While good communication between partners is universally recognized as an important element in a strong relationship, the functions of Mercury go deeper than that.
Judith Wallerstein in her 1995 book, “The Good Marriage” describes what astrologers would call a Mercury function as one of the 9 major tasks of making love last. She describes this task as “applying humor in appropriate ways and keeping the relationship interesting to laugh and ward off boredom and ennui.”
Still another aspect of Mercury that of the storyteller is an important quality in a long lasting relationship:
Those who endure have a story, and they stick to it. Robert Sternberg, dean of the school of arts and science at Tufts University, has researched this and has come up with about two dozen relationship stories, some good, some bad. The “fairy tale story” has a prince and a princess; the “visionist story” is a business model, accumulating homes, goods and successful children; the “travel story” says that life is a journey; the “police story” divides the partners’ roles into cop and perp, with the former constantly monitoring the latter; the “war story” means that two people expect constant fights. “What our research shows is that couples tend to be more satisfied if they have matching story profiles,” Sternberg says. Pair a fairy tale believer with a war story believer and “it won’t work,” he says.
Mercury, as the planet of communication, has an important role in maintaining a relationship, even those with less than desirable storylines. More than just being able to talk, Mercury lay the foundation of what the couple view as their reason for staying together.
In the composite chart the aspects that Mercury make to other planets indicates the story that the couple tells about the relationship. Often the heavy hitting planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto make connections to the messenger of the gods. The developmental tasks of these planets become the story of the relationship. Aspects to Uranus talk about the need of the partners to develop and keep a separate identity from the relationship. Neptune speaks about the need to merge in a relationship that becomes a spiritual union. Pluto asserts the need to transforms ideas about relationships.
Let’s take a look at the composite chart of Joann Woodward and Paul Newman, a “Hollywood” couple almost as famous for the longevity of their relationship as for their Oscar award winning work as actors.
In an industry in which long marriages might be defined as those that last beyond the first year and the first infidelity, Mr. Newman and Ms. Woodward’s was striking for its endurance. But they admitted that it was often turbulent. She loved opera and ballet. He liked playing practical jokes and racing cars. But as Mr. Newman told Playboy magazine, in an often-repeated quotation about marital fidelity, “I have steak at home; why go out for hamburger?”
[In 1958] Newman and Woodward married, a lasting match that Newman attributed to “correct amounts of lust and respect.” The couple had three children. Despite later rumors that not all was well in their marriage, Stern said the couple were committed and honored each other’s choices in life. Although Woodward once quipped that “a mind is a terrible thing to waste on a Trans Am,” Stern said, “They had real reverence for each other’s talents and pursuits and idiosyncrasies.”
Indeed in a time when there was significant backlash for women who dared to have their own careers, Newman supported her career goals. He produced 5 films with Woodward as lead, two of which netted Woodward a Golden Globe nomination and a Golden Globe award.
The composite chart is heavily tenanted with planets in the Uranus ruled sign of freedom loving Aquarius, but there is a strong concentration on the Neptune ruled sign of Pisces. The need to merge into a spiritual union is as strong as the need to remain individuals.
Mercury and Uranus form a Yod, called the finger of God, with Neptune in Leo confirming the initial impression of the chart. In their relationship story is a sense of destiny, of having to be together. Yet, with the strongly Uranian flavor, the story was also that “no one else can understand us. It’s us against the world.”
Photo printed from a Creative Commons license from Flickr
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Filed under: relationships, Uncategorized Tagged: | communication in a relationship, developmental tasks, free astrology, Joann Woodward, Mercury, Neptune and Pluto, Paul Newman, relationship astrology, romance, Uranus