What does it mean to practice humility in our marriage? In Fr. Adam’s homily last Sunday he reflected on this virtue and I’ve been thinking about it a lot this week. One of the first thing that comes to mind as I reflect on my own humility (or Iack thereof) as it relates to marriage is that famous letter from Paul to the Corinthians. Love is many things but when practicing humility in our love we must be honest about our own weaknesses. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of judgment within our marriage. For example, he didn’t do that. She is mad at me for no reason. This fight was his/her fault. I think we can all agree that this is not the love and humility that God asks from us when He calls us to the Sacrament of Marriage.
If we are humble, we are more able to love unconditionally. God created us in His likeness and He wants us to be like Him. No doubt I’ve said the term “unconditional love” hundreds of times but not until recently did I really think about what those words actually mean. Oftentimes you hear the phrase that marriage is a “2 way street” meaning that both husband and wife need to give 50% to make a marriage work. There is definitely some truth that this but when we love unconditionally, don’t we love without demanding something in return? Isn’t that the way God loves us? Despite our human frailty and weakness God loves us. Although he desperately wants our love in return, He places no conditions on His love for us. So, in our human attempts to love unconditionally – especially our spouses, we shouldn’t place conditions on our love. In simpler terms, love doesn’t keep score.
Knowing this truth is easy. It’s putting it into practice that’s hard. It is easier to give after we have received, and I guess it’s also easier to give when we know we will eventually receive in return. What about our gift that won’t be reciprocal? Isn’t this an example of the love and compassion that God asks of us? Perhaps, God created us imperfectly so that we would recognize that in practicing compassion we most love as He loves.
During lent as we take the time to discern about our faith and prepare ourselves for Easter, we should also take time to reflect on God’s love for us. For what greater sign of God’s love is there than the gift of His only son to eventually die on the cross and save us from our humanity. While it is impossible in our human frailty to fully love as God loves, we must remember that He created us to Love like Him. It is in giving of ourselves that we receive and what better way to give to our spouse than to love them as Jesus would.