Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Friday, June 26, 2015

Entrustment to Mary = Viewing My Spouse Through God's Eyes

Our parish started up a Marriage Ministry group, which includes Date Nights once a month.  For my husband and I, this is wonderful - planned date nights on the last Friday of the month, with babysitting included on the parish grounds.  After dropping off our kids into the capable and caring hands of an adult couple and multiple teens, we are greeted next door by other team members with a tray of red or white wine.  The tables are set with care - candles, candies, gourmet snacks, prayer intention cards for the prayer tree.  A spread of delicious appetizers are offered before the program begins:  a speaker, table discussions and individual couple private prayer together.

I bring this up because although my husband and I were familiar with much of the material, one of the points was to take a look at how our marriage, and marriage in general, is reflected in the world.  For example, are we affectionate?  Are we joyful?  Do we support our spouse - in public?  Can those around us see our relationship as one of hope and joy and prayer?  Do they see the positive aspects of marriage, the beauty amidst the struggle?  The speaker asked us to even take a look at how we were sitting next to our spouse at that very moment.  Did we reflect unity? Joy?  Friendship?  In some ways, married couples were to blame for the many younger couples cohabitating instead of trusting in the grace and beauty of the Sacrament of Marriage.  What kind of example are married couples providing to the younger generation?  Are we bitter?  Complaining?  Critical?  How easily do we forgive and reflect God’s mercy to one another?
My husband and I are close to 19 years of marriage.  I am amazed at how well God chose my spouse for me.  He knew I needed someone who was lighthearted, prayerful, and brutally honest.  God saw to it that I could discover His forgiveness and patience and affection through my husband.  He brought me someone who can calm me, refocus me, and see the positive – God’s very loving Presence – in difficult situations.  It has taken these years for me to appreciate how God is loving me through my spouse.  So many times I am tempted to call my husband to an impossible standard of perfection.  Even after all these years, I am unfairly disappointed with his weaknesses.  God allows these weaknesses, of course, so that I do not make an idol out of my husband and continue to seek a deeper union with Himself. However, God also, in His great humor, has allowed me to experience so much more of my own weakness in order to soften the lens through which I view my husband.  I’ll share a few light examples: 

First, I have prided myself on my great memory.  In the workplace, my co-workers used to even comment that my memory was like a steel trap.  Recently, my husband received a jury duty summons, which I scanned and filed and marked on our calendar.  The evening he was to call in, I pulled out the summons, only to find out that I had completely forgotten to fill out the online survey within 10 days of receiving the notice (yes, me, as we have agreed that I would be in charge of paperwork in our household).  He was not in the system and therefore didn’t know whether he was to report the next morning or not.  Of course, the fine print warned of fines or jail time if one was not to report to jury duty.  He shrugged it off, and said he would call in the morning.  Even though he trusted me to keep him informed, he reflected God’s great mercy.  If the roles had been reversed, I would have freaked out completely! The situation humbled me greatly. 

Second, my husband, in his great exhaustion from his workload at his jobsite and at home, has taken on a deeper level of snoring.  So many nights I lay awake, irritated beyond belief, and wake up cranky and resentful for my lack of a good night’s sleep.  I prayed about my frustration, and do you know how God answered my prayers?  He allowed my husband to be awakened in the middle of the night by my snoring!  What?!  I don’t snore, usually, but, gratefully my husband found it funny, not annoying.  If my husband can accept my weaknesses with a sense of humor, I am more humbled and inclined to accept his. 

The longer we are married, the more I see the need for God’s grace to sustain us, encourage us, and bring us back to joy.  I am grateful for my entrustment to our Blessed Mama, because so many times I have called upon her to soften my heart and my words and my tone.  She is the one who helps me stand in truth when working out a disagreement with my husband.  She is the one who helps me ask for his forgiveness when needed. She is the one who can beg for repair for the damage I do with my careless tongue.  She is the one I turn to when I don’t feel like being affectionate or kind or want to watch his choice of movie.  She is the one who helps me love my husband in the ways in which He needs to be loved.  Basically, she is the one who protects our marriage from my ego, which happens to get in the way most of the time!

God has called us to a profound vocation – to be an instrument of His Love to our spouse and to reflect that love in the world. He has allowed us, weak and helpless, to partake in creation and build up His Church through our family life.  He has entrusted souls to us, for heaven’s sake!  I cannot nor do I want to handle this on my own.  Thank you, God, for the graces of this Sacrament that you continue to pour upon us and make available each and every day.  Thank you for trusting us, that in discovering our weaknesses, we discover our need for You.  With a tad more humility, perhaps the world and the younger generations can get a glimpse of Your great Presence within the Sacrament, and seek the graces for themselves with great hope and joy.

…Quite often it will simply be impossible to look at our spouses through the eyes of God.  However, we have to remember that what counts most of all is that we attempt to do this, not that we always succeed.  We need to humbly turn to God and beg Him to grant us the grace of looking at our spouses as if through His eyes.  We have to ask ourselves these questions: Are we doing this?  Are we asking God for such grace? Are we begging for Him to dwell in us, live in us, and use us as instruments in His relationship to our spouses?  (S.C. Biela, God Alone Suffices, 3rd ed [Ft. Collins, CO:  IAMF, 2011], 32.)

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