Love Builds Security: Follow God’s Plan For Marriage

Love Builds Security: Follow God’s Plan For Marriage January 11, 2024

Love builds security. Follow God’s plan for marriage. One of my discoveries about human behavior is that everybody suffers from personal insecurity. This is one of my secrets for interpreting human behavior. I assume that everyone is insecure. Now, obviously there are different degrees of insecurity. Some people may be crippled practically from their sense of security. Others are highly functioning. But we are all insecure about something. Marriage is an opportunity that God gives you to grow in your emotional security.

“Authentic conjugal love will be more highly prized, and wholesome public opinion created about it if Christian couples give outstanding witness to faithfulness and harmony in their love.” (Gaudium et Spes, 49) Married couples have a wonderful mission to show each other love and live it out generously.

 St. Paul on Marriage

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to 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. (Eph 5:25-33)

When Paul uses marriage as an image to explain the Church, he reveals much of the divine plan for the Church and for marriage. What is in common here? There is a call to communion.

Love builds security

“Love is our bulwark, designed to provide emotional protection so we can cope with the ups and downs of existence. As Mozart noted, ‘Love guards the heart from the abyss.’ We are relational beings. God created us for relationship with Himself and with others. We are created for connection.” (Sanderfer & Johnson, Created for Connection, p. 22) This connection comes out in a special way through the communion that is experienced within the sacrament of marriage.

bride places wedding ring on husband's finger
Exchange of the rings | Courtesy Pixels

Attachment Theory and Christianity

“Both attachment science and Christianity teach that turning to others and acknowledging our vulnerability is admirable, and that responding with empathy and care to others is a key part of emotional and spiritual wholeness.” (Sanderfer & Johnson, Created for Connection, p. 28) For all of us, it is hard to be vulnerable. For me, one of the saddest things to see is a marriage where both spouses are lonely. Often, this is not discussed. Both mask their emotional hurts. When they are able to take off their masks and share with one another, trust builds and their support for one another increases exponentially.

Some of you may remember the movie Super 8. Now, I think it is a peculiar movie. But I had such an emotional connection when I understood that the boy was longing to be seen. He is there, in a moment of deep emotional intimacy with the female protagonist of the film. Speaking of his relationship with his deceased mother, he reveals why he misses her so deeply. “She used to look at me… this way, like really look… and I just knew I was there… that I existed.” This was the confidence that he was still seeking, years after her death.

Close and Confident

“When we feel generally secure, that is, we are comfortable with closeness and confident about depending on loved ones, we are better at seeking support—and better at giving it.” (Sanderfer & Johnson, Created for Connection, p. 30) So many people are hurt and it is hard for them to experience closeness. They close themselves off to avoid the risk of getting hurt. Marriage should be an opportunity to overcome the hurt and experience emotional intimacy in a safe way.

Physical Intimacy and Christianity

God is not afraid of physical intimacy. The book of the Song of Songs is a celebration of human love, even physical intimacy.

Let him kiss me with kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine, better than the fragrance of your perfumes. Your name is a flowing perfume— therefore young women love you.

How beautiful you are, my lover—handsome indeed! Verdant indeed is our couch.

Awake, north wind! Come, south wind! Blow upon my garden that its perfumes may spread abroad. Let my lover come to his garden and eat its fruits of choicest yield.

I have come to my garden, my sister, my bride; I gather my myrrh with my spices, I eat my honeycomb with my honey, I drink my wine with my milk. Eat, friends; drink! Drink deeply, lovers!

Your very form resembles a date-palm, and your breasts, clusters. I thought, “Let me climb the date-palm! Let me take hold of its branches! Let your breasts be like clusters of the vine and the fragrance of your breath like apples, And your mouth like the best wine—that flows down smoothly for my lover, gliding over my lips and teeth. I belong to my lover, his yearning is for me. Come, my lover!

Let us go out to the fields, let us pass the night among the henna. Let us go early to the vineyards, and see if the vines are in bloom, If the buds have opened, if the pomegranates have blossomed; There will I give you my love. The mandrakes give forth fragrance, and over our doors are all choice fruits; Fruits both fresh and dried, my lover, have I kept in store for you. (Cant. 1:2-3; 1:16; 4:16-5:1; 7:8-14)

Love builds security. One of the reasons that God reveals himself through human love is so that the message can arrive more surely. Human love opens us up to the reality of divine love.

Resiliency

We need to learn to be resilient. When we are able to be ourselves and feel validated, we are able to grow in our personal security. “When we feel safely linked to our partners, we more easily roll with the hurts they inevitably inflict, and we are less likely to be aggressively hostile when we get mad at them.” (Sanderfer & Johnson, Created for Connection, p. 31) Love builds security. When life gets you down, love more intensely.

Questions for Reflection

Are you able to share your most intimate thoughts and desires with your spouse?

Do you have an ideal of absolute transparency?

Have you become one as the Genesis ideal proposes?

Marriage Series

Parenting Style

Temperament and How It Can Make Your Marriage Flourish

5 Keys to Celebrate Blessings in Your Marriage

God’s Plan for Marriage

Love Builds Security: God’s Plan for Marriage

About Fr. Nicholas Sheehy, LC
Fr. Nicholas Sheehy was ordained a Catholic priest in 2013 for the Legionaries of Christ. He has been involved in youth work including missions, retreats and apostolic outreach in Germany, Italy, the United States and Central America. He is passionate about the New Evangelization and formation for young adults and married couples. He is a spiritual director and retreat director, offering marriage preparation and marriage counseling through the Divine Mercy Clinic and Family Center. He is currently Executive Director and Chaplain of the Newman Center at St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Pasadena, California. You can read more about the author here.
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