in defense of monogamy!

So often, I hear the same blah blah boring old story – That men are basically polygamous and that monogamy is unnatural. In these peoples’ view, marriage is the most unnatural arrangement of all. And I nash my teeth in despair!

The standard argument takes us on a well-honed journey back to ancient times from caves to tribes to harems where polygamy was the norm. Here is their proof that this is true male behavior.

And, so it seems, that women “the proverbial ball and chain”- (lovely title! NOT!) – are blamed for coercing men into a lifestyle that is abhorrent and unnatural to them.

I have never been a big fan of polygamy, as I am way too possessive and proprietary to consider sharing my man with other women, (although I have been shared without my consent and it was one of my least favorite experiences!) but last year, I had dinner with a Muslim prince when I was in Oman and I asked him to explain polygamy from a Muslim perspective. He explained it quite rationally. In the bloodthirsty times of yore, when wars were aplenty, and the Koran was freshly inked, such a huge percentage of their men were killed, leaving countless women without any hope of a husband. Mohammed felt that it would be a kindness to have the remaining men marry the unfortunate surplus of females so that they too could delight in the joys of childbearing and motherhood, and hopefully birth a new generation of virile men.

There was a strict code that was established stipulating that each woman had to be accorded the same standard of living  – there was to be no second rate wife parked in a trailer. Or third or forth! I asked the Prince if he had more then one wife. We were at dinner and only one wife had accompanied him, but the previous evening, he had been surrounded by quite a few women. I hoped not to insult him or his lovely bride, but I was consumed by curiosity. He laughed, “Oh goodness, I could not handle or afford more than one wife! In fact most of my generation opt for one wife, it gets too complicated and too expensive! They become best friends and gang up on the husband. He doesn’t stand a chance!” Apparently, those other women from the previous night had been his wife’s sisters. I sighed with relief. I wanted to shout, “welcome to the 21st century!” But I bit my tongue.

A previously poly-amorous friend of mine said that after many years of “spreading the love” she had decided that the benefits monogamy outweighed her previous lifestyle. “The only way to have depth in a relationship is with one person.”

I see monogamy as a progression of humanity’s evolution. Just because it feels unnatural, doesn’t mean that is it! It just means that it is unfamiliar compared with thousands of years of primitive behavior. I am hopeful we are moving beyond a survival-based existence.

It is a privilege to dance on this earth with your beloved, your soul mate. Together you can reach the stars, plow the depths of your souls, experience communion, and witness eternity in each other’s eyes.

I think of the Vedas – the Sacred Hindu scriptures, “Within the microcosm, lies the macrocosm.” This means that the human body is a miniature prototype of the universal body. I have had experiences where I have connected to a sense of expansiveness – not on drugs, I swear! – When I felt like the planets and the stars were within me.

If each one of us is a prototype of infinity, then how could a man tire of one woman? It could only mean that he had reached his limitation of being able to experience his own infinite nature.

Monogamy is the journey of the beloved. It is the capacity to experience the all and-the-everything through the ONE.

What could be more beautiful? What could be more of a privilege?

Just because it is challenging on a daily basis, why does that make it unnatural? To see your true self reflected back through another, to know yourself to the depth of your soul. To reach into the mystery and find the answer in your beloved. What a gift!

May you all find your beloved – unless you already have – and may they kick your butt – as they inevitably will – until you become all that you can be!

And together, may you both help each other shuck everything less then love.

I pronounce you husband & wife!

On June 22, the Summer Solstice, aka Midsummer Night, I had the honor of marrying 2 adorable friends of mine – Ben & Jaime -both young enough to be my children, intoxicatingly in love, ridiculously glamorous & earthy and authentic. That about sums them up! I had never performed a wedding before, so I was understandably anxious when they asked me – what if I messed up their special moment? That could be awkward and mortifying! Ben & Jamie seemed strangely confident that I would be wonderful – how they could be so sure, considering I had no previous experience, was a mystery to me!

At least I couldn’t be worse than the minister who officiated Ben’s father’s wedding in January! He was a dead ringer for the minister in the movie Hangover 2. Wait a minute – It was the same guy! But his delivery wasn’t very smooth, and he kept mispronouncing the groom’s name and stumbling on the dialogue – I wondered if he had gotten sloppy after the luxury of getting to do multiple takes on film! Note to self – do not make the same mistake! There are no second takes up on that podium!

