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What is marriage?

Arianna Huffington
Health Education

After my former husband, Michael, and I returned from our honeymoon, we went to pray together at the Houston Cathedral. The Cathedral Dean, Pittman McGehee, gave a memorable sermon on “becoming married.” He talked about the illusion that we emerge from the ceremony of marriage truly married. He urged us to see marriage as a process and, especially, to be open to the negative side of intimacy, the hurt, the pain, the criticisms, the losses that bring depth to a relationship.  He cautioned us to be wary of a relationship that has no room for anger or pain that is lived on the surface of niceness behind smiling masks that block us from experiencing our own and each other's reality. He pleaded with us to be vulnerable in the face of each other, to realize that the self-protective devices behind which we barricade ourselves are actually self-destructive. As we lined up to greet the Dean at the close of the service, we heard others in front of us saying what was also in our hearts: “You were talking to us.”  Committing yourself to “becoming married is the only way to grow within marriage, to make of this life partnership something larger than yourself, satisfying more than your needs and emotions.  Our own marriage ended in divorce after 11 years, but we used the lessons we learned in “becoming married” to make our divorce better for ourselves and, especially, our children.


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