In the Marriage Zone

In the Marriage Zone

When We Are Two

By Michael Ventura

November/December 1988

Marriage is the most dangerous form of love. Count the casualties and you know. It turns many people to stone. We all have seen that. Our society is cracking under the weight of many stone-lives. We all know that. But will we, or will we not, discover all that a man and woman can be? Marriage is not the answer, but it is the most demanding way to live the question.

Don't ask questions. Live them.

That is the unrelenting demand of an active inner life. If we shirk that demand we begin to turn to stone.

So here are speculations on a flux, a life, a dare, that I sometimes refer to as "my marriage." They are the notes of a man who, only a bit more than two years ago, joined in "wed-lock" (the phrase is not without its sinister echo) with a woman and her young son. The notes of a man who, at the time, only dimly realized that in marrying with these two others he was marrying no less than—everything.

"Everything," in Greek, is the word pan, and pan is what they called the wildest, most elemental of the gods, the god least subject to placation—the god that was never housebroken. No wonder they sang and danced at that wedding!

Our life leads separate lives.

I am "married," as they say in this world, to Jan, who is "married" to me— "two old fuckers," as she puts it. She, 40. Me, 39. And Brendan, 11 now (her child but, as I find myself putting it in conversation, "our boy"). It is now, as I've said, two years…

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