We find that every culture expresses love differently, and I watch my peers spouting love so loosely, and constantly that I feel it reaffirms my suspicion in our collective loneliness. We have little community; work families are a myth, and our partners, unfortunately, replace the community we so desperately desire. Marriage, sometimes, is treated like an act of bondage, creating a more difficult way of escaping one another, but love, few people have accomplished this feat, seems to be a willingness to learns our partners future self. Without titles, institutions, or certificates we can love people, and Henry Miller speaks on marriage. Pleading to receive her in any way she is willing–he says:
I think that love, especially with a capital L, is one thing, and marriage another. You know very well that I dont believe in marriage as it exists today. And yet there is such a thing as marriage, whether legal or illegal. And there most certainly can be love, whether it is ever consummated by marriage or not. Marriages are made in heaven, as I said somewhere. Such marriages are between two soul. There may be physical union and there may not be, it makes no difference. Maybe what I am referring to comes under the head of what Goethe called “elective affinities”.
Marriage is the culmination of love. Two people should never fall in love with each other unless they understand thoroughly that their love for each other is to eventuate into a future marriage.
Henry Miller understood, after 5 marriages, the importance of a healthy practice of loving communication. He teaches us to speak without being scared of our true feelings. Shows us a partner is someone willing to embrace our stuttering:
Talk is only a pretext for other, subtler forms of communication. When the latter are inoperative speech becomes dead. If two people are intent upon communicating with one another it doesn’t matter in the least how bewildering the talk becomes. People who insist upon clarity and logic often fail in making themselves understood. They are always-searching for a more perfect transmitter, deluded by the supposition that the mind is the only instrument for the exchange of thought.
When one really begin to talk one delivers himself. Words are thrown about recklessly, not counted like pennies. One doesn’t care about grammatical or factual errors, contradictions, lies and so on. One talks. If you are talking to some one who knows how to listen he understands perfectly, even though the words make no sense. When this kind of talk gets under way a marriage takes place, no matter whether you are talking to a man or a woman. Men talking with other men have as much need of this sort of marriage as women talking with women have. Married couples seldom enjoy this kind of talk, for reasons which are only too obvious.
We never choose who we love, but we must choose to create a world where that love can exist. We must be willing to face life in order to bear the unbearable. For we have a tendency to construct and cling to artificial structures of choice, personal and social — habits, routines, the contractual commitment of marriage, the moralistic frameworks that indict one kind of love as good and another as bad. Henry Miller closes this letter with his definition of spiritual love saying:
Speaking of love, this kind of love, this attraction between two souls despite all the handicaps and barriers of race, religion, upbringing, and so on, what difference does it make if the woman one love be a cabaret dancer, a whore, a thief, or whatever? Hoki might have been any of these things, and it would not have altered my love for her in the least. Perhaps it would even have added something to my passion–an element of compassion, of a desire to aid and protect, of a challenge for deeper understanding.
All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without the benefit of experience. When you surrender, the problem ceases to exist. Try to solve it,or conquer it, and you only set up more resistance. I am very certain now that, as I said therein, if I truly become what I wish to be, the burden will fall away. The most difficult thing to admit, and to realize with one’s whole being, is that you alone control nothing.
Before marrying Miller, both wives made a living by entertaining men, and after marriage, often disappeared evenings, while Miller willingly deluded himself about their actions and agreed to their stories and evasions. With Hoki he knew even before marriage that he might be getting into cold water, since she married him to evade deportation and with the agreement that he would not force her to have sex. Apparently, their marriage remained unconsummated physically, a fact she broadcast in Japanese gossip rags, much to his disgust.
As Miller learned with a vengeance, some Japanese never speak of love. “Never once have you shown me any love, any affection, any consideration—not even the respect due me as your husband. You have gone your own sweet way, doing only what pleased you, expecting devotion but showing none yourself. A spoiled, discontented child, thoroughly selfish, and acting as if she were a prisoner in her own home. . . But you show me no appreciation—only boredom, discontent. You can’t bear to remain home for an evening. If you do, it is only to cut your toe nails, shampoo your hair or some such nonsense.” Henry Miller speaks deeply on marriage when the world needs to hear the importance of union.
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