no secrets in this kind of relationship. Whatever either knows, both know. This is an essential aspect of Rule #2, and so you must make this absolutely clear to yourselves, and, when necessary, to your friends and to your former family. Nothing is allowed to come between the two of you, not even someone else’s secret. Conversely, the relationship’s secrets are not shared with anyone else, unless both of you agree that doing so serves the relationship.

Rule #2 applies to employment or professional activities in this way. Every relationship needs a healthy, happy, nourishing physical environment — a home — in which to thrive. Houses cost money, and so do many of the other things which comprise a home. Therefore, one or both of you will need to work in the marketplace, where money is earned. Thus, the legitimate purpose of a profession is not to fulfill some personal, inherited or acquired ambition, however lofty, but to provide the stuff the relationship needs, including shelter. Thus, like everything else in this marriage, the purpose of employment is to serve the relationship.

At the same time, it is obviously necessary that the house and other stuff so acquired become a home, otherwise it is just a place. The transformation of a place into a home is a mystical process, and cannot be accomplished halfheartedly or by a hired interior decorator. To be sure, the process requires some stuff that costs money, but mostly it requires time and enthusiasm. Therefore, as the two of you decide together how the relationship will earn money to purchase and maintain a place, remember that the function of transforming that place into a home must be acknowledged, provided for, and honored. It makes no difference which of you does which, or if you devise a formula by which each of you does some of both, but it is essential that this transformation process not be overlooked or discounted. In fact, of all the skills that relationship awakens in us, learning how to turn a place into a home (how to be ourselves happily and wholly anywhere, anytime, and to embrace without prejudice whatever environment and circumstance we find ourselves in) is one of the most powerful, enduring, and godly.

It does not matter how well intentioned the two of you may be, there will be arguments. There is no point in trying to avoid them by denying them. In fact, it is better to allow arguments to run their course, because the alternative is almost always a false peace, in which one or the other of you pretends not to be angry, which accomplishes nothing. Besides, pretending is a form of lying, which is withholding information, and therefore a violation of Rule #2. (Under some circumstances, it is okay for a couple to lie in concert to others, but it is never okay for them to lie to one another.)

What Rule #3 means is that, once started, an argument must be allowed to continue uninterrupted until both of you agree it is over. Thus, an argument goes on however long it takes. And as long as it goes on, neither of you is allowed to leave the premises, or to go behind a locked door, or in any other way to disengage. You remain in each other’s physical presence, however angered, until each of you, freely and genuinely, acknowledges to the other that the argument has been satisfactorily resolved. A corporate board meeting, especially where grievances are being aired, is not over until it’s over; otherwise, the corporation will surely suffer, and that costs everyone.

Also, applying Rule #2 to Rule #3, arguments are no one else’s business. They are yours to have together, and no one else is invited to participate, either directly or indirectly, before, during, or after. In fact, unless you both specifically agree, nothing about the relationship is anyone else’s business, and that most definitely includes parents and all other relatives. After all, from now on, the two of you have only one parent, which is God, your Mother and your Father, the Mother and Father of your marriage. Besides, no one else has any need to know what goes on within your relationship. The only exception to this rule is if one of you resorts to physical violence. Then, someone else, preferably a professional, will almost certainly need to be informed. But the use of physical violence is so serious a violation of the relationship and of everything the relationship represents that its occurrence automatically suspends all the rules, possibly even dissolves the relationship itself.

Further, applying Rule #1 to Rule #3, it is clear that never is either of you solely to blame for any argument, or solely credited with resolving an argument. That is, everything the two of you do, you do together, acting as and for the relationship, including getting into, carrying on, and getting out of arguments. Here, there are never any one-way streets. Everything is shared and mutual. “We stumbled, we picked ourselves up,” is the only acceptable log entry.

Finally, about arguments, consider this: If handled improperly, they threaten the health of the relationship, and that is a violation of all the rules, and therefore unacceptable to both of you. At first, you will undoubtedly argue as you did as children, mindlessly shouting and screaming. To get a measure of that, try this experiment: Someday, agree in advance that each of you will conduct your next argument observing yourselves in mirrors. That is, not looking at one another, but at yourselves, making note of your own facial expressions and gestures as you carry on. You may be surprised, not to say appalled, by what you see. Or, agree in advance to turn on a tape recorder during an argument, and watch how courteous, even magnanimous, the two of you suddenly become! Early on, you will want to consider together whether the techniques and posturing each of you regularly employs in arguments are fair and appropriate, even for arguments. If you decide not, then learn how to argue, preferably by teaching each other, but otherwise by reading a book together or attending a course together.

Throughout the spiritual process, there takes place a lot of energy movement, within each of you and between the two of you, as together you learn to redefine and release everything you have ever known and believed and worshipped. This process creates tremendous tension, which from time to time must erupt, and often it will be as arguments between you. The more the two of you become aware of that fact, the less staying and swaying power will your arguments have, until eventually they are over as soon as they begin. But until then, you must let them be, for the energy they represent must be allowed to flow, and loudly is better than not at all, so long as both of you are assured that all the fault and all the credit are shared, and it is never over until you both agree it’s over. In this regard, be reminded again that your allegiance is not to yourself, not to your pride, not to your honor, not even to one another, but to the relationship. Serving that serves God, which awakens you. Keep your eyes on the Prize.

Like virtually everything else in life, all of this is far, far easier to say than to do. But it can be done, and the two of you can do it, if you want to. Successful relationships are the result of the same dynamic as every other success in life: Choosing your priorities properly. If you will both decide that you want to do this more than you want anything else, and you then push all the rest of your desires down at least one rung, and keep them there, you will succeed.

Throughout, please remember that marriage is a process. What occurs when you utter the words “I do” is simply the beginning. It is from there that you work towards becoming truly married. Thus, doMastering the seesaw! not expect to adopt readily, or even to like, these procedures. If they make sense to you, then consider them as targets to reach for. That is, start from where you are now, being who you are now, and undertake these as you would any other spiritual practice. Do them as well, as faithfully, and as enthusiastically as you can, until they become your nature, and no longer necessary.

In sum, be to one another a devoted and loyal best friend, and you will soon discover that you have become each other’s student and teacher, and that your relationship has become your practice and your path. Once again, in the words of the Teacher, the two shall become one. Seek that reality, and God will do the rest.

The Zoo Fence

Sez who?

Remember Who you are!

There was a time when I was a woman and he was a man;
Still love grew until there was neither he nor I.
Only I remember faintly there was a time when there were two;
But love came between and made them one.


Art at The Zoo Fence

In the beginning, as Genesis says, YHWH created male and female in his own image. Hence it is neither man nor woman that is in the image of God, but the relation between them.

Jean-Yves Leloup

Cat in A Garden
”Cat in The Garden” by N. Nadzo

What you and I call life
– conditional or separative existence –
is not about doing things.
It is not even about doing things well.
It is about doing things together.
In a word, life is about relationship.
So, far better is it that you and I should come together
to do something, even ineptly,
than to have someone else do it perfectly,
and you and I never touch.


“Rouen - La Rue St. Romain”

In relationship, there is no individual experiencer.
No me, no you. Only we.
The perception “I experience some thing” expresses “I am me, and you aren’t me.”
And that is the illusion.


Finally, consider this: In this culture, and perhaps everywhere, it seems that female babies are raised to behave like mothers, and male babies are raised to behave like little boys. The patterns produced by this phenomenon can be extremely disruptive to adult relationships, particularly marriage. Fortunately, they can be undone, but it takes a lot of love, gentleness, and patience. Happily, the effort is worth it.


Going up!

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The Zoo Fence