A New Way of Understanding Marriage
An excerpt from The Zimzum of Love by Rob and Kristen Bell
We want to give you a new way of understanding marriage.
It’s called the zimzum of love.
At first, it’s just you.
Your life is mostly about you. Your friends and your work and your schedule and your interests and your goals and your thoughts and all the rest of what makes your life your life.
Your center of gravity extends roughly as far as you.
But then you meet someone—or you’ve known someone for a while—and that person has their own life, with their own center of gravity, and your heart begins to shift toward them.
You find yourself thinking about them, drawn to them. When you’re not with them, you miss them, you ache for them, your phone rings and when you see that it’s them you feel a surge of electricity through your body.
You talk for hours. You start arranging your life so that you can spend as much time as possible with them as your lives become increasingly intertwined.
As you become familiar with what moves and drives and inspires them, their well-being begins to matter to you more than your own. You find yourself making sacrifices for them, while they’re doing the same for you.
It’s here that you become aware of a subterranean shift, a tectonic slide in your heart, one that alters the course of your life:
Your center of gravity expands.
You are in new territory.
Before, it was just you.
Now, it’s you—and
this other person.
Before, there was one.
Now, there are two.
As you intentionally create space for this person in your life and they create space in their life for you, this movement creates space between you—space that has an energetic flow to it.
This flow in the space between you is like an energy field or an electrical current. It’s the draw, the pull, the magnetic attraction that leads you to give yourself to this person in a way you don’t give yourself to anyone else on the planet.
It’s a vibrant, pulsing, humming flow that stirs your heart and causes your soul to soar. You talk about falling in love because of the feeling of weightlessness it evokes; you speak of finding your other half because of those moments when your boundaries feel porous, like you don’t know where you end and they begin. You speak of being swept away, like you’re caught up in something bigger than the both of you, like you’re flying, the intoxicating attraction you feel toward another human being taking you both somewhere new and thrilling.
You find each other, your centers of gravity expand as your lives become more and more entwined. You create space for this other person to thrive while they’re doing the same for you.
This creates a flow of energy in the space between you.
This energy field is at the heart of marriage. It flows in the space between you, space that exists nowhere else in the universe.
You can become more familiar with how this energy field works.
You can develop language between you to identify what’s happening in the space between you.
You can sharpen your abilities to assess it.
You can act in certain ways to increase the flow.
You can identify what’s blocking the flow, and then you can overcome those barriers.
Years into your marriage, you can continue to intensify this energetic flow between you.
It is risky to give yourself to another. There are no guarantees, and there are lots of ways for it to fall apart and break your heart. But the upside is infinite.
There is a mysterious, indescribable, complex exchange that can happen in the space between you, filling you with joy, confirming your intuition that marriage is not only good for you, but good for the world. Marriage has the uniquely powerful capacity to transform you both into more loving and generous and courageous and compassionate people. Marriage—gay and straight—is a gift to the world because the world needs more—not less—love, fidelity, commitment, devotion, and sacrifice.
We’re for marriage, and we want to give you a new way of understanding marriage.
We call this way the zimzum of love.
Excerpted from The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage by Rob and Kristen Bell. Copyright © 2014 by WORB, Inc. Published by HarperOne, an imprinf of HarperCollins Publishers.