What was bizarre, is that I had become a minister back in January, when another friend of mine had told me that she might want me to marry her and her boyfriend. I really wanted the 2 of them to tie the knot, so I was inspired. Within 24 hours, I became an ordained minister – it actually was far easier than I expected!

After a brief meeting with the bride and a flurry of emails back and forth, I plunged into unfamiliar territory – the writing of a sermon. I agonized over it. I wanted it to be perfect for them. Casper suggested that I do it like the priest in Princess Bride! – thanks, honey, for being sooo helpful!

I guess I am a good advocate for marriage – I am married, for starters, through the thick and the thin of it. I have no illusions about what it takes to make a marriage work – lots and lots of work! I am both a romantic and a pragmatist. I believe deeply in the sanctity of marriage, and the institution of it, and the power of a witnessed covenant.

I wove all my life experience into my writing. Thank goodness I got a stamp of enthusiastic approval from the couple –  I definitely poured my heart and soul into their ceremony.

They sent a car for me to pick me up at Denver airport and gifted me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a lovely gift basket in my hotel room. I was touched by how thoughtful and appreciative they were.

At the rehearsal brunch, Ben shared about how his heart had physically hurt after he met Jaime, “I think it was because it was having to expand to take in all of her.” He pointed to his beloved, beaming. “I am the luckiest man in the world!” The love in the room was so palpable. The waterworks unleashed! Get a grip, girl! I hoped I didn’t cry during the ceremony!

Later I went back to the hotel to get dressed, and to my horror, saw that my pale green silk dress was covered in yellow blotches. Ugh! Why had I not noticed this before?!! How embarrassing! I had not brought anything else to wear! I looked in the mirror – this was decidedly a little more boho then the chic that I had planned! I prayed that the flounce of the silk would distract people from seeing the discoloration!

The bride decided that all the women in the wedding party should be barefoot as the wedding was in the garden – thank goodness I just had a pedicure! She thought it would be lovely for my feet to be covered in sparkles – which was fine by me – anything to take the focus away from the dress! Unfortunately, the maid of honor was a little too liberal with the glue spray can – which had to be applied so that the sparkles would adhere  – and she glued my toes together – making my feet look webbed!

It was almost show time! I could feel my heart pounding a bit too fast! I tried to take a deep breath, but there wasn’t sufficient give in the bodice. I don’t remember the dress feeling this tight! I am not sure how much was attributable to the altitude, but I was definitely having a hard time breathing. Crap, I was not feeling super confident! I started texting my friend Gabrielle for support – she kindly coached me into a more subdues state!

The garden had been transformed into a fairy wonderland with white rose petals everywhere. I trotted down the aisle, after Ben’s youngest sister who was dressed as a fairy flower girl, twirling my dress rather energetically to prevent the silk from sticking to my gluey-webbed feet. All the while praying that no one notice the tacky stains or the webbed feet!

I made it to the podium! Yeah! – Without tripping on my dress – which was precariously long in bare feet, or catching on fire – the groom’s sister was carrying a giant flaming torch dangerously close to me!

Ben joined me under an arbor draped in white orchids, wisteria and crystals. Miraculously, I became calm as soon as I focused on the joy in Ben’s face as he watched his stunning bride approach. Her face was overflowing with light and love and joy. Crap, I could feel the tears welling up again. And I had no Kleenex tucked away!

I rang a bell and plunged into my sermon. All 3 of us were nestled together under a cascade of white flowers. It was so intimate. I saw tears spilling down the bride’s face – it was contagious. At least she had access to her husband’s pocket handkerchief – I thought it might be tacky if I asked to share it! Then my nose started running! A couple of times, I turned away, trying to wipe the snot away, without being too obvious! I had never seen a minister cry before, I wondered how professional that was! Oh well! Couldn’t be helped!

They repeated after me, “You are my life, you are my love, my best friend…” Rings slid onto expectant fingers, I pronounced them husband and wife. And then, in a flash, it was all over!

