Stan and I are celebrating our 33rd Anniversary – I’m telling you, that came fast! I believe strongly that marriage is ordained of God and is the basis for a strong, successful family; as well as vital for a thriving community and prosperous country.
It is imperative for the wife and husband to maintain their individuality, while equally crucial to be companions with shared righteous goals. My soon to be published novel, “A Mother’s Shadow” addresses marriage and I’m thrilled to share an excerpt: Some years back, my husband and I went to Tulum, Mexico. In one area, the ancient ruins have high walls on either side of a narrow path. These walls are comprised of chiseled and stacked rocks, which stand parallel to each other and flanking the constricted corridor. Interesting carvings are found atop the two facing walls, which resemble the faces of a man and a woman gazing at each other.
A narrow path separates the sculptured man and woman with just enough space for a person to walk between them. What if the couple had the ability to draw closer? Could the gap fade away, until they were literally eye-to-eye? What does it take for a man and his wife to close the gap and be one in purpose? To be one as a benefit to each other and to their family? What sacrifice is required? Obviously, anything which is selfish or unholy; however, one should also contemplate what other vices or distractions draw spouses apart, emotionally and spiritually.
Consider a portion of The Screwtape Letters: A Devil’s Diabolical Advice for the Capturing of the Human Heart by C.S. Lewis. In the book, Screwtape, a high ranking authority under the devil, writes letters to his apprentice Wormwood, giving instructions on how to lure the patient he has been assigned (a human man) from the Enemy (God) to “their side.” Screwtape addresses one of his letters to Wormwood concerning the man’s relationship with his mother.
“Build up . . . in that house, a good settled habit of mutual annoyance: daily pinpricks. It is, no doubt, impossible to prevent his praying for his mother . . . . Make sure that they [his prayers] are always very ‘spiritual,’ that he is always concerned with the state of her soul and never with her rheumatism. Two advantages will follow. In the first place, his attention will be kept on what he regards as her sins, by which, with a little guidance from you, he can be induced to mean any of her actions, which are inconvenient or irritating to himself. Thus you can keep rubbing the wounds of the day a little sorer even while he is on his knees. . . . His ideas about her soul will be very crude and often erroneous, he will, in some degree, be praying for an imaginary person. I have had patients of my own so well in hand that they could be turned at a moment’s notice from impassioned prayer for a wife’s or son’s ‘soul’ to beating or insulting the real wife or son without qualm.”
“When two humans have lived together for many years, it usually happens that each has tones of voice and expressions of face which are almost unendurably irritating to the other. Work on that. Let him assume that she knows how annoying it is and does it to annoy, he will not (realize) the immense improbability of the assumption. And, of course, never let him suspect that he has tones and looks which similarly annoy her.”
Couples quarrel, each supposing he or she is correct and justified, seldom choosing to focus on the mote in the other’s eye, while generally forgetting the beam in one’s own. It is good to ask the following question: “Does this happen in my home?”
Unfortunately, for many, this is a daily occurrence and even considered normal. One should be on guard, however, as irritations, provocations, and self-interests can lead to the gradual and almost undetectable erosion of a marriage. A person striving to be a model of all that is good, will want to make amends, heal hurts, and transform their own weaknesses into strengths for the sake of their loved ones.
I hope we will work in our marriages to forgive, (in cases of abuse, get all possible help from authorities) let go of disappointments and come closer to each other, until truly eye-to-eye. To be one in purpose and goals in regards to raising resilient children who love God; while making our homes a place of peace, love and a refuge from the storms of life. A home where the husband and wife can find comfort in the other, each will work to be a happy and content spouse, strive to be a trusted and loyal friend and buoy the other to meet another day of life’s battle.
These are elements of an example we want our children to see, so they can emulate it in their own future families. As we strive, with clear focus and intent to make God a partner in our marriage, all else will fall into place and there will be unimaginable joy and love.
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015
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