Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Our spouse, a gift from God?

Divorce rate alarming

I was impressed by the sermon delivered by the priest officiating a marriage service in one of the churches recently. His sermon was simple, clear and very practical and remains vividly in my mind. Despite having been married for over 25 years, I did not think the way the priest put it about marriage.

The pastor said “The fact that Christ has sanctioned your marriage means that he has chosen the spouse for you. This means that this partner is the best for you and you can never find a better one in the world however hard you try to look for one”.

Turning to the bridegroom he reiterated “This woman is the best wife for you as she is chosen by Christ himself. It will therefore be futile and even foolish of you to leave her for someone better in the course of your life as you will never find one”.

Similarly he then turned to the bride and gave similar assurances on her husband.

From my own experiences in married life, I can safely certify for sure the fact stated by the pastor that our spouse is God chosen and is the best for us. Our spouse is a special gift from Christ himself and we must trust that He knows best what to give us.If we do not have that faith in Christ then it would be meaningless to call ourselves His followers.

The trouble is today we seem to think we know better than Christ what is best for us. This is the cause of the many failures that we meet in our lives as we continue to make mistakes in making the many important decisions in life including the selection of our life partners.

The divorce rate is increasing at an alarming rate all over the world. It is distressing to note that, in Malaysia, there were 19,800 cases of divorce in 2004 and this continues to increase over the years. Even among Catholics it is on the rise. What is happening to our belief that marriages are made in heaven? Where have we gone wrong in upholding the sanctity of matrimony?

Today people get married for the wrong reasons not realizing it should be a life-long commitment through thick and thin. Many choose to have a church wedding not because of its spiritual significance but it is fashionable to do so. They forget as marriage is solemnized by a priest in the presence of Christ, it implies that it is sanctioned by none other than Christ himself. It should also mean that Christ has specially chosen the particular spouse for us who should be the best for us. It will therefore be futile and even foolish of us to leave him/her for someone “better” in the course of our life. If we really have the faith in Christ, as we profess we do, then we must accept this fact and abide by it. As sanctioned by God Himself, it is therefore sacred and its sanctity must always be safeguarded at all costs.

If only the couples, who took their matrimonial wows in the presence of Christ, understood that they were chosen for each other by God himself and that they are the best for each other, they would never have considered divorce as the solution to whatever problems that they encounter.

Very often we see only the defects in our spouse. In fact it is much easier to see the bad than the good in them. It is easy for us to say "Lord, I love you", and we do say that many times a day, but very difficult to say the same to our spouses even once. If only we realize that Christ reveals himself daily in our spouses, in their strength and more so in their weaknesses, then saying the phrase to our spouses will be become a joy.

Once when we are convinced that Christ would give us the best in everything, including our spouses, only then will we see the good in them and overlook their shortcomings. This would be the beginning of a lasting and unshakably strong relationship with them that will withstand the stress and strain which are common in the process of bringing up the family.

We preach so much about faith and trust in God and we often presume we have that faith in us at all times. It may be so when times are good but the real test of faith is at times when tragedy strikes and our lives are thrown into disarray.

That is the time we must recall our matrimonial wows we made to the person handpicked by God to be our partner in life, in the presence of His son, Jesus Christ, "I'll be true to you in good and bad times, in sickness and in health ….till death do us apart.

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