In all ways, submission is required for a marriage to work. Being married for 5 years is not a joke. With it comes along challenges, a lot of adjustments, sacrifices yet, surprisingly, new beginnings. Undeniably, there are times you’d reach your breaking point. So what do you do when that happens?
Rarely do I write about relationships. One reason is that mine is not perfect and the second, is I’m no expert at it. There are moments worth celebrating and sharing. And while I love my husband and he is ever dear in my heart, there were days I had set him on fire in my mind.
Last Sunday, as my husband and I reach our 5th, I got a lovely gift from a man who is not my husband, but by one named Blaise.
Reading 2, Ephesians 5:21-32
21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives should be subject to their husbands as to the Lord,
23 since, as Christ is head of the Church and saves the whole body, so is a husband the head of his wife;
24 and as the Church is subject to Christ, so should wives be to their husbands, in everything.
25 Husbands should love their wives, just as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her
26 to make her holy by washing her in cleansing water with a form of words,
27 so that when he took the Church to himself she would be glorious, with no speck or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and faultless.
28 In the same way, husbands must love their wives as they love their own bodies; for a man to love his wife is for him to love himself.
30 because we are parts of his Body.
31 This is why a man leaves his father and mother and becomes attached to his wife, and the two become one flesh.
WHO IS BLAISE?
Father Blaise is one of the resident priests at St. Peter and Paul’s Church who delivered a sermon about submission. As you have read the second reading from the book of Ephesians, you would notice, it comparatively described the kind of submission a wife is expected to give to her husband. In return, it mentioned the husband’s responsibilities to keep his wife protected and loved.
UNDERSTANDING THE ROLES
Like any individual, I know marriage arrangements are different from one couple to another. One couple may have their preferences like not having a child while others intend to produce a dozen. Others arrange time on their own from each other, while to a majority, this is unacceptable. But there’s one thing clear in whichever arrangement partnerships come to agree with, and it’s submission.
As per definition, submission means giving of oneself to a superior force by will.
For most agreements between husbands and wife, submission happens. That being said, some cliches had lost its meaning to me. Or at least, I am in the point of my life where I look at it from a different perspective because I am married. The most common one goes: “Love doesn’t hurt, expectations do.” The crucial thing to consider though is when you are married, you are ‘supposed to’ act that you’re married. That alone is an expectation already, isn’t it?
LOVE DOESN’T HURT EXPECTATIONS DO
Specific roles and clarity of responsibilities between husband and wife are somehow written since man learned how to stand erect. Like moms are the nurturer and the dads are the providers. Nowadays, there are lots of women who work and provide for a family while the husband looks after the kids. And this became socially accepted.
For example, I know a lot of female nurses earn a lot from their job. Though in the States, the culture of not letting a nanny take over the responsibility with kids is a huge deal. So what happens? It’s the dad that stands up as the mom. Even Brad Pitt’s strong image bowed down to Angelina Jolie’s stronger personality. But you see, that last one didn’t survive, right? Because submission had gone amiss.
The thing is, there will always be expectations from each other. Expectation of a good hot meal cooked by your wife when you come home, expectation that no cheating will happen, expectation that each party will reciprocate each other’s gifts for the anniversary even. We can’t help but have an expectation. And to make sense of it all, when you expect, and it’s not met, you get upset in the end.
WHAT’S THE GIFT ALL ABOUT?
You see, as limited as we are, we are reminded about Jesus’ marriage to the church. How it had always been the ideal way of seeing matrimonial partnership. They compliment each other and they both serve as vessels to be filled up by the other. And so, the message dawned on me as Father Blaise explained in his gospel last Sunday.
When uncertainties come, when challenges try to burst your protective shell and when reality bites, submission to the will of God and trusting Him is the best approach to relieve yourself from it all. We live in a material world. We own the freedom of choice. Put these together, and there’s a 50% risk that you maybe led to a wrong path. So, when this happens, you extract hope from your heart, from your faith, from your love that everything will turn out alright.
I thought that was truly powerful. It strengthened my faith on my husband, on my own self and on the things that are yet to come.
THE DREAM ABOUT THE STINGRAY
I always thought messages are transcribed in dreams for me. It’s in my dreams that God finds it effective to talk to me. I believe that with all my heart.
A week before I tied the knot, I had subtle cold feet. I did not need any getaway of some sort but I did pray hard expressing my fears of imagination to God before I faded to a deep sleep.
In my dreams that night, I was walking atop the ocean, gliding without drowning. When I realised I had walked far out from the beach from where I was standing (and this beach was patterned after the Discovery Bay, Hong Kong beach), I got curious as to how I was walking on top of water. So, I examined closely where I was walking on. It was a stingray and I walked passed several already. And they were as huge as living room carpets. And there were lots and lots of it. It was like a school of huuuuugge stingrays.
As soon as they knew I learned that I was actually treading on them, they gained speed. I just stood and kept holding on to my own balance as they slowly yet surely went on a move. I didn’t really know where but there was an image of a kid in the horizon.
When I woke up, I immediately looked it up. What it meant and why stingrays. This is what it said:
Stingray Dream Symbol – Stingray visits your dreams to let you know you are emotionally free of all bonds and ties. You have released all old emotional baggage and are ready to start anew. Stingray warns to avoid reacting to things with the old emotional pain. It does not serve you well. – dreamstop.com
HOW SHOULD A DAY END?
When my husband came home that night, I felt the hope for the next 5 years for us as I greeted him Happy 5th Anniversary. And more hope for the 5 more years after that multiplied by 5 to the 5 millionth power. There will always be expectations, and with it comes risks of getting disappointed. But there’s submission that God’s will will prevail despite the plans we lay out for ourselves. And that, there’s always hope that would help you keep your love on fire.