I gotta have my orange juice.

Jesu, Juva

Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Fulfillment

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Genesis 2:18 describes the man’s problem as being his aloneness, but it describes the solution as being “a helper fit for him.” This phrase is important for understanding the relationship of woman to man, especially in marriage. . . As Von Rad points out, the phrase is not a romantic evaluation of woman. Rather, it presents woman as “useful” to man. The use of the word “useful” here does not suggest that Genesis teaches that man should approach woman as “a thing” or “use her,” nor that he should not love her and care for her. But in an age when many writers tend to idealize deep interpersonal sharing relationships and read them back into Genesis, it is important to point out that the writers of scripture approach personal relationships with a certain practicality and common sense. A man’s wife is supposed to “do something” for him, just as he is supposed to “do something” for her. If she does not do what she is supposed to do for him, (and if he does not do what he is supposed to do for her) deep interpersonal sharing will not make the marriage a good marriage. Genesis describes her part in the marriage as being a helper to the man in the work of establishing a household and family. (Stephen B. Clark, Man and Woman in Christ, 22)

Written by Scott Moonen

December 30, 2018 at 9:16 am

Posted in Marriage, Quotations

A great story

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You can learn nearly every secret of life if you really faithfully live out your great love, and become the husband of a wife, of one wife. That’s a great story. (Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Comparative Religion, 1954)

Written by Scott Moonen

December 12, 2018 at 9:35 am

Posted in Marriage, Quotations

Nowhere

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We must realize the yawning pitfall in that very characteristic of home life which is so often glibly paraded as its principal attraction. ‘It is there that we appear as we really are: it is there that we can fling aside the disguises and be ourselves.’ These words, in the Vicar’s mouth, were only too true and he showed at the lunch table what they meant. Outside his own house he behaves with ordinary courtesy. He would not have interrupted any other young man as he interrupted his son. He would not, in any other society, have talked confident nonsense about subjects of which he was totally ignorant: or, if he had, he would have accepted correction with good temper. In fact, he values home as the place where he can ‘be himself’ in the sense of trampling on all the restraints which civilized humanity has found indispensable for tolerable social intercourse. And this, I think, is very common. What chiefly distinguishes domestic from public conversation is surely very often simply its downright rudeness. What distinguishes domestic behavior is often its selfishness, slovenliness, incivility—even brutality. And it will often happen that those who praise home life most loudly are the worst offenders in this respect: they praise it—they are always glad to get home, hate the outer world, can’t stand visitors, can’t be bothered meeting people, etc.—because the freedoms in which they indulge themselves at home have ended by making them unfit for civilized society. If they practised elsewhere the only behaviour they now find ‘natural’ they would simply be knocked down.

How, then, are people to behave at home? If a man can’t be comfortable and unguarded, can’t take his ease and ‘be himself’ in his own house, where can he? That is, I confess, the trouble. The answer is an alarming one. There is nowhere this side of heaven where one can safely lay the reins on the horse’s neck. It will never be lawful simply to ‘be ourselves’ until ‘ourselves’ have become sons of God. It is all there in the hymn—‘Christian, seek not yet repose.’ This does not mean, of course, that there is no difference between home life and general society. It does mean that home life has its own route of courtesy—a code more intimate, more subtle, more sensitive, and, therefore, in some ways more difficult, than that of the outer world.

Finally, must we not teach that if the home is to be a means of grace it must be a place of rules? There cannot be a common life without a regula. The alternative to rule is not freedom but the unconstitutional (and often unconscious) tyranny of the most selfish member.

In a word, must we not either cease to preach domesticity or else begin to preach it seriously? Must we not abandon sentimental eulogies and begin to give practical advice on the high, hard, lovely, and adventurous art of really creating the Christian family? (C. S. Lewis, “The Sermon and the Lunch,” God in the Dock)

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32)

“You reckon he’s crazy?”

