Unification News for February 2000

Marriage and Love

Cathi Close

This is a compilation of some of my favorite authors on the meaning of marriage.

From My Only True Love by Albert DiBartholomeo (Readers Digest Feb. 2000)

"I could have watched my wife for hours as the waves broke and advanced toward her bare feet. In a world sometimes marred by hurt and anguish, I felt profoundly grateful that the sun had risen for me on such a love. I could feel it now flowing from me to her and back to me again, joined everywhere, complete, like the seas, and a harbor against all tempests.

... (Remembering my youth and my) first love, I thought, it may cut and mark us the deepest, but love that lasts and grows does so because it joins and nurtures what is dearest and finest and noblest in two people. And because it understands and forgives what is less so.

First love may register in the blood with dizzying effect, but the love that endures takes up residence in the soul. In this way, love becomes something far more powerful than bone and flesh. It completes us, gives us the wholeness we need to navigate safely through life."


From UH-OH by Robert Fulghum (author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned In Kindergarten)

"There is a tree.... A particular tree. A juniper. ..For perhaps three hundred years this tree has stood its ground. Flourishing in good seasons, and holding in bad times. Beautiful’ isn’t the word that comes to mind when one first sees it... Twisted by wind, split and charred by lightning, scarred by brush-fires, chewed on by insects, and pecked by birds....But no matter what, in drought, flood, heat, and cold it has continued.

I respect this old juniper tree. For its age, yes. And for its steadfastness in taking whatever is thrown at it. That it has been useful in a practical way beyond itself counts for much as well. Most of all, I admire its capacity for self-healing beyond all accidents and assaults. There is a *will* in it —toward continuing to be, come what may.

Last night, I went out for a walk in the darkness of early autumn.... Drawn back to the cabin by the yellow glow of the reading lamp in the living room, I stood outside the window for a long time and looked in at my wife curled up on the couch sewing a hem in a new pair of wool trousers for me.

For seventeen years she has been my companion, my friend, my CO-conspirator.

Yesterday, we were outraged at one another over something that seems trivial now, but the fire of anger is not quite cooled beneath the surface ashes. Yesterday, I made her cry in frustration. Yesterday, she was mad at me. I know I drive her crazy sometimes. She’s not always easy to live with either.....

Yet today we walked up the road to pick sweet corn from a neighbor’s patch and walked back down the road hand in hand in our usual way. We’re good at forgiving. We have to be. The weather of love comes and goes, and we must let it. It is a required condition of loving someone and being loved back.

...The gate we passed through to pick corn was the one attached to the old juniper. And that tree comes to mind this night as I look in on her. I long for the love we have to always be like that tree. With a steadfast ability to take it —a capacity for self-healing and growing on, scars and all, come what may.


From The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter

Grandma’s name was Bonnie Bee. I knew that when I heard Grandpa late at night say, "I kin yea, Bonnie Bee," he was saying, "I love yea," for the feeling was in the words.

And when they would be talking and Grandma would say, "Do yea kin me, Wales?" and he would answer, "I kin yea," it meant, "I understand yea." To them, love and understanding was the same thing. Grandma said you couldn’t love something you didn’t understand, nor could you love people, nor God, if you didn’t understand the people and God.

Grandpa and Grandma had an understanding, and so they had a love. Grandma said the understanding run deeper as the years went by, and she reckoned it would get beyond anything mortal folks could think upon or explain. And so they called it "kin."


From Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Christian Marriage: "Christianity teaches that marriage is for life. There is, of course, a difference here between different churches: some do not admit divorce at all; some allow it *reluctantly* in very special cases..... (but) they all regard divorce as something like cutting up a living body, as a kind of surgical operation... They are all agreed that it is more like having both your legs cut off than it is like dissolving a business partnership.. What they all disagree with is the modern view that it is a simple readjustment of partners, to be made whenever people feel they are no longer in love with one another, or when either of them falls in love with someone else.

.... The idea that being in love’ is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all. If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; and if it adds nothing, then it should not be made.... A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling a certain way. He might as well promise never to have a headache or always to feel hungry. But what, it may be asked, is the use of keeping two people together if they are no longer in love? There are several sound, social reasons; to provide a home for their children, to protect the woman (who has probably sacrificed her own career by getting married) from being dropped whenever the man is tired of her.

... No one in his senses would deny that being in love is far better than either common sensuality or cold self-centeredness. But, as I said before, "the most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of our own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs." Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. You cannot make it a basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go.

... But, of course, ceasing to be in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense —love as distinct from being in love’ is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both parents ask and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be in love’ with someone else. Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it."


From The Ten Commandments by Dr. Laura Schlessinger

"In Hebrew the word for betrothed’ is kiddushin; it is related to the word kadosh —commonly translated at holy,’ which is also defined as set aside for a special godly purpose’. The use kiddushin reflects the idea that a marriage partner is set aside for a special godly purpose. Marriage is not just a contract between two people, but rather a sacred covenant, much like the relationship between God and people. Marriage is called nisuin, which means uplifting’ —being raised together into the sacred sphere.

Through the institution of marriage, we sanctify the need for human companionship: For it is not good that man be alone ... therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife so that they become one flesh.’ Genesis 2:18, 24. Marriage is also the institution through which we fulfill the biblical commandment to procreate humanity: and you shall be fruitful and multiply’ Genesis 1:28.


From I Kissed Dating Good-bye by Joshua Harris

"Someday I want to be a godly husband. I want to nurture my wife, love her, respect her, and protect her. How can I train for that? I believe God has given me a mother and sister to practice understanding and honoring women. If I can’t love and serve my mother and sister today, what makes me think I’ll be ready to love and serve a wife in the future? I have to practice now. The reverse is true for girls and their dads and brothers. Girls can view their relationships to the men in their lives as training sessions for loving and respecting a future husband.

Marriage won’t transform us into new people; it will only act as a mirror, showing what we already are. We have to practice now what we want to be in the future."

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