“It is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his garden; and it grew and became a tree.” (Luke 13:19)
In St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians today, we get to see two vital ingredients in marriage; Love and Respect. The truth is that love and respect are not two separate entities entirely; just as love is not complete without respect, respect is nothing without love.
The beauty of love and respect is that not only are they relevant for the sustenance of marriage, but they are also the two elements capable of sustaining any friendship. A friend who does not see anything of value in you, who constantly criticises, insults and condemns you is more likely to bring out the worst in you. The kind of words we use on our spouses determines the direction of their lives.
There is no need trying to win every argument. There is great wisdom in being the first to apologize even if you are right. Do not think of the present moment only; think of what that little misunderstanding could amount to when allowed to fester on. In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a grain of mustard seed which starts very small but soon grows to become a thousand times bigger than the seed.
Quarrels and fights in marriage are like grains of mustard seed. When these fights are not forgiven, they pile up in our memories little by little and before you know it, they affect the quality of our love for our spouse. Marital love is a fire, if it is not properly fed with fuel, it soon quenches. Over-familiarity (looking down on your spouse) kills marital love. This is why respect is all-vimportant. I have never seen any human being who does not like to be treated like a god or a king. Treat your spouse with all the respect he or she deserves; know that respect begets respect.
Every time you deliberately do something to hurt your spouse, it always backfires. Remember you are no longer two people but one person. Just as you will not be happy to walk if one half of your body is paralysed, you cannot be happy is your other half (your spouse) is not happy. Whenever there is a fight or quarrel, there is never a winner but two losers. Love your spouse as you love your own body and respect him or her.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, we commit our marriages and families to you. Restore love and respect to those who now lack these qualities. Amen.
Bible Study: Ephesians 5:21-33, Psalm 128:1-5 and Luke 13:18-21).