Emotional Health Spiritual Health

Sacrifice: The Essence Of Love

By Louis Nicholas Blake
First Published: July 29, 2013

Ask yourself; are you ready and willing to mount the cross for your spouse?

Msgr. Allan Ventour, Parish Priest at the Santa Rosa Roman Catholic Church, Arima, Trinidad, W.I.; issued that challenge as he delivered a “no holds barred” homily on Friday July 26, 2013.

He was speaking to a congregation who gathered that evening to celebrate the feast of the patron saints of married couples; Saints Joachim and Anne.

Saints Anne & Joachim, parents of The Blessed Virgin Mary, patron of married couples
Saints Anne & Joachim, parents of The Blessed Virgin Mary, patron of married couples

Look At The Cross: What do you see?

“Look at the cross!” he said while holding up a crucifix; Jesus Christ nailed to the cross. “Yes, you may see suffering, pain, death and destruction. But the very essence of the cross is the love of God!”

The Msgr. said God looked at us and asked: “Are YOU worth that I mount the cross for YOU?” The answer Msgr. Ventour said is in John 3:16; “Yes God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that whosoever believes in Him may not be lost, but may have eternal life.”

GOD Looked at YOU!
GOD Looked at YOU!

The Cross: at the centre of every marriage

Married couples, Msgr. Ventour said, are the living examples of God’s love because the cross (or sacrifice) is at the centre of every marriage. There are times when a spouse would say or think “I feel sorry that we got married”.

There are times when a spouse would say or think “I want to walk out of this marriage”. There are times when couples are unfaithful, when they take each other for granted. Those are the times of the cross in marriage. Those are the times, Msgr. Ventour said, we need to ask God to “help me mount the cross for my spouse and to allow my spouse to mount the cross for me.”

“The very essence of marriage is the cross,” he said, “the cross is there to show you and explain to you what love is all about.”

Husbands are you willing to mount the cross for your wife? Wives are you willing to mount the cross for your husband? Msgr. Ventour asked.

Are You Ready & Willing to Mount the Cross for your Spouse?
Are You Ready & Willing to Mount the Cross for your Spouse?

The Cross in Marriage

He told a few stories of his interaction with married couples who were challenged to mount the cross for their spouses. One was about a wife who was so angry at her husband she referred to him as “it”.

Another story was about a husband who after over 30 years of marriage did not fully appreciate how good his wife was to him. His wife fell ill and had to be hospitalized for three weeks, and over that time the husband had to look after himself. So for example instead of having home cooked meals, he had to buy fast food. He didn’t enjoy eating while his wife was ill; he ate because he had to eat.

Love One Another As Jesus Loved

Msgr. Ventour urged couples to take time to say thanks to their spouse. He told couples to make time over the weekend to sit together as a couple with a crucifix between them and reflect on the meaning of the cross in their marriage.

“The cross is the love of God; it is love to the end, no holding back,” he said. In John 13: 34 Jesus says to His disciples “Now I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also must love one another.”

Msgr. Ventour ended his homily by urging married couples to “love as Jesus loved.”

Love as Jesus Loved
Love as Jesus Loved

Also see ‘Forgiveness & Healing”: Click Here

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Emotional Health Spiritual Health

Is There Need For Forgiveness and Healing?

By Louis Nicholas Blake
First Published: April 7, 2013
Updated: October 24, 2019

Movies and television shows portray that relationships are mainly for fun and good times.  Once people are getting along well with each other and share enjoyable experiences; friendships will flourish.

Flourishing friendships in some shows progress to marriage and if things don’t work out in marriage, there’s always divorce.  Hence the subliminal message that there is no need for forgiveness and healing in relationships and especially so in marriage.

Does that sound familiar?  Is that the message that has subconsciously soaked into our national psyche?

On September 17, 2012, at the opening of the 2012-2013 law term in Trinidad and Tobago (TT), the Chief Justice Ivor Archie in his address, noted that there were over 4,000 divorces granted and almost 3,000 applications filed for divorce in the previous year.

