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Royal Wedding

by Tami L on May 2nd, 2011 in Spouses

On Friday, the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Catherine Middleton took place.  I watched the video and the Bishop of London’s sermon was so great, that I’ve gone back to the transcript and read it several times.   It is a beautiful message on marriage and so for this blog, I wanted to post some quotes from the Bishop’s sermon and share some brief reflections on it.

Here are parts of the sermon:

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena… 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.”

“In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.

William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each another.

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.”

“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.”

“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.”

I just think this is a wonderful description of marriage.  It rings true to me and what God has been showing me lately about marriage and how God is using our marriage to transform us.

Scripture says that in marriage we become one flesh (Gen.2:24, Matt. 19:5). In Matthew 19,  Jesus states that God created marriage to be two people joining together, no longer being two, but one.  He reminds them of the beauty of marriage, how it was originally intended to be.  In Genesis, God gave Adam the gift of Eve.  Before the fall, they were to be companions, they were meant to add to each others’ lives by their very being.  The fall of Adam and Eve obviously created chaos – things are not as they were intended to be and we see that in our world and in our marriages today.  But, thank God, Jesus came to give us a chance to re-connect to our God and His original design for our lives.

“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.”

“…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.”  (The Bishop of London)

The new, amazing reality of our new nature, Jesus in us, means that He is restoring us to our true selves – more complete in love, joy, peace, kindness, compassion, generosity…  Our old selves/nature – the attitudes and actions that are not healthy, helpful or good can now be put to death in Christ.  Colossians 3:10 reminds us that “In its [old self/nature] place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you.”  Our new identity then flows into every part of our lives, including our marriage.

To become our true selves, we first have to become aware of who/what our old selves are.  And through our marriage, God has and continues to make Brian and I aware of things in us that need transformation.  We have found that our old selves, our dark sides, our sins are all magnified in our marriage.  With God’s gentle guidance (never in condemnation), we can honestly look at the areas we need to change and with God’s grace, we are becoming more our true selves.

I am learning that Brian’s transformation process, does not come from me. Believe me I’ve tried.  (Confession, I am so still far from perfect here!)  In our struggle with Brian’s addiction, God may have used me to reveal how destructive Brian’s addiction was and Brian’s need for transformation but only God could change His heart.   I reference a lot that when I felt God calling me to stop trying to control Brian, and in my heart I handed Brian over totally to God, that’s when he really started to change.  As the Bishop said;

“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.”

Perhaps my letting go, allowed “the Spirit to flow” into Brian.

It’s not an easy process to be sure.  Our deepest darkness, Brian’s addiction and passivity, my anger, control issues and unhealthy attachments – these false parts of us were brought out in our marriage.  And, I think God knew this.  In bringing out each others brokenness and we had no place to turn but Him. In all of this, I learned how to more fully trust God, no matter what happened, God is good I can trust Him.  Through this Brian has felt and experienced God’s love in a way he never had before.  As we turned to God, he filled us with love and His love can then flow through us to each other.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. ” (1 John 4:7)

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