Tonight, at Connect: Young Adult Fellowship, we heard a speech by Chris and Rose Kreslins about Marriage and the family. I’m going to attempt to give a synopsis of it while it’s still fresh, but it’ll have my own spin on it since I, sadly, cannot recall the talk in it’s entirety. It was a very deeply awesome talk.
Marriage isn’t first and foremost about romance and passion. It is a calling.. it is a vocation. It is something that we have a privelage of having this gift of marriage, that two people, man and woman, can become one flesh.
How, ideally, should the order of priority within a healthy marriage come? I’ll paint the picture as such. The Trinity is Three persons in One God… Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It’s like a triangle. Put God at the top of the Triangle, and yourself and your spouse on each of the two bottom points. As you both get closer to God, you get closer to one another. Both the husband and the wife should place God first, and then their spouse, and then family, and then everything else fourth. In that, every family will find peace and true happiness.
But first, it takes a lot of clearing out.. a lot of getting rid of the garbage that you may not even know that you have. They say that when you get married, things about yourself come up that you didn’t even know were there, and if those things are getting to you, or if suddenly your spouse is annoying or whatever, then there must clearly be something wrong from your past. Some wound that needs mending. As those wounds heal, you’ll find yourself falling more and more in love with wife or husband, and with your children.
Chris mentioned a time when Rose went to a restaurant, like Subway, with her five kids, and the girl at the counter asked her: “Are those all yours?” She answered, “Yes!” and the girl said “Oh, you poor thing.” Rose just shook her head and said “I love my children,” with a smile. And you can tell. They’ve got a truly awesome marriage. And they’re not the only big family that I know. My mom was the first of nine. My dad was one of five. My friends Angie, Danny and Ryan are three of seven. My friend Roy has five incredible and well-behaved daughters with a sixth child on the way. Janet and DJ have six children as well.
How do they do it? Love and compassion, prayer, a little hard work, the grace of God. Rose mentioned how for a while she’d get angry at the littlest things.. and a priest told her it was because she wasn’t doing things out of charity or love, to be ready to serve. Such as helping the neighbor with groceries or to show her love for her husband even when she’s mad at him. She was amazed by how well it worked and how much more grace she was given.
Some people think that after they get married, they’ll wait a couple of years and then have children. But when you take the vows, you are supposed to be committing yourselves to having children, and raising them right. Why not just put off the marriage those two years then? Because you want to see if it’ll work? Should you be marrying your best friend? It’s not rocket science to know if it’ll work. Don’t rush in, pray about it, and realize that marriage is worth more than what you think and isn’t just about romance or what you can get about it…it’s about what you can give as well.
They took us back through the history of the family, and what happened. Back before the industrial revolution (which J.R.R. Tolkien hated for a number of reasons), families worked together, and would grow what they needed, and the family would run the business together. The father would work at home, and the son would watch the father and eventually work with his dad and then take over. Families did things together. The average size of the family was seven kids. The average age of the population was 13. Can you even imagine that?
Right now, the average age is something like 2.3 kids per family. And don’t give me that bull about over-population. Sure, some parts of the world are struggling with it, but we’re not. “Saying there are too many little children is like saying there are too many little flowers.”
The key thing here, is that the mother and the father were both home all the time with their children. Then the industrial revolution. They build machines that can work faster, and people want what they make, and the factories are built and people are told that they will get paid to work in them, so it spreads, and for the first time ever, fathers are leaving the home to go work, and leaving most of the parenting to their wives. The family businesses are now disappearing.
The next logical step: women are having a hard time raising the children on their own: let’s find a way to control the number of children that we have, for the sake of management and convenience. Yes, let’s decide not to do what God asks of us and decide we know how many kids are the right number for us. Oh, and let’s not forget public school. Let’s let someone else teach and raise our children. Granted, many families need to do that.. I went to private school myself. Same concept.
So here we are, things have changed for the worse. Families are confused, people are confused, society is confused. The stuff we see on tv these days used to be considered pretty hard core stuff, not even forty years ago. It’s created a mess of confusion as people grow up.
