The first time I heard this. . . I winced. “Say what?” I was young and thought that meant giving up freedom of self, being controlled, no longer being “Laurie”, which – oddly enough is exactly what happened in my marriage to the father of my boys. This is not what the bible is teaching us, not at all.
Marriage is about a union of two human beings who make the promise to love each other for the rest of their lives. Recommitting daily. From this mornings (10/25/16) first reading (this was also the first reading back in June) copied and pasted as in my usccb bible reading email.
“Reading 1 Eph 5:21-33
Brothers and sisters:
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of his wife
just as Christ is head of the Church,
he himself the savior of the Body.
As the Church is subordinate to Christ,
so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the Church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the Church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh
but rather nourishes and cherishes it,
even as Christ does the Church,
because we are members of his Body.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church.
In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself,
and the wife should respect her husband.”
There are different explanations for “Falling in love”. I read just today (for the hundredth time) that “love is not an emotion”. I read a response to that statement that I thought was spot on. For those that are lucky enough to first find themselves with that strong feeling of attraction and – love, we begin to give of self. When that love is returned it does become an emotional joining of hearts and souls “but” it will not stay that way without work. Together we grow in love.
I think the level of work depends very much on the personalities of both people. Some have a chemistry that just seems to work smoothly – most of the time. Others? You look at them and wonder (observing) why they became a couple to begin with. Some have skills that help them more easily navigate the waters than others. All – will find challenges they have to work through together.
Unexpected things will pop up. Great Aunt Hilda may hate (strong word, I know) your new wife which makes family get together really challenging. Having babies and raising children will bring on challenges, as will who is going to keep an eye on grand baby 3 when grandpa volunteered, then wants to go play chess with an old friend. You get the idea. Little things come up, how you react to them and your ability to navigate through – together will make your marriage a happier loving union – or one that has more struggles to muddle through. Together is what matters. Keeping the commitment to each other, God and yourselves.
I came across this chart tonight and appreciate the examples given. Very, very important in marriage. Marriage is a Covenant is a relationship initiated by our loving God.
Looking at this chart, meant for both husband and wife you see no “submission’ per say. Marriage is not 50/50 – it is 100%/100% from both partners, then those times or days when one cannot put forth their full effort you work to stand strong for both.
Working together to ensure a continued religious and spiritual growth throughout your marriage that must come first. Raising a family, living in service to spouse, family and others, committing your love and support to each other every day, even those days you may not be happy with your spouse – and things you strive for, fall under the umbrella of God first. Keeping your marriage “in God, together” will help all other issues flow in an easier manner. We are commanded to keep God first.
Now, a bit more on the above bible reading. I think putting it simply, a “successful” Christian marriage is learning the fine art of humbling yourself to the other. Neither is “above” the other, both are God’s children. A wife submits to her husband as to the Lord, the husband submits to the wife as Christ did to the church. A loving husband in a Christian marriage knows his wife, discerning – keeping in prayer any serious matter he will consider his wife’s needs before his own as he knows she trusts him. A wife will honor her husband as the lord in the same way. A move our of state? One person may really have to make that call if it depends on a job opportunity, if a woman has carefully discerned her relationship, engagement and marriage she needs to trust her husband will make the correct decision, with love.
There is no room for abuse in a true marriage covenant. Love between man and woman is a gift from God. Marriage is an intimate union between equal partners. Both man and woman have different gifts to offer in this union. Catholic teaching is that couples are open to children in their marriage, if unable to bear children or past child bearing age couples are still to find ways to nurture younger generations together.
I would like to share one more thing before closing this article. Many of us may have read a saying at some point in our lives “a family that prays together, stays together”. I have seen truths in this. I have also come across websites for both wives and husbands that offer Christian support in marriages. Though feeling a bit on the outside, being a divorced woman (annulled), I follow a couple of Christian women’s pages on Facebook that I enjoy. Not all things are directly marriage related but many are. Including reminders to pray for your love, pray for spouse, pray yourself to be a good supportive partner, etc. These are great idea’s and offer a helpful foundation of support to couples in their marriages.
As a survivor of domestic violence, having noted how many reads the original posting of this essay had – I would like to add the following to reiterate that a true Christian marriage is about mutual submission, true caring and love – never intentionally abusive.