How to Make Peace with Marriage: A Saturn in Libra Lesson

Eat, Pray, LoveElizabeth Gilbert is doomed! After the “freaky” success of her book, as she stated at the TED conference last year, any work following Eat, Pray, Love would be compared to that standard. And I did compare the two books and found them to be good descriptions of the lessons of Saturn.

Saturn in Libra: making peace with marriage

As I started reading her sequel memoir on her love story with Felipe, the Brazilian gem broker she met in Bali at the end of the previous book, I am struck by how appropriate it is for this book to be published as Saturn enters Libra. The subtitle for Committed is “A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage.”

For the next two years (until October 2012), Saturn will put relationships at the forefront of people’s mind, testing our ability to make commitments and asking us to re-evaluate what we value in our relationships.

Saturn loves to be in Libra, the sign of balance and relationship, as it give us a chance to understand ourselves through our relationships. Through responsibility, patience, flexibility and endurance, we learn how to relate to others over extended periods of time. Saturn particularly dislikes an over-romanticized and impractical view of the world. In any area of life, Saturn is likely to shine his harsh light and reveal the flaws in the construction of our sandcastles.

Marriage as a prison

CommittedEat, Pray, Love told the story of how the author spent a year travelling to Italy, India and Bali so she could search for “everything” about herself.” Her decision was fueled by the end of her first marriage right during her Saturn return. (A Saturn return is when the planet goes back to the original position it was when a person was born. This happens every 29.5, or 30 years.)

According to Elizabeth Gilbert’s biography, she was born in Waterbury, Connecticut on July 18, 1969 with Saturn in Taurus. Saturn is the planet of responsibility, restriction, inhibition. Taurus is a sign with a strong need for security and a stubborn streak in the pursuit of its goals. With Saturn in Taurus, Elizabeth Gilbert puts her “nose to the grindstone” in discovering her values during her sabbatical year. One of them was that marriage was a prison. Badly “gutted” by her divorce, she wows never to marry again. She’d rather roam free.

Sentenced to marry

But Saturn has a way to teach you that what you are afraid of will come back to bite you. Felipe is not an American citizen and after one too many trips to the United States to visit Gilbert, Felipe is detained by Homeland Security and told that he could not return to the U.S. unless he had an American wife. Gilbert, then, is “sentenced to marry.” While waiting for the necessary visa to be processed, Gilbert starts researching on the institution of marriage as a way to deal with her anxieties concerning this impending doom. She feels “caught,” as Saturn forces her to reevaluate her beliefs on marriage and test her ability to make an enduring commitment.

The institution of marriage

In her book, Gilbert puts her researching abilities to work to help her understand the institution of marriage throughout history. She consults scholars, historians, and ordinary people including her grandmother. Marriage is an anachronism, a throw back from when there was a need for security in numbers. Contemporarily, marriage is seen as a timeless and unchanging institution; actually, it has been enormously elastic throughout history and across cultures. One thing that remained unchanged was that it had nothing to do with love. Only recently has marriage been viewed as a romantic enterprise: we marry because we think it will make us happy.

altarThe Marriage Imbalance

Like most people, Gilbert wants everything from the relationship: intimacy and autonomy, security and stimulation, reassurance and novelty. But as Saturn in Libra will be showing us that is maybe too much to ask from that institution. No relationship can fulfill us entirely and it should not. Not even the one we have with ourselves. We cannot ever be entirely autonomous, nor can we merge completely with another persona without losing ourselves in the process. Saturn in Libra requires us to balance our needs with somebody’s else, to balance our dreams and goals with those of another person. It’s a delicate, skillful “pas de deux.” We need to be constantly dancing around priorities, needs and wants while at the same time maintaining an attitude of openness and cooperation.

No easy solution

As with any matter involving Saturn, there is no easy solution to this dilemma. Just individual ones. Each solution must be earned through the Saturnian qualities of discipline, hard work and balance. Maybe a good starting point would be to ask less from marriage than what we have been asking, requiring it be less than what we think it should be. A phrase in Gilbert’s book is most illustrative: “Perhaps I was loading a far heavier cargo of expectation onto that creaky old boat of matrimony than that strange vessel had ever been built to accommodate.”

Reflecting back

As I finish reading Gilbert’s book, I cannot avoid reflecting back on the last time, Saturn was in Libra. At that time, I pursued relationships at any cost as a way to validate myself. It ended badly. Full circle back to Saturn in Libra, I have decided to stop looking for a relationship after my most recent breakup, having concluded that relationships are not my thing. But deep down, I suspect that what this book is trying to tell me, is that I need to find my own balance between the two extremes I have experienced.

