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How a truth explained by St. Paul is helping me cut my husband some slack


Antoine Mekary / Godong

Sarah Robsdottir - published on 11/18/20

It truly takes “3 to marry"!   
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“He’s only human — what did you expect?” Jesus asked me the other night while we were washing dishes. He didn’t speak to me in an audible voice, but in my thoughts and prayers. We were chatting about my latest marital spat. Jesus’ correction was gentle …
“Those who hope in the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31) — so why are you always so fixated on your husband?

Immediately, my anger dissolved. I offered up a prayer for Pete, my travel companion in this brief life. Then I turned to my One True Spouse and — in my heart — I bowed. In a breath, standing there at the kitchen counter, Jesus increased while I (and my husband and our marital spat) decreased. (John 3:30)  

The reality of Christ as my One True Spouse is explained in the Catechism (796), drawing from St. Paul:

The unity of Christ and the Church, head and members of one Body, also implies the distinction of the two within a personal relationship. This aspect is often expressed by the image of bridegroom and bride. … The Lord referred to himself as the “bridegroom. The Apostle [St. Paul] speaks of the whole Church and of each of the faithful, members of his Body, as a bride “betrothed” to Christ the Lord so as to become but one spirit with him. The Church is the spotless bride of the spotless Lamb. …

Venerable Fulton Sheen’s classic book Three to Get Married adds to this idea. In it, he writes:  

Imagine a large circle and in the center of it rays of light that spread out to the circumference. The light in the center is God; each of us is a ray. The closer the rays are to the center, the closer the rays are to one another. The closer we live to God, the closer we are bound to our neighbor; the farther we are from God, the farther we are from one another. The more each ray departs from its center, the weaker it becomes; and the closer it gets to the center, the stronger it becomes.


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That night in the kitchen, I spent some more time praying, asking my One True Spouse to turn my husband’s heart in my direction (and mine in his). You see, as a couple we were in a state of gridlock, each thinking the other person was wrong.  That’s why it’s so powerful, in such moments, to be able to turn to Christ. Sheen touches on this practice as well:  

It takes three to make love, not two: You, your spouse and God. Without God, people only succeed in bringing out the worst in one another. Lovers who have nothing else to do but love each other soon find there is nothing else. Without a central loyalty, life is unfinished.

In the Song of Solomon, the Lover speaks to his Beloved as “my sister, my bride” — expressing a love that is both intimate and familial. (Song of Solomon 4:9)  As a wife, I find it healthy to adopt a similar perspective in my own marriage, viewing my husband first and foremost as a brother in Christ.

Such an attitude fosters so much more allowance for human frailty. It’s one where my husband and I walk this brief life together hand-in-hand. Our One True Spouse leads the way, because He’s the only one who can truly hold our hearts.  

Wedding Couple

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