Probably, every person dreams of meeting his soul mate, of a long and harmonious relationship, of a happy family. But do you know what dangers and surprises lie in the way of a happy marriage? And not only at the time when we are alone and looking for a partner, but also throughout the whole family life! In this article I want to consider the path to marriage, the difficulties and obstacles that are encountered along the way, from the point of view of Jungian analysis. This direction of modern psychotherapy uses universal and accessible to everyone images contained in fairy tales, myths, dreams and fantasies to search and illustrate psychological laws.
At the same time as we search, communicate and get closer to our partner, developing our relations, serious work is going on within us to unite our conscious “I” with our unconscious inner woman / man. Indeed, from the point of view of Jungian analysis, in the unconscious of every woman there is an image of an ideal man, or animus, and in the unconscious of every man – an ideal woman, anima. And the path to marriage is not only the external work of building relationships, it is also the deep internal work of knowing and accepting our unconscious parts (anima / animus), the liberation of which from the unconscious, union with them (internal marriage), gives us a source of creative energy and inspiration.
Therefore, the obstacles that we encounter on our way to marriage, we must consider and resolve at both levels – both changing our real relationship with the opposite sex, and doing internal work on ourselves.
The magic prince or the beautiful princess is an image that appears in a huge number of fairy tales. The Magic Prince is an ideal hero who solves all your problems with one glance and is perfect in everything. The modern magical prince drives an expensive car, a successful businessman, but at the same time young and handsome. Smart, decisive and responsible, but attentive, calm, kind, loves children, devotes time to his family, loyal to his wife, etc. The modern princess is beautiful and independent, like a queen, but she is a good housekeeper and takes care of her family, tender and kind, like Cinderella.
Social cliches and stereotypes that dictate patterns of behavior for “ideal” wives and husbands are very important for the formation of relationships in the family. For example, the fact that a man must earn money for a family, and a woman to do household work and children – is largely due to nature – a man will not be able to give birth to a child, and a pregnant woman and a young mother cannot provide themselves with the necessary finances. But blind adherence to these stereotypes interferes with female social realization and the development by a man of his “female” qualities – caring and tenderness, for example.
The search for the ideal prince or princess is doomed to failure in advance, since it carries unrealistic requirements for a partner. At the same time, a person inevitably ceases to notice and appreciate the dignity and uniqueness of living people who are next to him. Often the search for the ideal leads to loneliness and lack of relationships. And if fate develops in such a way that it is possible to meet a partner that outwardly fits the description of the prince (princess), – under the pressure of reality, the discrepancy with the ideal will manifest itself, and the relationship will begin to break down. The prince (princess) with all her desire will not always be able to correspond to the ideal, and when the weaknesses of a living person begin to manifest, there will be severe disappointment. And the partner who plays the role of the ideal prince / princess,
The image of a ghostly lover is a very powerful obstacle to marriage and real relationships. The ghostly beloved / beloved is somewhat similar to the magic prince, but is more mysterious and attractive due to the reflections of otherworldly, higher reality. In comparison with this image, any earthly woman or man seems boring and uninteresting. An example of a ghostly lover is a sylph from a ballet of the same name. The peasant James falls asleep before his wedding and sees in a dream a gentle, seductive sylph, which he falls in love with. The hero abandons his bride Effie and follows the sylph in the forest, where he suffers from the loneliness and inaccessibility of the air sylph. An evil sorceress gives him a scarf, which will save the sylph from the wings and tie to James. But having lost wings, the sylphide dies,
The ghostly beloved \ beloved captivates us with her unearthly, divine power. Not understanding the true nature of this image, we are trying to take possession of the object of love, materialize and attach it to ourselves. Unrequited unhappy love is often the result of the search for a ghostly lover when we transfer all our creative and spiritual potential to another person, endowing him with unreal abilities, investing all our passionate desire for creative self-realization in these relationships. The lesson of the ghostly lover is to learn to let go with gratitude and give thanks for the very gift of life, not to try to gain power over the higher spiritual forces, but to transform this energy into creativity.
The theme of the spell cast by an evil sorcerer (witch) on the main character (hero) is found in many tales and myths. Among the most famous characters affected by the spell are the Frog Princess, Princess Odette from Swan Lake, enchanted princes from the fairy tale Wild Swans. And most often the recipe for getting rid of the spell in a fairy tale is fidelity and loyalty of a lover – a partner. The psychological meaning of this metaphor is not to find a partner who “loves you little black.” True love and devotion to enchanted princes / princesses themselves must be cultivated in relation to themselves! A spell is usually the result of the repression of your identity by a powerful mother and the silent consent of an absent or passive father. The witch’s spell makes us infantile, weak, dependent, unable to make decisions, paralyzes our creativity, fetters our initiative, freezes us, plays on our fear, blocks us from self-actualization. Only through our own faith in ourselves, love and self-care, can we get rid of this spell.
The most striking image of a demonic lover is the image of Count Dracula. This image dominates us, seducing, pushing us to self-destruction. As soon as we succumb to his temptations, we become his property, he lives and feeds on us. We obey his power, and become vampires like him.
The obsession with a demonic lover can manifest itself in the form of irrational jealousy, various forms of addiction, victim behavior in relationships. The influence of the image of a demonic lover is clearly manifested in the choice of partners with addictive behavior (drug addicts, alcoholics), relationships with a partner who demonstrates violence and sadism. In psychology, there is even a special term for family members of an addicted person – co-dependence, a long life next to a “vampire” -dependent destructively affects a person and turns into “vampires” – co-dependent (examples – everyone knows the always grumpy wives of alcoholics or eternal “victims” ”, Which with their complaints and unconscious manipulation of your pity cause irritation and headache). It’s not easy to cope with the influence of this image, – it is necessary to form the ability to say no in yourself,
On the way to marriage, one of the strongest obstacles for lovers is the thirst for power, the temptation to control others and subject them to their will. How many family quarrels revolve around the topic of control – control over the family budget, control over the beliefs of another, control over the behavior of the partner, control that kills love.
The most ambitious and full struggle between love and power is disclosed in Wagner’s tetralogy “The Ring of the Nibelung”. All the heroes of this work personify our inner figures, eager for power and obstructing love. So, the dwarf Alberich is so absorbed in a thirst for power that in exchange for gold, which promises power over the world, he curses love. Wotan, the supreme god, believes that power is his right, perceives love only as carnal pleasure and is incapable of spiritual love. Siegfried represents the heroic part of us, our potential abilities, but he lacks female wisdom. Brünnhilde is a heroine who walks the path of earthly love from falling in love to revenge, realizes her error in the desire to possess, and in the finale of the opera returns the ring of power to the forces of nature,
Whatever our problems and unique life circumstances we are in, the more difficult and tragic, from our point of view, the situation is, the greater the likelihood that we are in the grip of universal images – obstacles to love.
The race for a ghostly lover, the obsession with a demon lover or the struggle for a ring of power – a description of these obstacles carries not only analysis, but also universal ways to solve problems. But these methods suggest that you will apply them to yourself, deal with yourself and change yourself, not your partner. Only in this case can you achieve a harmonious marriage, both internal and external.