Sacred Marriage: A Fusion of Instinct, Spirit, and Grit

Feb 2, 2023

A hurricane is surrounded by a rainbow ring. Underneath a just married couple point to it.
Photo Credit: Joseph Lee

Marriage is a mystery woven into the fabric of time. A 4,000-year-old contract etched in stone bears witness to its timeless significance. But what is the meaning behind this union of two souls?

Jung saw the definition of marriage as an alchemy of instinct and divinity, a blending of the physical and the spiritual. It is a bond that extends beyond legal and familial ties into the realm of the sacred.

The purpose of marriage is a journey of individuation, a chance for each partner to grow and flourish within the embrace of a supportive union – it is a crucible of transformation. Tempered by our shadow, it can forge us into our best or worst selves.

In marriage, we embark on a dance with our beloved, discovering new parts of ourselves with each step. But as time passes and our projections fade, we must pass through disappointment and conflict.

But as Jung saw it, these difficulties are opportunities for internal work, leading to the transformation of emotional connection into conscious relationships. The purpose of marriage is not just to provide comfort and security but to nurture personal growth.

We can see marriage as a symphony, where each partner’s individual growth is intertwined with the growth of the relationship, and view it as a sacred bond, where each partner maintains their unique identity while being strengthened by the union.

What is marriage? It’s a journey through the wilds of the human soul, a union that brings us closer to our true selves. This podcast episode explores the complicated and layered world of marriage through a Jungian lens.

Join us on a journey to the heart of this mystery, where the definition, purpose, and meaning of marriage are waiting to be uncovered. Let us answer the question, what is marriage together?

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“I am parking for an open mic at a dive bar that I frequent. However, when I exit the car, I am on a residential street situated across from a church. I immediately panicked, not being where I believed I had just driven to, but think “I just need to park closer” and return to the car. I am then in my bed, alone in the camper I live in with my partner. This is how I fell asleep so at first I believe I’ve truly awoken. I look at my phone, no notifications but it is 8:50. I am disastrously late to meet a friend I record a podcast with. I get in my car and start towards his house. It doesn’t occur to me that I am lost until I reach a pair of train tracks that once passed lead onto a road that goes through a trailer park filled with nice, white mobile homes shrouded in deep red light. I attempt to use my brakes right before passing over the tracks. On my dashboard a warning flashes that I can’t read. I then lose control of my vehicle and it begins slowly sputtering over the train tracks closer and closer to the trailer park. This leads to another false awakening. I am relieved for a moment that what had occurred was only a dream. Again, I am home alone in my bed. The time on my phone is 8:51. I realize once again that I am late for the podcast. On the drive, I quickly become lost once again and am led back to the same train tracks and trailer park still drenched in red light. This time I know once my car crosses the tracks something bad will happen to me. Out of one of the mobile homes walks a man, slender and attractive but quite old. He is approaching my car, I slowly drive down the street. The man gets taller as I near him and his body is covered in eyes like an angel. He is acting almost like a zombie. I am scared until I tell myself, in a moment of lucid dreaming, “There’s a gun in my hand.” And just like that, there is. I get out of the car and shoot the creature three times before it falls dead. This leads to one last false awakening. This time my boyfriend is in the camper with me. I begin explaining the dream to him. I am then truly awakened by my alarm.”


C.G. Jung. Collected Works, Vol. 17: Marriage as a Psychological Relationship. https://a.co/d/9KZj3fN


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    I didn’t receive audio for this episode.?????

    • Joseph Lee

      I fixed the link. It plays correctly now. Thanks for flagging this!
      ~ Joseph

      • LINDA

        Many thanks Joseph. Wonderful episode as usual. Linda

  2. Mamie Allegretti

    Hello Joseph, Lisa and Deb,
    I’ve noticed the images Joseph has been putting up. I believe he said he was playing with AI for these pictures. I’ve thought of using AI to produce images from my dreams and images that come to me spontaneously. But then I thought that it would be better to try to draw those images myself because it’s through the creative act that I become aware of the unconscious. This might be an interesting episode – could AI images be used in therapy, and in what way does using these images differ from drawing them yourself? Are we taking a kind of shortcut when using AI to produce images for us and what is the effect of this? I’ve looked at some AI images (not many) and it was interesting because I immediately thought of Iain McGilchrist’s description of the “left hemisphere” function and these images seemed very “left hemisphere” to use that metaphor. Anyway, I just thought it might be an interesting episode. Thank you again!

    • Joseph Lee

      Hi Maime,
      I think the process of creating your own art is irreplaceable. The fateful mistakes and coloring outside of the lines that the unconscious adds is irreplicable. Even so using AI for commercial purposes has been very helpful since it’s unlikely I could find the combination of images I’d like for the website and podcast. I must admit I currently feel charmed by the “spirit in the bottle” that transforms my input into art – but like all crushes, it will likely wear off in time. ~ Joseph

  3. Judy Gibson

    One of the things I find interesting about Pride and Prejudice is that the women who marry for love are also in the most financially prosperous relationships.

    When you touched on the troubadours and courtly love, I was reminded of Guy Gavriel Kay’s A Song for Arbonne. It has an interesting twist on love. I’m not sure if it reflects historical reality, but in that novel the highest ideal is to fall for a woman who’s already married.

    I’d like to suggest as a topic of conversation people who are asexual and / or aromantic.

  4. Maureen Nowlan

    Thankyou Deb for your sidebar regarding the stereotypes of “traditional” gender roles being discussed for ease of discussion. Until then there was a sense we were in a Jane Austen era. Individuating within marriage could have been given more time although it was hinted at and addressed at the end. Thank you!

  5. Deborah

    Joseph, your closing remarks on gratitude were very much on point. I would love a whole episode on this topic please!

  6. Brooke

    This was the single most significant podcast I have ever listened to about relationships. I listened to this yesterday morning riding my bike through the rolling hills of Colorado and it blew my mind wide open.


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