Some people work harder in their relationship with Christ than others do. They put more effort into purifying themselves and strengthening themselves against sin. In marriage, which Jesus considers to be so important that he makes a full commitment to it through the Sacrament of Matrimony, this hard work can make the difference between permanence and divorce. But rarely do both spouses work equally hard at overcoming their sins and weaknesses and old wounds that are still affecting them today. How does this inequity affect the marital relationship?
It’s the source of strife. It’s also the source of challenges that invite growth, both individually and as a couple.
The one who works harder learns to rely on God more for the spiritual growth that the spouse cannot understand. This isn’t what we want to learn, however. We prefer to look to each other for strength and help in the growing process, because we are called to be the tangible presence of God for each other. We are called to be active in the vocation of strengthening the faith of our spouse (and our children and others who witness our marriage).
The difficult truth is: Our spouse cannot be the faith-building helper we need all the time. And this is good! Because that spouse is not God.
How many times do we look to our sweetheart hoping that he or she can be as good as God? This only leads to disappointment. Instead, let us challenge ourselves to grow stronger with the help of the Holy Spirit, keeping our eyes on Jesus, looking at our beloved through his eyes, and putting whole-hearted effort into our own purification, regardless of what our sweetheart does or does not do.
- In what ways am I more spiritually advanced than my beloved?
- In what ways is my beloved more spiritually advanced than me?
Strengthen your relationship:
Describe the spiritual strengths that you see in each other, and explain how these strengths have been helpful to you. Then share one weakness you would like strengthened with your beloved’s help. Pray together, asking Jesus to provide his own help with this growth.
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© 2016 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries