1.4 Let There be Light!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 10:00PM
Caring for Marriage

Let There Be Light!

The first step in our spiritual process is to see something that we had not seen before, to be aware of our potential or recognize our blind spots.

“I used to think that I was loving when I did nice things for my spouse resentfully. Now I realize that the fruit of the Resentment Tree is poison no matter how appealing it looks.”

“I realize my marriage is not working as well as I thought.”

“I thought my marriage was good because my partner took care of me, but now I see that I have been selfish in not taking care of my partner.”

The first step is to become aware. Become aware of...

...the Lord’s love for you and your marriage.
...emptiness and darkness in your life.
...your potential.
...self-centeredness, apathy, confusion.
...the things you value most of all.

Realize that the Lord has…

...created you for heaven.
...given you whole levels of more powerful thinking and feeling that you aren’t even aware of yet.
...stored up good things in you since your birth to build for the future.
...given you the ability to picture a better marriage and a better life.
...opened your eyes to some of your limitations so that you can grow.

Emptiness and Darkness

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth was formless, empty and dark. This is actually where we start with our marriages. It may be that the period of emptiness was before you met your partner, maybe a time when you were lonely and looking for love, or perhaps when you just didn't think about it. Or maybe you have been married for a while and found that your marriage did not live up to your expectations. Perhaps you are feeling that your marriage is empty and dark right now. Maybe you are arguing or not talking to your partner, possibly feeling even more lonely than before you were married. Another possibility is that you are feeling everything is fine with your marriage but you partner is suffering and you are in the dark about your partner's feelings.

The darkness in us is most of all our self-centeredness. In the beginning of marriage and in the beginning of life we tend to see everything that helps us or pleases us as good and everything that hinders us or causes pain as bad. If someone says something critical of us we may see an unkind person telling lies, but when we criticize others in similar ways we see ourselves as speaking the truth to bring about a positive change. This is because our thinking is centered on ourselves. It’s not that we are consciously being negative toward others. It’s just that we all can see things from our own perspective much more clearly than we can from others, and often how patterns of behavior that helped us survive work against us when we are trying to have genuinely healthy relationships.

For example, when people fall in love, there is often a self-centered aspect to it. Falling in love feels good. It boosts our ego. It feels safe. It feels exciting. We are willing to do anything for the person who brings so much goodness into our lives. But often things change. The person who seemed so loving has interests and habits we weren’t aware of at first. The person who seemed safe now seems mundane, and the excitement now seems scary. The one we loved for being a free spirit now just seems irresponsible. This decay in the relationship happens because we begin thinking of what we want and need from our partner instead focusing on what we can give to our marriage

Regardless of where you are in your marriage, your potential is far beyond what you have realized up to this point. You have abilities and talents that you have not yet dis-covered or developed and there are things about your partner that you haven't yet learned. There are still large tracts of undiscovered country in your marriage. If you are feeling an emptiness and darkness, it may be the very space in which the Lord can create something new.

 Brooding

For some people part of the emptiness may be in their relationship with God. God may seem distant or uncaring, or the whole idea of God may be dark and empty for them. Yet even when we are so disconnected from God, He cares about us. The Story of Creation describes the Spirit of God hovering over the face of the waters. “The Spirit of God stands for the Lord's mercy, which is portrayed as moving constantly, like a hen brooding over her eggs” (Secrets of Heaven 19). That is the way the Lord is watching over us. He says, "O Jerusalem… How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings...” (Matthew 23.37).

The Lord sees all of us with an eternal perspective. “Divine Providence in all its proceedings with us regards our eternal state” (Divine Providence 59). He is always paying attention to our potential. While the Lord hovers over us like a brooding hen, we are like eggs—full of possibilities, growing invisibly on the inside, but still unconscious of what most of those possibilities are. Somewhere in the process the shell has to be broken for the chick to hatch, and our self-centered illusions have to be shattered for us to realize the true potential of our marriage.

Just days ago there was snow on the ground, and now snowdrops are blooming and daffodils are poking their spears through decayed dead leaves of last fall. Warmer winds are caressing the barren trees, and the tips of their branches are blushing with swelling buds. Even though spring comes every year I still find it miraculous, as if the whole world is recreated in just a week or two.

The story about creation in the Bible has been widely debated by scientists and theologians in recent years, but frequently the focus of the debate is on the value of the Bible as a science textbook. By focusing on whether the creation story is literally true, we miss the real purpose of the Bible, which is to help us love our fellow human beings and the God who created them. The story of creation is really a story of how the Lord can create good things in our lives. This month we begin a series of articles on Recreat-ing Your Marriage, using the six days of creation in Genesis to show six steps you can take to transform your marriage.

 

 

Article originally appeared on Caring for Marriage Home (http://caringformarriage.org/).
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