Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hand in Hand, Yet Free

This is likely going to be a quick post (though for some reason that never really works out). I just wanted to highlight a single line from Book IX of Paradise Lost, because I think it is one of the truest I've read about relationships and people to date. Adam and Eve are talking about whether they should split up so that they can get more done, and Adam is pretty opposed to it as a whole, but he says something that I think every husband and wife probably needs to learn to say and teaches us an important lesson about marriage:
Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more (372)
Adam pretty much called what was going to happen, and maybe we think he was a little bit unwise for not being more insistent with Eve, but I think he stumbled on a profound truth in realizing that were he to compel Eve or exercise any unrighteous dominion over her, it would compromise their relationship and make her more distant than if she were to simply go to a different part of the garden. Though a relationship has as its end goal the complete union of two beings, Adam recognizes that though a big part of that union is physical in nature, more important is their mutual respect and their willing heart--their unsolicited love.

One of my dear friends, who is now close to seventy years old, said the most important thing that he learned in marriage was the phrase, "You're probably right." The reality is that throughout this earthly life, marriages are going to be full of conflicting opinions and differing ways of doing things, but in the end, it's not going to matter so much who was wrong or right about one matter or another. Rather, God will look upon us and see how we have chosen to grow together through kindness and longsuffering and patience and actively being peacemakers. And I think that in the end, despite the falls that we will have made (together), we'll be better off for it all...

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