Love and Marriage: The Power of Love
THE BEST VOICE IN THE WORLD !
“In sickness and in health.”
“…Forsaking all others…”
“… To honor and keep… as long as you both shall live…”
The promises of marriage speak of permanence, consistency and continuity. Where, then, is there room for change? What does it really take for couples to grow individually and together within the marital relationship?
It’s All About Expectations
Marriage and family therapist Linda Mintle believes even the best commuciators and conflict solvers can stumble unless they dispel common myths ‘with solid marriage truths” For example:
- Myth # 1: I can change my spouse. In reality, people can only change themselves. Working to reinvent a mate can only lead down a path of hurt feelings and resentments. As one wise wife said, “My job is to love my husband. It’s God’s job to change him.”
- Myth # 2: We’re just too different. Incompatibility can’t kill a relationship. The important thing is how people deal with differences. For example, Fran loves opera while her husband Bob is an avid football fan. So they compromise. If Bob doesn’t want to miss a big game, Fran attends the opera with a friend instead of him. The two find that their needs are usually met while they maintain harmony.
- Myth # 3: I’m not ‘in love’ anymore. Feelings of ‘in-loveness” can be restored, asserts Dr. Mintle. “Remember your history. Identity what attracted you both in the first place…. And in an act of faith, believe God will turn your relationship around.”
- Myth # 4: Nothing can fix our troubled relationship. When your marriage looks hopeless because of an impasse or because problems seem insurmountable, open your eyes to the truth that God is with you. Nothing is impossible with God.
Committing to Love
Happy marriages – fruitful, rewarding and nurturing – do offer room for development. Through mutual and loving respect for one another’s individuality and an unwavering fidelity to the honoring commitment made, husbands and wives can lay the foundation for a lasting and joyous partnership.
Marriage, as instituted by God, is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman joined in an intimatge loving bond. Without a fundamental commitment to love and faithfulness, a marriage has little chance of happiness. When honored, the commitment itself can be a springboard for growth, progress and mutual development.
When Deborah and Jeff’s home business was forced into bankcruptcy, Deborah was plagued by doubts “about why we got married, whether we should have had children – everything,” she said. “Even though I felt like copping out on our marriage, I couldn’t.”
Erin Smalley, a family counselor from Missouri, believes the love and commitment inherent in marriage is found in Jesus’ teachings “When he said, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ This needs to be a decision (my husband and) I make every day,” she says.
Author and psychiatrist Anthony Storr says: “A happy marriage perhaps represents the ideal human relationship – a setting in which each partner, while acknowledging the need of the other, feels free to be what he or she by nature is; a relationship in which instinct as well as intellect can find expression; in which giving and taking are equal; in which each accepts the other, and ‘I’ confronts ‘Thou.’”
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act. – Psalm 37:4-5
A profound and practiced awareness that marriage is a bonding of two individuals is one of the most important factors that sets apart “thriving” married couples from those who fail or simply survive. Honoring each other’s uniqueness can unite a couple.
- After 52 years of marriage, Louis and Jeanne Hill say that respecting their differences has been one of the most important ingredients in their marriage’s success. Although the two differ on political issues, they “don’t need to feel the same way about everything to be in love,” says Jeanne. They learn from each other. “Once, we ended up voting for the other’s favored candidate,” Jeanne adds.
- Lucille Morton never intended to remarry after her husband of 40 years died. When widower Wendell Morton proposed, Lucille feared their differences would spell disaster. “He liked sports, I didn’t. He was a man of few words and I talked a lot. How would we get along?” but since marrying, the couple has learned that they bring out the best in each other.
- Say Harvard University negotiation expert Sheila Heen, “Finding a way to work around each other’s eccentricities can be a lifelong project. Perhaps that’s why you vowed to give it a lifetime trying.”
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God. – 1 John 4:7
Fostering Spiritual Intimacy
According to one couple, “The more we pray together, the closer we feel to God and each other. It is the most instrumental thing we’ve done to help us deal with problems and crises.”
While there are many dimensions to a fulfilling marriage, spiritual intimacy is key. Writer H. Norman Wright asserts that in more than 35 years of marriage to his wife, Joyce, “Developing our spiritual intimacy is the foundation for a lasting marriage.” Praying for each other is the first step.
In the book Two Shall Agree, by Carey and Pamela Roswell Moore, Carey writes that praying together by nature leads to greater closeness. “I cannot be careless or insensitive in what I say to Pam and then pray with her. When we come into His presence, God searches our hearts,” he writes.
Here are some ideas for couples who want to share their prayer life:
- If praying alound together is uncomfortable, pray silently. Or, share written prayers.
- Read a book on prayer together.
- Change your location. Try praying together while on a long walk.
- Try something new. One couple found Sunday night to be the best time for prayer. The morning’s worship remains fresh. They get a chance to tell each other what’s on their minds.
Where two ro three are gathered in My name, I am there among them. – Matthew 18:20
Handling Life’s Challenges
“You’ve got to say ‘yes’ to this miracle of life as it is, not on the condition that it follows your rules,” says writer Joseph Campbell.
Whether you’re coping with the changes brought on by the birth of a baby, a career shift, illness, empty nest syndrome or retirement, it’s good to know that many couples have worked out these challenges through faith, love and acceptance.
- Kristen and Zig loved their expensive Oregon home, filled with grand furnishings and antiques. But when they realized Kristen was spending compulsively, they got counseling. She says, “We can talk about money more reasonably now.”
