Unification Sermons and Talks
by Reverends Lowen
Now That We've Got Love ... True Marriage In The Nineties
By Sandra S. Lowen
The wine has been drunk the holy water sprinkled, the rings exchanged, the Monseis sung out.
Slowly the balloon deflates; and the initial anxiety as to whether one would be matched at all, the electric excitement of being chosen, the scurrying about to raise fees and be measured for dresses and suites and get boutonnieres and veils and gloves and red ties dissolves into what to do with this person.
Blowing the Myth
In fairy tales the prince and princess "live happily ever after to the end of their days". Much is assumed in that 'happily'; that the old King and Queen watch the children while the princess trips off to do Women's Federation; that the loyal subjects bankroll the whole affair; and, of course, that the Merry Maids come in on a regular basis to clean the royal castle.
The sad reality is more often that the old King and Queen never wanted the Prince to marry a 'Moonie'; that the kids go ballistic when the Princess is out of sight for more than eleven seconds; and that the prince works long hours to put a few meager farthings into the royal coffers (which are quickly wiped out when the Heir Apparent falls out of a tree and has to have three front teeth capped). Of course, the Merry Maids will still come in and clean--for a price.
In fact, Church marriages undergo as much--if not more--stress as do other marriages. Without the underpinnings of the Divine Principle and the example of our True Parents, it would surely seem less treacherous to throw in the towel early on when problems arise. Yet few couples do. Why?
What's it all about?
Mrs. "Lady Doctor" Kim spoke to the American 1800 Couple Blessing candidates in 1975, at which time she collapsed a long-held myth: The Blessing, she said, is not a reward for a job well done, but by its very nature, a tool for restoration. She went on to state that we are not married for ourselves. Each couple has the potential to heal a failure in relationship that has occurred in prior world history, as the result of a 'frigid' wife, an obsessed husband, a physically challenged child, intrusive in-laws, infidelity, addictions, and so on. If the problem is overcome, future generations may be spared the suffering; if not, the pain is passed on. We are also married, she said, for the sake of our descendants. By virtue of the Matching and Blessing, virtually all of our Second Generation are healthy, beautiful, and brilliant.
Life, then, does not settle into the hum-drum: work five days a week, movie on Saturday night, TV sports on Sunday after church. Each individual couple has a built-in restoration mission arising from having accepted the Blessing.
No survival medals
Too many people who perceive there is a problem in their relationship choose to 'hang on', making no effort to bring about more positive change, because of the discomfort change might cause self or spouse. Sometimes husband and wife cut a deal with each other: "I won't mess with your mess if you won't mess with mine". Such people smile
cheerfully before others, presenting a unified front whenever they come under scrutiny. They manage a modicum of civility in front of their children, and may even advise others. Yet in each others' presence there is no holy fire, and God's electricity is absent. Impact and results in a mission or from the community are scanty or entirely absent. Still, the couple feels justified in the way they live their lives without external conflict or abuse.
God does not hand out medals for mere survival. His joy is in victory. Surely the disheveled couple that has hammered out its conflicts and now stands together breathless but ready outshines the neat, polished couple whose work has been minimal, and therefore is poorly equipped to handle the needs of the Providence.
Yin and Yang
Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak once presented the ideal couple as a yin and a yang; perfectly formed, perfectly fitting together, to mirror the image of God. Then he drew what resembled a squashed juice carton and a mangled tin can to represent where most of us are developmentally at the time of the Blessing.
We know that we cannot reflect God's nature fully without our marriage partner. Yet to fit together, we should have done a significant amount of work on ourselves before we even filled out a Blessing application.
It is amazing that, in these enlightened times, people still expect their personal imperfections to evaporate in that initial encounter with a spouse--or expect the spouse to be accepting and even embracing of personal garbage that should have been jettisoned years ago. They often use as an excuse an assertion that their problem is a part of their personality, or that they tried for years to get rid of the problem but failed, and that their only hope is a liberating spouse.
Spouse vs. Therapist
Yet the marriage partner is not the Mr./Mrs. Fix-It for things one can change alone; and the valuable time lost providing care for one's delayed recovery might be put to better use in the trenches.
We have learned in our spiritual lives that we need to comfort the heart of God rather than burden Him. The same applies to our spouses. Unification Church marriage is a fifty-fifty proposition; both partners need to work one hundred percent at it.
This article is excerpted from a book scheduled for publication in Spring `96. Sandra Lowen, a 28-year 1800 Blessing member, is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a practice within the New Yorker Health Resources office at the New Yorker Hotel. She resides with her husband and teen-aged son in upstate New York.
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