We have just gotten over some minor illnesses here at home, colds and pink eye. Even though we are just a family of four, it seems like what we catch already goes around. I’ve heard that in large families, illnesses travel through each family successively, whether they are four or fourteen. I guess that’s family: you influence each other and share things, whether good or bad.
Like Romeo and Juliet
This brings me to a couple whose love story inspired me to write this article. They come from very different families and upbringing, the likes of Romeo and Juliet. One family is extremely religious and conservative and the other is non-religious and active in the complete opposite political spectrum. I don’t want to get to specific here, but the ideologies of each family are actually antagonistic to one another.
Their love story, however, is beautiful and defies all odds. They are so attuned with one other, that their marriage appears to be still romantic dating. They are raising the most adorable, sweet, polite kids on the face of the planet. And they seem to be able to meet in the middle of their opposite ideologies. They seem to both compromise, not one more than the other. Their life, it also deserves noting, is one of sacrifice. They work hard to live within their means, and they don’t have much. They don’t get any help from their respective families. They show actions of pure selflessness.
Dating and vulnerability
I have heard that the dating period is the time in a person’s life when change is most possible. This is because you are most vulnerable, most open and willing to learn from another. Grief is also another vulnerable period, but it is not like dating because you are more closed upon yourself. Considering my own love story and dating period with my husband, I would have to wholeheartedly agree. We changed dramatically as people individually, in our faith lives and in our relationship with one another.
If the love is pure, of self-gift, and not the use of the other (this is why it is so important to practice abstinence before marriage), love is truly transformative. Married couples really do become “one flesh” and balance each other out, helping to sanctify one another.
Molded by God
It is easier to be the one who “changes” the other. Yet that is really not of your doing; instead it happens without you realizing it. However, it takes true humility to change and let yourself be changed by the other. Marriage takes hard work in listening to your spouse; sometimes compromising your positions, sometimes changing your views.
It is worth pointing out that sometimes couples can change each other in the negative sense too. If one has an addiction, the other can fall into that addiction or enable it. If one is obese, the other has a tendency to also become obese. Sometimes you even hear of married couples that were partners in crime or in horrific acts. This is not a self-giving love, and does not reflect God who is Love. Of course, our human relationships are always also marked by our own selfishness, wounds, and sin.
True spousal love is marked by giving and transformation. If we truly give ourselves to the other, then we also allow ourselves to be changed, molded, and converted. Ultimately, this reflects our love story with God. If we truly allow ourselves to fall in love with the Lover of our souls, then we are also changed by Him throughout our entire lives. “Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel” (Jeremiah 18:6).
Love isn’t easy, in fact it is a permanent coming out of our comfort zones and actually rather painful. This is life though, not Heaven (yet).