The Marriage Union
There is a tradition among Catholics and an increasing trend among Evangelicals and Restorationists in American society to display a photograph where there are both a groom and bride, in white, raising together a unity candle in their hands over their heads. The core values that are demonstrated by these persons and the marriage event are unity, loyalty, and spirituality (particularly of the Christian faith).
Monogamous marriage has been a robust societal representation of perfection, particularity and specifically the union and loyalty between a male and female. The unity candle of the bride and groom pictured represents that there is an undifferentiated perfection split into two, male and female, and it is the goal of human beings to unite the two singular parts to have the ideal.
When a unity candle is, therefore, raised above the heads of the two in the union, the candle becomes a source of light, a source of enlightenment in the darkness of life, which represents something transcendent in marriage. In reflection to this, the event pictured above may tell us who is in charge in a marriage: the Light, the Greater good (the marriage and Christ who binds the union). Furthermore, the event tells us how we should live our lives subordinate to the greater good of all. The idea, therefore, is that in a relationship people should come together as one thing to promote not what is good for oneself or another, but what is good for all, the group or society. We should strive to be like this in a marriage relationship, or in any relationship for that matter. It creates equality among people and groups along with a structure by which order arises, and chaos diminishes.
The major take away from the act of the unity candle is the symbolic representation of the elevated light that we all need. Life is complicated, and at times we need to outsource our sanity, meaning that having people around, we will always have someone around us to shine some light on when we get close to the edge. If you are alone, you drift and drift towards your biggest weakness, whatever that may be for you.
Now a days, there is a decrease in permanent relationships because of the amount of fleeting, casual, sexual "relationships" our society makes available. Our base need to be with someone, or "one" in particular, is designed to be a stable basis for raising children, and nurtures the understanding that relationships are trustworthy. So there is both stability and utility in fidelity. So if you want to tangle your life with someone else, you will become like two strands of rope: stronger in times of weakness. Two brains are good to have when life is complicated. It brings reality into your life; to have someone with you in this very long voyage. It deepens your life in a way that is not possible with fragmentary relationships as a single person.
Jacob of the Bible was renamed as “Israel” - meaning, "He struggles with God" - denoting that God perseveres and that there is a need for us to contend. For a relationship, this pattern of contending makes an interesting perspective. Do you really want to live “happily ever after”? Happily ever after will result in stagnation. No contending = no growth. You want someone to contend with. Why? It is within the struggle that we learn when we are acting like an "idiot" and where you sane. The spiritual aspect of marriage is much like Jacob and God, the fact that you have to contend with someone through all aspects and circumstances of life. It is the manner in which you encourage spiritual and physiological growth. That is why marriage is a sacrament; stamped both by the state and the "sacred authorities," per say, because it is not just a physiological union. Marriage has to fit into everything a human being is.
When you are in love with someone, you schedule your life around that person, as to make that person a priority. When you get married and accustom to one another, one must be on guard that everything else does not become more important, otherwise the relationship will drift to the bottom. Sadly, people begin to look for adventure and excitement outside of the relationship. You cannot do that. You have to prioritize your relationship. From a clinical perspective, it takes a couple 90 minutes of conversation a week to maintain a relationship. This passive discussion covers everything about their everyday lives (e.g., non-romantic talk): what they have been doing, how the house should be run; to keep their stories caught up. At least once a week there should be time reserved to be with each other. One "date" is necessary but two is better, and it has to be realistic if it is going to be sustainable. Keep the unity burning bright!