Very often the faithful spouse suffers in isolation, feeling compelled to endure more abuse to be faithful to their marriage, family, Church.They need to hear that they aren’t alone, that they are loved and that they need to make hard decisions based on the situation they are actually living, not based on who they hope their spouse might turn into.
I have a lot of thoughts to add on the topic of Christian marriage, but it occurs to me that I’ve written a lot of them out before, so rather than repeat myself, I’d like to point new readers to a couple of posts they may not have seen from the days before I was on Patheos.
On the topic of “‘How to Affair-Proof your Marriage’…articles [that] imply that we have control that we simply don’t have,” I offer my most popular marriage-related post, One to get married:
The reality is that marriage is always a gamble. You might think that you’ve stacked the deck, but it is still a gamble. There are so many things that can change a person throughout life, and free will is always absolute.She’s wrong about what sets us apart when we make these vows and make them part of ourselves. It isn’t that our shared faith lets us know that our spouse’s devotion and values will never change in any important sense, because we have all of the grace we need. What makes our vows truly awe-inspiring is that they don’t remove an iota of freedom, or make any restrictions at all on change.
I wrote a while later about some of the bad advice given to Christian women in abusive marriages in When submission becomes a false idol, and did a little exegesis of my own of Casti Connubii and Ephesians 5:
You love Christ, you love the Church, and you love your children. You want to love your husband. You want your husband to love you. So you pick yourself up and try harder, assenting to every whim and decision your husband makes, no matter how degrading or disagreeable, playing the role he allows you or expects you to play, and tolerating cruelty, neglect, or disdain in return. You meditate on the trials of St. Monica and imagine that a time will come when your husband will see your self-sacrificial love and be slain by remorse, repentance, and compassion, and then you will finally have the rightly-ordered Christian marriage which you have idolized for so long. If only you can become perfectly meek and submissive and carry your cross in the meantime.
Dear ladies, this isn’t God’s plan for marriage. And it isn’t what the Church requires of you.
When commenting, please remember that others may be carrying crosses you can’t see. Be kind.
Image via Pixabay, https://pixabay.com/en/broken-broken-heart-joy-break-2091023/