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January 30, 1998     The Message
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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana i _ Views of a marriage with and without By ANDREW AND TERRI LYKE Catholic News Service We believe that had it not been for faith, our marriage, now 22 years long, would have lasted at best five years. The truth is, we didn't really know what we were getting into when we said "I do" for "better" and for "worse." How does faith factor into married life? How do faith and life meet in this very "real" context? Faith takes a marriage to heights and depths that a couple Can never reach as individuals. When the chips are down and married partners are trapped in disillusionment about their relationship, faith allows them to discover and redis- cover reasons to make it work. Particularly in a marriage's early years, the "romance to disillusionment to acceptance" cycle is experienced as perennial. Until a couple really experi- ences what it takes to arrive at the accep- tance that can follow disillusionment, the "for worse" part of their marriage vows won't have practical meaning. In fact: Experiencing the "worse" times leads to the dissolution of many marriages. However, surviving disillusionment and experiencing the deepening of love in spite of, or even because of, difficul- ties increases a couple's confidence. This increased confidence in their mar- riage buoys them for the next (inevitable) storm. The new confidence allows the couple to "believe in" something that is beyond what they can see. We believe that discovering the sacred in our relationship helped us to envision ourselves in a "til death do us part" kind of marriage. This isn't an automatic process for cou- ples. To get through the quagmire of dis- illusionment in order to experience the joy of acceptance, couples need: Openness to new goals. Fresh dreams, and A willingness to see the relationship differently. This may be difficult when the vision No of the marriage is built solely upon the agendas, collective though they may be, of the two partners. In that case, it may be very hard for a spouse to let go of a personal goal or lifelong dream for the sake of the marriage without feeling resent- ment. To embrace change, new goals and dreams, faith is an essential component, one that directs and reshapes the spouses' individual visions of the marriage. Faith trans- forms the marriage and pushes it toward a Godly relationship. By discovering and nurturing a spiritual life together, we came to recognize a synergy in our mar- riage. We found a co-creativity in us that we attribute to the faith com- ponent of our marriage. When we consider choices we made over the years -- choices shaped by faith  we find that we actually grew. We experienced transformation! For example, in 1993, after much prayer and discussion, Andrew decided to leave his job at Ameritech to continue family-ministry studies. It wasn't easy because some execu- tive managers there were mentoring him, really helping his career along. Even when the decision was made, the doubts didn't evaporate overnight. In fact, Andrew panicked at the last moment  on the last day he could change his mind about resigning. He was reaching for the phone to call and say the job change was off when the phone rang. It was a call from the direc- tor of family ministries in a diocese in Illinois offering him a position as an associate director. While we had had no plans to relocate, Andrew heard this as a call from God saying: "Don't worry; you are valued." We view our marriage as a triad made up of the two of us and God. Picture a triangle with God at the top "Picture a triangle with God at the top and the two spouses at the base. The closer the spouses are to God, the closer they explain marriage counselors Andrew and Terri Lyke. -- CNS gra and the two spouses flanking the angles at the base. The closer the spouses are to God, the closer they are to each other. Through prayer as a couple, we acknowl- edge God in our midst, and we draw closer to God and each other. To move toward God along the lines of this triad, our vision must encompass more than our individual goals. It must also be more than our mutual goals as a couple. We must be open to God's agenda. We discern God's agenda by embrac- ing the story of God, a story so promis- ing and compelling that we claim it for ourselves. Through study, reflection, prayer and action, we find ourselves con- necting with the story of God and becoming transformed by it. The confidence in grows over time is in God, who takes us never have dreamed own. But this is not ed in pragmatic thinkg" faith-choices just don't a practical standpoint. Without faith to age, invite and would have gotten would have known has in store for us. Z -i! The Lykes are coordinator Ministry nity for the Archdiocese By FATHER JOHN J. CASTELOT Catholic News Service At the beginning of his ministry esus left Nazareth and moved about 20 miles east to Capernaum. As a result, his rela- tives and townspeople knew of his activ- ity only by hearsay, and what they heard alarmed them. Surely he would break under the strain of such incessant work! Also, they were embarrassed by reports of Jesus' conflicts with religious authorities. Fearing for his sanity, they came to "seize him," to bring him back home where they could keep an eye on him (Mark 3:21). When they arrived, ey couldn't even get into the room where he was teaching, so great was the crowd. Those on the crowd's edges passed along word that his relatives were outside, looking for him. Then Jesus asked, "Who are my moth- er and my brothers?" Looking around at his audience, he said: "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother"(Mark 3:21-35). Jesus was not disowning his blood rel- atives, but he indicated that he had anoth- er family that was characterized by doing God's will. Nor was he suggesting that his own relatives did not do that will. Instead, he was insisting that this "doing" created a bond even floser than blood ties. Throughout his ministry Jesus empha- sized the "doing" of God's will, which means drawing no boundary line between faith and everyday living. In this he continued the teaching of the prophets. God had complained through Isaiah: "This people draws near with words only and honors me with their lips alone .... And their reverence for me has become routine observance of the pre- cepts of men" (Isaiah 29:13). Jesus' hearers, then, would already have been familiar with the teaching that faith cannot amount to words alone. They would have known that any reli- gion that does not express itself in heart- felt actionis a caricature of the real thing. In fact, the Jews prided themselves on being God's special people. They had accepted God's law as their national con- stitution. To be a Jew was to observe God's law, and that law touched every facet of life. A divorce between religion and daily life was a contradiction. Good Jews observed God's law every moment of every day. For them, to neglect this law in even ordinary actions  even in one's diet was to spurn God's will. Of course, this insistence on external actions could lead to hypocrisy, to putting on a show of piety without inter- nal convictions to match. But the under- lying principle cautioned the people not to make a ru It was this that they Father Castelot is a author, teacher d throu