This seemed like a timely meditation to post on today’s Feast of St. Jude, patron of hopeless causes. I wrote it a few months ago.
Among the causes of broken marriages are unduly high expectations about conjugal life. Once it becomes apparent that the reality is more limited and challenging than one imagined, the solution is not to think quickly and irresponsibly about separation, but to come to the sober realization that married life is a process of growth, in which each spouse is God’s means of helping the other to mature. Change, improvement, the flowering of the good qualities present in each person – all these are possible. Each marriage is a kind of “salvation history”, which from fragile beginnings – thanks to God’s gift and a creative and generous response on our part – grows over time into something precious and enduring. Might we say that the greatest mission of two people in love is to help one another become, respectively, more a man and more a woman? — Pope Francis #amorislaetitia
I have a person I know who said to me not long ago (and told me I could share the gist):
My husband and I are far from ‘there.’ We got issues and we’re incompatible in lots of ways. We didn’t know that when we married. Love was blind then. I’ve found the key to making our marriage work isn’t just seeing things for what they are, but seeing things with love. Our marriage works only because our blind love became seeing love. But if we gave up either the love or the seeing, we’d never’ve made it this long [23 years]. I totally get why people call it quits early on when reality strikes. And why wives can grow critical and hard and husbands distant and resentful. It sucks when you live like that. I totally get that. We were there for a while.
Father John [their 68 year old pastor] said it this way to us when we went for help: ‘Jesus didn’t call you to romance, he called you to Rome. To hard love. And Rome is where martyrs made an Empire Christian; martyrs are the ones who changed a whole civilization with their sacrificial love. One man, one woman, one marriage at a time. Marriage isn’t about cheap grace. It’s a diamond and diamonds are made under great pressure.’ I love that image.
Best part is that once we accepted that kind of love as the real point, as the real glue, romance became possible again because then you get a safe zone and can have something like an enchanted way of seeing your husband; or of him seeing me; and you can then see good where you saw none. You can love the stuff you don’t like or see the good that’s there. Or not! But it’s okay. As long as we’re both trying. Fr. John said a cool thing and my husband and I pray it all the time: ‘Ask God to let you see each other like He sees you.’ When I pray for that, I feel God say: ‘Get real. You didn’t marry an angel.’ And look I’m no saint! And God loves me like He’s crazy. Hey, if it works for God, it works for me, right?