|Our 2009 Family Reunion--Ben was performing in Les Miserables and couldn't join us.|
There’s a little shop and garden that Judy and I enjoy whenever we visit Cambria on the Central Coast. It features aromatic herbs and gardens and fun odds and ends. On our last visit we purchased a wooden heart that reads: All Because Two People Fell in Love. We’ve hung it next to our family photo.
Beginning at Thanksgiving each year I meditate and pray about my central focus for the coming year. Two years ago it was “Love your wife and meet her needs.” That year I was afraid that I might lose her to illness. She was exhibiting symptoms which seemed a lot like congestive heart failure--very frightening. Several months later she was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and began to improve with treatment.
This second year the answer was, “Make Judy the center of your life.” After 50 years of dating and marriage I would have thought that these themes were solidly in place. Apparently not at the level Heavenly Father knows we need to achieve.
When I was hospitalized in Frederick, MD with clinical depression, Bishop Glen Tayler told us that other couples working through similar difficulties turned on each other and mostly split up. He said that in contrast Judy and I held on tighter and our marriage was strengthened.
There was a time just before my hospitalization when I said something about divorce. Judy responded: This marriage isn’t about you or about me or even about us but about our commitment to the institution of covenant marriage and there will be no more talk about divorce. That’s just sick thinking. Subsequently we’ve learned that should I ever have these negative thoughts again it’s symptomatic of illness and we need to stop, drop, and roll; i.e. seek immediate professional help.
The most powerful unit in the universe is a covenant marriage--consider worlds without end. It doesn't take much to figure that Satan will do all he can to drive a wedge between husband and wife. It might even be his main focus. Whenever any of us feels negatively toward our wife or husband let there be red flags waving and alarms blaring: Run, don't walk. This is spiritual, perhaps physical or emotional pathology. Get help now. Don't claw at each other or turn inward--cutting yourself off from the other; rather hold each other tight and live.