Every single guest came up to thank me afterwards, saying that it was the loveliest ceremony they had ever witnessed. Oh boy, was I grateful! And grateful that Ben & Jaime had faith in me and had coaxed me to go beyond my comfort zone.  They both announced, “We could never have done this without you!” Which might have been a bit of an exaggeration! But generous, none the less!

Jaime’s manager came up to me afterwards to congratulate me. “Well, you probably do this all the time, it’s your profession, after all!” I died laughing. “I’m an actress, I’ve never done this before!” He looked so confused!

Truth be told – I loved the experience. It was so rewarding. Every word I uttered was such a testament of love – it just poured out of me, straight from my heart.

I would do it again, in a heartbeat!

Excerpt from the ceremony ~ a passage that Jaime picked ~

From “Corelli’s Mandolin” by Louise De Bernieres

 “Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides 

you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined 

together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is 

not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal 

passion… That is just being “in love,” which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over 

when being in love has burned away”

To do the film or not to do the film!

Casper and I both got offers to do a film.

The glitch is that our characters are both married to other people. My husband is Zeus, and his wife is Medea – who traditionally goes crazy and kills her children, but unfortunately for me – does not in this modified version of the Greek myth. Instead they go off happily into the sunset. To make matters worse, my character sees his character be all lovey-dovey with his screen wife. Puke!

(How immature do I sound right now?!)

At first, I was really excited at the prospect of working again – it’s been a while since I have done any acting– and, I like working with Casper.

He and I met on a film, we got engaged on a film, we have had many adventures working together around the world.

The character I have been asked to play is Hera, Queen of the gods. This would be a reprisal for me.  The 1st time I played her was for a Lexus commercial in 1998. I will never forget my audition – I tripped on the hem of my long white dress and did a face plant! I was mortified!

I started off reading the script – I was loving my character, loving the dialogue – the writer/director had written this character with me in mind, and he had gone a fantastic job. This dialogue fit me like a glove. This was such a great role. It would be so much fun to play the  goddess of them all!

And, then, all of a sudden, I got to a scene where Casper’s character has to smooch his wife, (not me!) in front of my character and tell her that he loved her. My heart sank. Ugh. I don’t know if I could stomach watching that without freaking out.

In previous films, where we have been confronted with similar situations, things have not worked out so well. In one film, I was so traumatized, that I froze and could not, for the life of me, remember my lines. It took me 30 takes. It was awful for me and for everyone else in the scene. In fact, that might be why I decided not to act for a long while!

I wish it didn’t bother me. But…it does. I am embarrassed to admit it. It doesn’t sound sophisticated or mature.

It sucks because I would really have loved to play this character. On top of that, how do I tell the director, who is a friend of Casper’s, the reason why I can’t be in his film? How professional does that sound?

I sound so silly. I keep telling myself – It’s just a job! – Why can’t it be just a job? I don’t know. I am a very visual person and I have a hard time erasing images from my memory. I tend to torture myself by regurgitating and reliving these flashbacks.

I didn’t always admit to being so messed up! I did try to be the supportive wife, dutifully attending every premiere, pretending that it didn’t bother me. But, deep down, it did. And, eventually, I had to be honest and decided that I had to take care of myself. It was better for me not to see him ‘acting in love’ with other women. Even if I knew intellectually that it wasn’t real, my nervous system and my heart couldn’t tell the difference. So, I stopped going to his screenings and I still change the channel when one of his films is on TV. Not all, just the ones where he has a romantic interest.

I feel like an ostrich sticking its head in the sand – As long as I don’t see Casper kissing or making out with anyone else, I can just about handle it.

We have a policy that our children don’t watch many of his films for the same reason. It is too confusing for them.

Over the years, Casper and I have gone through a lot of negotiation, figuring out what types of roles we could and couldn’t do as a married couple – and as parents.

We came to the conclusion that it would be best if we didn’t do love scenes with other actors anymore. It is just too weird and creepy.

I know that there are plenty of other married actors who say that it

doesn’t bother them at all – It is just part of the business. I really wish I were like that!

After reading the script, I went through some serious thinking last night, and, before I definitively say no, I am going to ask the director if he can stage the scenes so that I don’t have to see anything I don’t want to see (This is taking ostrich theme to an extreme!) We have a meeting on Thursday – let’s see what he says…

I want to make it work, i want to be brave, I just don’t know if I can! 😦