The Fourth Juncture: Marriage
As one grows older and matures, one grows more distant from one’s parents and the environment in which one was born and raised, and instead begins to seek a direction in life and to pursue one’s own life goals in a style different from one’s parents. During this time, one no longer needs one’s parents, but rather a partner with whom one can spend one’s life, that is, a spouse, a person with whom one’s fate is intimately entwined. So, the first major life event after independence is marriage, the fourth juncture one must pass through.
1. Individual Choice Does Not Enter Into Marriage
Marriage is a key event in any person’s life; it is the time when one starts truly to assume various kinds of responsibilities, and gradually to complete various kinds of missions. People harbor many illusions about marriage before they experience it themselves, and all these illusions are quite beautiful. Women imagine that their other halves will be Prince Charming, and men imagine that they will marry Snow White. These fantasies go to show that every person has certain requirements for marriage, their own set of demands and standards. Though in this evil age people are constantly bombarded with distorted messages about marriage, which create even more additional requirements and give people all sorts of baggage and strange attitudes, any person who has experienced marriage knows that no matter how one understands it, no matter what one’s attitude toward it is, marriage is not a matter of individual choice.
One encounters many people in one’s life, but no one knows who will become one’s partner in marriage. Though everyone has their own ideas and personal stances on the subject of marriage, no one can foresee who will truly, finally become their other half, and one’s own ideas on the matter count for little. After meeting someone you like, you can pursue that person; but whether they are interested in you, whether they are able to become your partner—that is not yours to decide. The object of your affections is not necessarily the person with whom you will be able to share your life; and meanwhile, someone you never expected may quietly enter your life and become your partner, the most important element in your fate, your other half, to whom your fate is inextricably bound. And so, though there are millions of marriages in the world, each and every one is different: So many marriages are unsatisfactory, so many are happy; so many span East and West, so many North and South; so many are perfect matches, so many are of equal social rank; so many are happy and harmonious, so many painful and sorrowful; so many arouse the envy of others, so many are misunderstood and frowned upon; so many are full of joy, so many are awash with tears and bring despair…. In these myriad types of marriage, humans reveal loyalty and lifelong commitment toward marriage; they reveal love, attachment, and inseparability, or resignation and incomprehension. Some betray their marriage, or even feel hatred toward it. Whether marriage itself brings happiness or pain, everyone’s mission in marriage is predestined by the Creator and will not change; this mission is something that everyone must complete. The fate of each person that lies behind every marriage is unchanging, determined long in advance by the Creator.
2. Marriage Is Born of the Fates of Both Partners
Marriage is an important juncture in a person’s life. It is the product of a person’s fate and a crucial link in one’s fate; it is not founded on any person’s individual volition or preferences, and is not influenced by any external factors, but completely determined by the fates of the two parties, by the Creator’s arrangements and predeterminations for the fates of both members of the couple. On the surface, the purpose of marriage is to continue the human race, but in truth, marriage is nothing but a ritual that one undergoes in the process of completing one’s mission. In marriage, people do not merely play the role of rearing the next generation; they adopt all the various roles involved in maintaining a marriage and the missions those roles require one to complete. Since one’s birth influences the changes undergone by the people, events, and things that surround it, one’s marriage will also inevitably affect these people, events, and things, and furthermore, will transform them all in various ways.
When one becomes independent, one begins one’s own journey in life, which leads one, step by step, toward the people, events, and things that have a connection to one’s marriage. At the same time, the other person who will be in that marriage is approaching, step by step, toward those same people, events, and things. Under the Creator’s sovereignty, two unrelated people with related fates gradually enter into a single marriage and become, miraculously, a family: “two locusts clinging to the same rope.” So, when one enters into a marriage, one’s journey in life will influence and touch upon one’s other half, and likewise one’s partner’s journey in life will influence and touch upon one’s own fate in life. In other words, human fates are interconnected, and no one can complete one’s mission in life or perform one’s role in complete independence from others. One’s birth has a bearing on a huge chain of relationships; growing up also involves a complex chain of relationships; and similarly, a marriage inevitably exists and is maintained within a vast and complex web of human connections, involving every member of that web and influencing the fate of everyone who is a part of it. A marriage is not the product of both members’ families, the circumstances in which they grew up, their appearances, their ages, their qualities, their talents, or any other factors; rather, it arises from a shared mission and a related fate. This is the origin of marriage, a product of human fate orchestrated and arranged by the Creator.
Excerpted from “God Himself, the Unique III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh