The Royal Wedding. I can’t even say that without a wistful, dreamy sigh and smile. For those of you that watched it or read up on it – wasn’t it wonderful?
Chartres started with:
“Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.”
I love this because he reminds us that God really intended for men and women to compliment each other through marriage. Throw away any notions of testosterone male chauvinism or feminist aggression – many people take the “head of household” thought overboard and in the wrong way, but this reminds us that it truly is a partnership and that both sides are intended to bring out the best in each other.
“A spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.”
Isn’t that just so the truth? I often fall into conversations with others that if you want to get into a relationship to make yourself happy, well .. just don’t. Because you probably won’t be happy. Because a real, committed relationship isn’t about making yourself happy. Being selfish is just about the last thing you can really do in marriage. It just won’t work out. I’ve found out through experience and observation that the happiest of marriages and relationships are those where self-sacrifice and selflessness are practiced daily.
“Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom.”
A good friend of mine once told me some wisdom she received in pre-marital counseling. She had said that she was worried – (as many of us who are married or brides-to-be are, I bet) – that she was afraid that some many years down the line, she’d wake up and look at her husband next to her in bed and think “I don’t know you. You are not the man I married “x” number of years ago”. The wisdom she received is one I still remember today – and which Chartres’ quote on transformation reminded me of. She was told, “You WILL wake up one day and say that the man (or woman) you are next to is not the same man/woman you married years ago. But you shouldn’t be afraid of that. Because if you are truly allowing the work of the Spirit happen to transform you, you are going to continually grow and change – for the better. So the person you and your spouse will be years from now will be different people then the two of you that were at the altar. But hopefully, it will be for the better.”
I love that we’re reminded to allow your partner to grow to who he or she is. We fell in love with who they were, why do we get married and try to change them to something they are not or who we think they should be? Allow the transformation to happen… like art.
“As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive, we need mutual forgiveness, to thrive. As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can practise and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.”
Isn’t it so true? That to rely on our partner alone to provide us with ‘all meaning and happiness in life’ is ‘to great a burden’ for them alone. It’s not fair to them.
I applaud the Bishop for his sermon, knowing that billions of people world-wide would be watching. Whether they were listening, however, is another question. But I think he stayed true to faith, personal to the royal couple and encouraging and hopeful for a wedding. Or, THE wedding of the decade, at least. What do you think?