- When Annie and Steven Yanovsky were first married, life seemed idyllic. Then Steven was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Annie became the caregiver. “He could barely feed himself,” she recalls. She learned to rely on humor and perseverance. Although Steven’s tumor was ultimately declared benign, she calls caring for her husband “the hardest job I’ve ever loved.”
- Joann and Tom experienced the pain caused by Tom’s infidelity. The couple relied on Scripture, first, to address the ordeal. Eventually, they reconciled, and continue to work on moving beyond the betrayal of trust.
In her book Called to Marriage: Journeying Together Toward God, author Carol Luebering cites forgiveness as one of the most essential spiritual elements of the marital commitment. Without it, resentments mount, inhibiting growth and intimacy.
“After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again,” wrote C.S. Lewis, the renowned spiritual writer. “Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again.”
Moreover, couples who grow from crises usually don’t do so alone. They get support from friends, clergy, professional counselors, each other and most of all, God. Says one woman who endured difficult financial times with her husband, “Support came from faith in God – that there would be a way out.”
Says marriage and family studies expert Gary Oliver, “God doesn’t want us merely to ‘get through’ our problems. He wants us to ‘grow through’ them. Jesus didn’t died and rise again so we could be mere survivors. He doesn’t want us to merely survive the difficulties; He wants us to thrive in the midst of them.”
Ah Lord God! It is You who made the heavens and the earth!… Nothing is too hard for You. – Jeremiah 32:17
The Greatest Inspiration of All
“The mystery of human participation in God’s plans, in His creation, provokes meditation,” Writes John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey. “Consider the miracles we encounter every day in every couple. Two people did not have to meet. Had she taken another bus, had he not gone out with his friend, ‘they’ might never have met. But they did meet. Nothing ‘had’ to develop between them. Yet, despite the ups and downs, they did decide (for love in the end is a decision) to express their love in marriage.”
Think about it: the unlikely convergence of so many forces coming together to bring two people into a lifetime bond of love is not only inspiring, it may be a couple’s best encouragement to keep going.
Dan and Mary Ann hit a spiritual wall when their efforts to have children failed repeatedly. They worked on ways to comfort each other, including prayer. Gradually, their peace of mind, acceptance and gratitude increased. “Our prayer went from ‘Lord, give us children’ to ‘Lord, let us see your will’,” says Dean.
“Change is part of life,” says one Minnesota woman who has been married for 14 years. “To expect otherwise is unrealistic. Work as a team, and the changes give opportunity for triumph – together.”
Good marriages don’t just “happen.” Marriage can be a joyous basis for both individual and mutual growth – if each partner truly desires it. The journey is filled with challenges and surprises, but a commitment to a solid marriage can reap benefits for a lifetime.
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. – Ephesians 5: 31
“Harmony is the spiritual beauty of any intimate relationship. It is elegant coexistence, peaceful compatibility, a similarity of frequency. It is knowing that you share the same view of the world, that what you want out of life runs along parallel lines. It’s looking at your beloved and being able to say to yourself, ‘We stand for the same things, don’t we? We may encounter some rought spots, but at the heart we both share the same values.’” – Daphne Rose Kingma, A Lifetime of Love: How to Bring More Depth, Meaning and Intimacy into Your Relationship
(Source: Christopher New Notes No. 466, 5 Hanover Square, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10004; www.christophers.org )
Read the Other Related Articles, please click the links below:
- The True Meaning of Marriage
- The Vocation of Marriage: http://foryourmarriage.org/the-vocation-of-marriage/
- Marriage as a Covenant: http://foryourmarriage.org/marriage-as-covenant/
- Why are Married Parents are Important to Children?: http://foryourmarriage.org/married-parents-are-important-for-children/
- Do Children Really Make a Marriage Less Happy?: http://foryourmarriage.org/do-children-really-make-a-marriage-less-happy/
- Marriage: The Later Years: http://foryourmarriage.org/marriage-the-later-years/
- Humility: Foundation for Marital Happiness: http://foryourmarriage.org/humility-foundation-for-marital-happiness/
- Gratitude: Foundation for Marriage: http://foryourmarriage.org/virtue-of-gratitude/
- Four Elements of Conflict Resolution: http://foryourmarriage.org/four-elements-of-conflict-resolution/
- Overcoming Obstacles on Pornography: http://foryourmarriage.org/everymarriage/overcoming-obstacles/pornography/
- Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and Marriage. To watch, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2273
Here-under are some articles about marriage for you to read or watch:
- Getting to know you, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=284
- Be Positive, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=288
- Love and Marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=292
- Endless Love – Marriage after all, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=294
- Say it with love, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=298
- Quality family moments, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=300
- Secret of successful marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=302
- The vocation of marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1968
- Marriage as Covenant, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1974
- Humility: Foundation for Marital Happiness, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1986
- Gratitude: Foundation for marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1980
- True Meaning of marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1972
- Marriage and incompatibility, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2112
- Love is a garden, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2116
- Three kinds of love, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2095
“God himself is the author of marriage” (GS 48:1). The vocation of marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes (CCC:1603)
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We are used to thinking of the Rockefellers as simply a byword for wealth, power and financial success. Perhaps we might think of them as determined businessmen or see them as great philanthropists. But the truth is far different; the Rockefeller Foundation is actively undermining the Catholic Church, and in the process, attempting to erase man’s natural orientation to the eternal.
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