In April 2013 figures for marriages available on the TT Central Statistical Office (CSO) website showed there were 7,917 marriages in 2006; 8,144 in 2005 and 7,889 in 2004.  The average for those three years is a little over 7,980 marriages per year.  If marriages in 2012 were in the region of 8,000 it means that over 50% of married couples got divorced that year.

Could it be that one of the reasons for the alarming increase in the divorce rate in Trinidad and Tobago is the belief that there is no need for forgiveness and healing in relationships?

If married couples are not prepared to ‘stand for any nonsense from their spouse’, is it possible they are missing out on the importance of the sterling qualities of forgiveness and healing in a marriage?  And what about other qualities like respect, patience and perseverance?

Society seems to accept that “no pain no gain” is only limited to either weight loss or body building.  People abhor the idea that pain could somehow be beneficial to our human experience.

And yet everyday, humans experience pain.  Pain in its many varied forms; physical or emotional hurts, spiritual or intellectual dryness are a normal part of our human existence.

The first phase of our marriage is like a huge bubble of romantic illusion.  We are attracted to specific characteristics in our spouse whom we adore and who can do no wrong.

But as time goes on and we face the stresses of daily life, that bubble of romantic illusion burst and we come face to face with the human being who is our spouse, faults and good qualities all rolled into one.  Suddenly the things that he or she does or says that used to be ‘cute’ become a bother.

For husband and wife the priority become working to provide the trappings of a happy marriage:  the house, the car, the money to take overseas vacations, party in the hottest all inclusive fete or attend the most talked about concert seated in the VVIP section.

Of course if a baby comes along, that adds another set of duties, activities and expenses.  And in some instances a baby or two may be there before marriage.

In that busy intense scenario, husband and wife either do not have the time or are too tired to do the “couple” things to maintain that primary foundation relationship of husband and wife.

He takes time out to de-stress with sports; football, cricket, boys night out.  She takes time out to de-stress with gym, movies, the girls lime.  Some distractions may occur, like a co-worker of the opposite sex with a listening ear.  Some irritants crop up like a sink full of dirty wares or things not in the right place.

Husband and wife now feel alienated.  They don’t have time for each other like they used to.  They don’t talk with each other like they used to.  In fact they get on each other’s nerves and argue more than they used to.  Misery, loneliness, pain!

They are faced with – my husband is not who I expected him to be; my wife is not who I expected her to be.

They however stick it out for some more time until “I can’t take it no more!”  And what is the solution? Divorce!

They will never experience forgiveness and healing and the benefit of a renewed, mature, stable relationship of a lifelong marriage.  How sad!

Couples who need forgiveness and healing in their marriage check out:

Emotional Health Spiritual Health

Happiness At What Level? At What Cost?

Someone told me it was better for a married couple to divorce and be happy, than to remain arguing and unhappy in the marriage

The person was implying that it was better to divorce than to seek to repair and renew the marriage.

The opinion and implication expressed in the opening statement, begs the question: what level of happiness will be achieved? … and at what cost?

 Our Search For Happiness
Our Search For Happiness

In its short description of the four levels of happiness, the Spitzer Center explained that level one happiness is seeking immediate gratification.

The objective is for pleasure or to minimize pain, there is no desire for the common, intrinsic or ultimate good. This level of happiness is short lived and shallow. “If we get stuck in level one (1) our lives become a roller coaster constantly seeking to satisfy our next desire.”

So if we are to analyse the opening statement and implication, we see the desire for divorce is to “minimize” the “pain” of argument or conflict in the marriage. There may also be an unspoken desire to pursue “pleasure” in a relationship outside of the marriage.

Continuing with the idea that level one leads to a roller coaster lifestyle experience, seeking to satisfy our next desire, let’s look at divorce rates in first, second and third marriages.

Psychology Today states that “statistics have shown that in the U.S. 50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second, and 73% of third marriages end in divorce.”

The statistical evidence shows that the “happiness” achieved by a divorce does not last!

So what’s your answer … is the happiness of divorce, a “level one” happiness?

We’ll continue our discussion in my next post on this topic.

If you want options instead of divorce, Click Here!

Presented by

Louis Blake
Updated: September 28, 2019

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