‘See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.’
This past half year has been like no other and marriages have been tested in the furnace of affliction, leaving many couples hurt and bewildered. Wondering …what IS going on? I thought we were happy, I thought our marriage was secure but now…we pick fights, argue, ignore, shame, or manipulate each other. The kindness and encouragement we once showed each other, the teamwork that made our days go smoothly, seems to have gone out the window! Criticism has replaced encouragement, defensiveness replaced listening and contempt and impatience with each other leads to longer and longer silences. We cannot get through to each other anymore. It is so much easier to be kind, understanding and encouraging to others than to each other. An important truth is that love is not fully realised until it involves the hard work of accepting what we judge are the faults and failings of the one closest to us. True love, where a healthy relationship can exist and grow in goodness, involves sacrifice and selflessness.
A young wife was saying recently that the issues in her marriage had got worse during lockdown and she felt hopeless. She was searching for help and found it in a virtual programme for distressed marriages. Now, they are working towards a better future. There is hope and there are resources to fuel that hope.
How can we do that? We need to be willing to learn new and better ways to communicate our love, to forgive, to focus on the other. As couples, we can decide to use our pain to be the motivator to take us forward to a better tomorrow: that new landscape, a place of hope and growth enables us to go forward, learning new and better ways to live our marriage. That is sacrifice and
selflessness in action. We need to offer the best of ourselves to our marriages.
This blog was written by Clive & Kathy Jones from Retrouvaille who are part of The Alliance of Catholic Marriage Organisation