I have said that consummate love in a monogamous, lifelong partnership is my life’s greatest goal. Marriage is the school of love. By working at union with this one person, I am practicing and growing towards union with One and All.
What about the single life? How and where does the un-paired person seek union, both temporal and eternal? There are strong anthropological and spiritual drivers for mating. Yet any philosophy that is not inclusive of every person’s bio-psycho-social circumstance is flawed and falls apart, just like any scientific theory that ignores some portion of natural phenomena is rather pointless.
For the single person, more of the unitive path runs through community and solitude. Without the demands of a primary commitment, you can nurture many more relationships. Instead of focusing on meeting the needs of one person, you can be of service to countless others in group settings. In the midst of several long-term, deep friendships, a true family emerges. You rightly call each other sister and brother, just as the vowed religious do.
Community is the blindside for couples. They tend to “put all their eggs in one basket.” When suddenly faced with divorce or death of a spouse, they can suddenly be very alone with no practice of developing friendships. Without the possibility of neglecting community, single adults are better prepared for a single elderhood.
Solitude is another healthy part of living that couples often either fail to schedule or regard with much suspicion. Periods of silence and solo retreat, preferably in nature, are practice for union with the more-than-human world and with the Spirit of your understanding.
It is this unity in Spirit that we all seek, married or unmarried, coupled or single. Maybe marriage is the “El Camino Real” to unitive consciousness, but community-based persons also get there and experience more of the world along the way, figuratively and often literally.