While I am still a skeptic in need of convincing, I am open to finding that balance and that peace that Saturn in Libra tells us is there.

About the Author

Fabienne LopezFabienne Lopez is a counseling astrologer, creativity coach and blogger  whose sessions blend intuitive insight  and practical advice with humor and understanding. With over 7 years of experience, she incorporates Co-Active Coaching techniques into her consultations. She is the Chairperson for the San Francisco Annual International Astrology Day Conference, co-sponsored by the San Francisco Astrological Society and the San Francisco Bay Area NCGR chapter. She also teaches astrology classes and has a very active Experiential Astrology Meetup Group. More info at Astrology Unboxed.

This article is republished by permission of the author and originally appeared at Astrology Unboxed.



  1. While being in relationship isn’t always easy, I like how you talk about finding balance. I also know that to take responsibility for my own emotions, and my own experience, and not dump my hurts on my partner, is the best that I can do… even if I want to blame him for everything. 🙂

  2. Sultry Scorpio says:

    Great advice, Beth…it SO APPLIES to myself and my relationship right now! Thank you!! 😉

  3. @ Beth You also make peace by acknowledging your power to choose. Something we can easily forget. If you choose to remain in your relationship each day, then you are responsible for acting in a manner consistent with your choice. And sometimes being responsible for our choices can be overwhelming.

  4. @Sultry Scorpio
    Glad that the advice from Beth helped. It is so true that we need to avoid playing the blame game. It is a good start for better relationships.

  5. Lots of great material here Fabienne. Pondering how we navigate marriage/relationship is an ongoing adventure. I wanted to share that it was only when I made a decision very similar to the one you come to at the end of your post, to stop looking for a relationship/partner, that he appeared. And how it felt was completely different than anything I’d ever “chased” before. Twenty years later I’m still learning how to do this thing called marriage and appreciate your insights! Keep them coming.

  6. Hi Suzanne:

    Thanks for the compliment. I agree that podering how to naivgate relationships is an ongoing process. It takes time to admit and even more time to accept that marriage cannnot and should not fulffill all of our emotional needs and wants. I believe the shift in perspective is more difficult for women as society conditions us to think our relationships in terms of “soul mates”, “white knights in shiny armors”. It takes maturity and a couple of experiences to come to this understanding. But as you said, as soon as you stop looking for a solution outside of yourself, the relationship appears. As my friend Anthony Hernandez said you need to choose in each day to saty in a relaitonship.

  7. For the first 20 years of my adult life I jumped from relationship to relationship. Ironically, my only ambition in life was to me a mother. To be a mother, I knew I had to become a wife – hence lied the problem. Growing up watching my mother constantly battered, beaten and abused left me believing this is what marriage is. Therapy helped quite a bit but it only got me as far as recognizing that all marriages are not this way and all men are not brutes. I still had to learn to value myself and your statement “Saturn will put relationships in the forefront of people’s mind, testing our ability to make commitments and asking us to re-evaluate what we value in our relationships” struck a cord with me. It was about 12 years ago on a weekend intensive for self discovery that I realized I had no values (that I claimed for myself) to live by. Without knowing what it is I value for myself, I’d never know what it is I value in a relationship or a mate. Having my values has put me at ease with who I am and that I don’t need to be in a relationship to feel whole.

  8. Luba:

    Thank you for sharing your story.. You have come a long way, it seems. Way to go! You point out an important aspect of relationships which is to understand what are our values so that we can check them against a possible romantic interest. It is not all that we need to check out in order to be able to enter a relationship but it is an item on a list of check points.

  9. Thank you, I really enjoyed this article, Fabienne! But wait, reading that last self-disclosing bit where you decided that relationships really aren’t your thing…weren’t you at my astrology to draw true love alchemy lecture? 🙂 Wink. Seriously though, never too late to go date yourself- to learn about what makes you happy. I think that’s what ‘Liz’ did; maybe what ultimately helped her find a new personal paradigm for partnership.

  10. I loved it how you compared “eat,pray,love” to the union of Libra and Saturn. I always thought the tow couldn’t get along together, guess I was wrong. i still have to read Elizabeth’s book. Basing from this articles I still have a lot to learn about marriage. Kudos!

Feel free to leave a comment below, or scroll down a bit to comment using your Facebook identity. If you want to avoid having to enter your name and email every time you post, create an account. If you already have an account, login and you will be redirected back to this page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.