Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"Marriage is rarely easy." ~ L.H.

The past 22 days we've been praying earnestly for marriages {past, present, and future ones because they all come together in eternity}. Not just for marriages but for SACRED MATRIMONY. There's a difference.

During this time, the movie The Great Gatsby made its debut at our movie theatres.

Here Lisa Hendey writes from the angle I experienced when reading Gatsby in high school. Depressing and vague were the two words I have used to describe my experience with the book. I don't remember much of it but I clearly remember the book's cover:
 
What was the book's main message again?

A friend recently suggested I might enjoy the movie and it might help clarify things the book did not. She reasoned that I now have life experiences which might allow me to appreciate the book's message that I did not own back in high school.

Ok, I was open to that idea.

Then Lisa writes these Four Faith Takeaways from her viewing of The Great Gatsby:
  1. Racism is still ugly.
  2. Money can’t buy happiness.
  3. Marriage is a complexly challenging institution.
  4. Lies devastate lives.
I suggest you go read her take on all 4 but it was #3 that reminded me for what these past 22 days of prayer have been for and, I admit, peaked my interest in seeing the movie.

* * * * *

"Marriage is a complexly challenging institution. It’s “uncritical view of adultery” is part of what earns The Great Gatsby an A-III rating from Catholic News Service. ...

"If you’re like me, you will sit in the theater knowing that the love between Gatsby and Daisy is wrong, contrary to her marital covenant, and yet you may secretly “root for” the two to land in one another’s arms. Their love might feel so “right” in the moment, cast in the light of Daisy’s philandering husband Tom, who seems so abusive. Surely Gatsby and Daisy deserve true love, right? In the end of the film, as I sat wiping away tears, I was reminded of many spouses I know who are carrying heavy burdens in their marriages. I have several of these situations on a prayer list I keep privately and I know the complexities of being true to one’s marital covenant. Marriage is rarely easy. Challenges rear their heads at many twists and turns along life’s highway to heaven. It seems to me that only God’s presence at the core of the relationship is sufficient “glue” to keep these bonds strong enough to survive. Even with Him present, married couples — good, non-cheating, honest men and women — may still struggle in their married vocations. And God seems to me to be altogether missing from the lives of any of the characters in this film."

* * * * *

"Marriage is rarely easy."

Thank you, Lisa, for not playing make-up artist but revealing an image of marriage that Hollywood glosses over and, often, rejects. There is no marriage that is simply a piece of cake. There is no marriage that doesn't need prayer, commitment, and God. Prayer nurtures it. Commitment is sometimes the one thing that bonds it, and God will then blesse it. Without God as the make-up artist, it becomes a dissolvable structure.

Reading Lisa's paragraph above (because I haven't seen the movie and I remember almost null of the book), makes me think this movie might be a book for our times. I could have quoted Lisa verbatim: "I was reminded of many spouses I know who are carrying heavy burdens in their marriages. I have several of these situations on a prayer list I keep privately and I know the complexities of being true to one’s marital covenant."

Even when reading about past marriages throughout history you know that it has never been an easy institution to sign up for. There's something heroic in that mention. One day a fellow church D.R.E. shared with me that she and her husband had attended a school reunion made-up of a number of couples who all married straight out of high school, including my friend and her husband. I forget the number of couples but it was in the double digits. Fifty years later, only two of the couples remained married to one another; my friend and her husband were one of the couples.

Statistically, marriage is tough. Doesn't matter the age in which you say, "I do!"

These couples married in the early 60's.  The 60's were perhaps a remake of the Roaring 20's on steroids.

It comes down to prayer...continuous prayer...commitment, God, and...yes, Love...which surpasses all things.

{This being said, I really don't have time to take on one more book. But...
 
...there's always tomorrow and summertime is ripe for a good movie. :-) }

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