There is, however, a growing trend happening, as more and more families are homeschooling their children. More and more mothers and fathers are starting their own businesses or finding other ways of being with their kids more, and it’s starting to shift back to a method that works. Building a fortress of faith and love, that the grace of God runs in so thick that you can just see how much love there is. The barriers are swept away and everything is just vibrant and alive. That’s not to say that all families have the means to be able to do this, but family should always come before work, and not the other way around.
Recently, I was talking to someone about this, and they saw it as a negative thing for a dad to be home with the kids all the time. But now, having heard this talk tonight, I understand why that is never a bad idea within a strong Christian marriage.
Marriage is not something to take forgranted. It truly is a vocation. They also recommended reading Marriage: A Path to Sanctity by Javier Abad and E. Fenoy, before getting married. I’m going to pick up a copy myself, and I’ll probably write about it after or as I’m reading it.
The book description is as follows: Your marriage can be a path to sanctity and heroic virtue – here’s how. Based on Scripture, documents of the Magisterium, and the works of trustworthy spiritual guides, this is a compact, complete, and inspiring guide to the nobility and beauty of Christian marriage. Authors Javier Abad and Eugenio Fenoy examine marriage as a vocation, the nature of spousal love, the true nature of responsible parenthood, chastity in marriage, and the sanctification of matrimony. They also take on the hard questions: contraception, sexuality, and more – making this a complete guidebook for married couples and those preparing for or thinking about marriage.
The talk ended with this reading from the Bible, and I will end with it as well. I’m sure there is something that I missed. The talk went for over an hour and was all phenomenal stuff, and all very plausible. I only hope that I did it justice, and I’ll probably update when Erin (who took notes) writes up her weekly summary of the evening’s talk.
Ephesians 5: 21-33
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body.As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for herto sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church,because we are members of his body.“For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.
A Thought Provoking Scenario:
( A scene at City Hall in San Francisco )
“Good morning. We want to apply for a marriage license.”
“Tim and Jim Jones.”
“Jones? Are you related? I see a resemblance.”
“Yes, we’re brothers.”
“Brothers? You can’t get married.”
“Why not? Aren’t you giving marriage licenses to same gender couples?”
“Yes, thousands. But we haven’t had any siblings. That’s incest!”
“Incest?” No, we are not gay.”
“Not gay? Then why do you want to get married?”
“For the financial benefits, of course. And we do love each other. Besides, we don’t have any other prospects.”
“But we’re issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples who’ve been denied equal protection under the law. If you are not gay, you can get married to a woman.”
“Wait a minute. A gay man has the same right to marry a woman as I have. But just because I’m straight doesn’t mean I want to marry a woman. I want to marry Jim.”
“And I want to marry Tim, Are you going to discriminate against us just because we are not gay?”
“All right, all right. I’ll give you your license. Next.”
“Hi. We are here to get married.”
“John Smith, Jane James, Robert Green, and June Johnson.”
“Who wants to marry whom?”
“We all want to marry each other.”
“But there are four of you!”
“That’s right. You see, we’re all bisexual. I love Jane and Robert, Jane loves me and June, June loves Robert and Jane, and Robert loves June and me. All of us getting married together is the only way that we can express our Sexual
preferences in a marital relationship.”
“But we’ve only been granting licenses to gay and lesbian couples.”
“So you’re discriminating against bisexuals!”
“No, it’s just that, well, the traditional idea of marriage is that it’s just for couples.”
“Since when are you standing on tradition?”
“Well, I mean, you have to draw the line somewhere.”
“Who says? There’s no logical reason to limit marriage to couples. The more the better. Besides, we demand our rights! The mayor says the constitution guarantees equal protection under the law. Give us a marriage license!”
“All right, all right. Next.”
“Hello, I’d like a marriage license.”
“In what names?”
“And the other man?”
“That’s all. I want to marry myself.”
“Marry yourself? What do you mean?”
“Well, my psychiatrist says I have a dual personality, so I want to marry the two together. Maybe I can file a joint income-tax return.”
“That does it! I quit!! You people are making a mockery of marriage!!”