Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Established in 1983 by Ronald Reagan. Dr. King continues today to be an example for the power of love, struggle, light over darkness, nonviolence and so much more. Can we look to his messages and seek guidance for a way to rekindle love in marriage? Can we practice love and kindness in our most intimate relationships and expand this practice to all mankind?
In Dr. King’s novel Stride Towards Freedom, published in 1958, King writes about the Montgomery bus boycott and shares his vision on what he believes nonviolent resistance to be. He lays out the Six Fundamental Principles of nonviolence. Looking through the lens of the incredible struggle King and thousands upon thousands of people endured it is not difficult to see the importance of his message and the path to change. In contemplating King’s legacy we can look to his words for the wisdom to rekindle love in marriage.
THE SIX PRINCIPLES OF NONVIOLENCE:
The Six Principles and how they can inspire the path to rekindle love in marriage.
- PRINCIPLE ONE: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. Kindness towards strangers is sometimes easier than kindness towards the people we see and interact with on a day to day basis. Our close relationships are sometimes bogged down in baggage and deep feelings which can lead us to slip into unkindness. Make love, positive communication strategies and nonviolence a way of life in your marriage. Let that be your default day in and day out. Maintain a positive outlook and seek a greater understanding when it comes to communication in your marriage.
- PRINCIPLE TWO: Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding. In terms of a marriage or long term intimate relationships with another person what greater goal can there be than to share a deep friendship and feel a sense of connection founded on the idea that you are understood and loved as you are. Studies and surveys frequently show that a friendship is the foundation for a life long loving union. Seeking to rekindle the friendship the relationship was built on is an important step on the path to rekindling the romantic relationship.
- PRINCIPLE THREE: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people. When a romantic or intimate partnership goes south or encounters difficult or painful times your spouse can become your enemy. Anger, bitterness, even hatred directed towards a spouse or partner can pit you against that person and the goal often becomes defeat. Who will win the battle between two people? In the end, there will be no winner, only the relationship will suffer. Seek instead to overcome the injustice that led you down this path. Take the instance of infidelity. What greater injustice is there in a committed romantic partnership than infidelity? On the path to recovery can we seek to recognize the pieces of the puzzle, the unraveling of the connection and direct energy toward healing those wounds and changing the behaviors that contributed to the infidelity rather than seeking the defeat of the “offender.” This is not a question of circumventing blame or responsibility, it is a path to greater healing and to rekindle the love.
- PRINCIPLE FOUR: Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform. Few among us will not face suffering at some point in our lives. Whether it is experienced within our intimate relationships or from outside circumstances can we look to those moments as transformative and a path to greater understanding? What better teacher than a spouse that sees you through your darkest hours. What better place to look for understanding and learning than the person whom you reveal your deeper self, the self that may be keep from the outside world and shown only in the safety of an intimate partnership. Seek to learn and grow from the difficult times and look at the experiences you face together as an opportunity for transformation.
- PRINCIPLE FIVE: Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate. It doesn’t get more simple than this. Choosing a loving stance over one of anger and bitterness is a choice you can make each day in each moment with your spouse. When times are good celebrate the love, when times are hard find the love. Anger is damaging to you and your partner. Choose to love your partner for who they are today and everyday.
- PRINCIPLE SIX: Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice. Placing the concepts of nonviolence at the center of the universe of your marriage will create a foundation of love, support, kindness and warmth. Have faith in yourself and your partner on the path to rekindle love in your marriage. When there is harmony in your closest relationships that harmony can and will ripple through the layers of your life and beyond.
A note about Dr. King:
Over the years MLK has become an American mythological figure and much of the complexity of his real life and personality have been lost. For example, many Americans today don’t know that Dr. King had a very troubled marriage plagued with infidelities. At the same time, he a was a remarkably well spoken and intelligent leader whose words cut to the core of how human beings should treat each other.