I certainly will never pass myself off as a licensed relationship counselor, but from my own relationship of the last 14 years, which was a Hellenic union and marriage, I know what creates strength and weakness, love and hate, union and dissolution.
I remember a long time ago a friend of mine, who wasn't a Hellenist or any religion as far as I knew, asked me to pray for her marriage, as it was on the verge of divorce. I said I'd ask Hera for help (Queen of heaven and the Goddess of marriage).
A few days later, my friend told me that her relationship had miraculously improved. I haven't heard from her since, and I hope things are still going well, but the first point is that when you put Hera at the center of your union, it will never break.
Of course, it was first Aphrodite, Goddess of love and passion, who brought my wife and I together. Still to this day, after the better part of 20 years of being together, we still have just as much passion for one another.
The hard part, at the beginning of our relationship, was that neither of our families approved. They either felt one wasn't good enough for the other, or that it was something that was happening too fast and hasty. But sometimes, that's the way the universe works.
So literally, we ran away together. We didn't care what others thought. She left her home, and I mine. We didn't look back either. For a short time, we were technically homeless until we managed to get into a hotel here and there, in which we stayed until our first apartment was finally secured.
When you want to be with someone and the opportunity to change your life for the better is there, don't bother yourself with the opinions of other people. Listen to what the Gods and your heart tell you.
Some may be critical of spontaneous love, but I can verify that it is an indicator of the strongest kind. If you have to work to get someone to love you, it's just not meant to be. A natural connection does not require labor, nor can it ever be destroyed, just as energy itself cannot be.
When we rented our first apartment together in High Point, North Carolina in the summer of 2009, we were so poor that I was astounded they even gave us one in the first place, and as nice as it was to add. We literally had nothing but our laptops, clothes to sit on, and an air mattress for sleep.
But we were as happy as we could be, even though we didn't have any material. We didn't even have good jobs at the time. Nevertheless, we were delighted just to be with each other in our own place, away from everything and everyone else. Therefore, I'd say the second phase is finding someone who is willing to run away with and love you for you only.
Of course, finding someone who only wants you for you may not be that easy if you're rich or well off. In that case, I really can't give advice because I've never been rich. But what I can say is that someone who wants you when you're poor, won't leave you when you're rich. So if you want a lifelong partner, get one either when you're poor, or who doesn't know you're not.
However, we could not have possibly guessed what was to come next, something that would change so many lives, including ours, forever; a severely premature baby. Even though Gryphon pulled through amazingly after being born at only 24 weeks, he still has issues he will have to work through throughout his life.
Why does this have such an impact on the marriage between my wife and I? Because over 80% of marriages with children with disabilities end in divorce or separation. Ours never did. That's not to say it hasn't had its difficult times, but the hardships uniquely made us stronger together.
When Gods like Zeus, Athena, Artemis and Apollon are part of your life, you realize that you have a duty and an obligation to others, no matter how difficult things may become at times. It was mine to love my wife and be there for my son, because I had assisted in bringing this union together and creating our child. My personal feelings and stresses are irrelevant when it comes to duty.
In short, Hellenism instills in you honor. Honor is the most important of all virtues, because without it, there is nothing you won't do under the right circumstances. Honor puts the personal to the side and brings to the top what is simply right and what is simply wrong. Would it have been much easier to leave my marriage? Quite possibly. But easy isn't always right, nor does it always make you better.
Additionally, the more you experience hardships and trials together, the more love and strength your connection will have. Don't run or recoil from challenges if they come. Instead invoke the Gods, take each other's hand, and push through them. Whatever you do, never see one another as the enemy or the reason for your troubles. You are in it together. Your partnership is supposed to help you manage things better. Use it.
Life is not easy. It's a full time job, full of stress, health and financial issues, and sometimes even legal concerns. But I tell you truly, the Gods and your love will bring you through all of it.
One might say, "Yes, but why bother? If it's been that hard a significant amount of the time, wouldn't it be better to just not go through it?"
The answer is, if you never want to change for the better and you don't want to get the most out of a relationship, then no, it's not worth your time. Otherwise, it's worth every step. You'll notice progress for the better, just as we have. Things have always improved slowly but surely. We are a world better off now than when we first met. It's not even a close comparison. For two reasons; the Gods and the refusal to give up.
In the Goodness of the Gods,
I'll see you at the next Herm down the road,