Miss Maudie shook her head. “If he’s not he should be by now. The things that happen to people we never really know. What happens in houses behind closed doors, what secrets—”

“Atticus don’t ever do anything to Jem and me in the house that he don’t do in the yard,” I said, feeling it my duty to defend my parent.

“Gracious child, I was raveling a thread, wasn’t even thinking about your father, but now that I am I’ll say this: Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets. How’d you like some fresh poundcake to take home?”

I liked it very much. (Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, chapter 5)

See also: Self–control, Personhood.

Written by Scott Moonen

July 3, 2018 at 6:23 pm

Joy

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The principle is this: that in everything worth having, even in every pleasure, there is a point of pain or tedium that must be survived, so that the pleasure may revive and endure. The joy of battle comes after the first fear of death; the joy of reading Virgil comes after the bore of learning him; the glow of the sea-bather comes after the icy shock of the sea bath; and the success of the marriage comes after the failure of the honeymoon. All human vows, laws, and contracts are so many ways of surviving with success this breaking point, this instant of potential surrender.

In everything on this earth that is worth doing, there is a stage when no one would do it, except for necessity or honor. It is then that the Institution upholds a man and helps him on to the firmer ground ahead. Whether this solid fact of human nature is sufficient to justify the sublime dedication of Christian marriage is quite an other matter, it is amply sufficient to justify the general human feeling of marriage as a fixed thing, dissolution of which is a fault or, at least, an ignominy. The essential element is not so much duration as security. Two people must be tied together in order to do themselves justice; for twenty minutes at a dance, or for twenty years in a marriage. In both cases the point is, that if a man is bored in the first five minutes he must go on and force himself to be happy. Coercion is a kind of encouragement; and anarchy (or what some call liberty) is essentially oppressive, because it is essentially discouraging. If we all floated in the air like bubbles, free to drift anywhere at any instant, the practical result would be that no one would have the courage to begin a conversation. It would be so embarrassing to start a sentence in a friendly whisper, and then have to shout the last half of it because the other party was floating away into the free and formless ether. The two must hold each other to do justice to each other. If Americans can be divorced for “incompatibility of temper” I cannot conceive why they are not all divorced. I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes unquestionable. For a man and a woman, as such, are incompatible. (G. K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong With the World, part 1, chapter 7)

See also: Irrevocable.

Written by Scott Moonen

June 13, 2018 at 9:12 am

Posted in Marriage, Quotations

Future

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Marriage:
Isn’t founded on a proof or prediction of a good future.
Isn’t a mutual experiment in hope of a good future.
Is a risky and courageous mutual determination to create a future.
(Summarizing Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy)

Written by Scott Moonen

July 18, 2017 at 6:39 am

Posted in Marriage

Coming true

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By what means is attachment established? Very simple now. By a word spoken, may it be only three letters, “yes,” by which a person is willing to stand by this one word for the rest of his life, or her life—that is speech. To . . . speak with potency, with fertility, with fecundity, with procreational power, comes from our opportunity to throw ourselves behind our own word, to verify this word. . . .

If that word is true, then it has to come true. The English, wonderful phrase for verification is “to come true.” You have to make it come true. So the truth is always planted into this world, gentlemen, by a word, and the acts follow. And that’s how the spirit becomes flesh. You say, “I am this girl’s bridegroom.” And it takes you 50 years to become it. And that’s why the declaration is so important. The declaration in itself would be nonsense, if you wouldn’t do anything with it. It allows you now to make it come true. That’s why you have to say it. Before, she will not budge. That’s why at that moment you are the bridegroom, because you go at anchor, and you declare which direction from now on your various steps shall have, or in which light they shall be interpreted. . . .

For example, you take two men. One, engaged; and the other, married. And they take ship, and sail from New York to New Zealand. Well, the engaged one everybody will suspect of running to New Zealand, so that he has not to marry the girl. The husband we’ll investigate and we’ll say, “The poor man has to make a living. He can only . . . make it by selling sewing machines in New Zealand. So now they are separate for a long time.” But he got married before to express his willingness to stick it out.

The same act, gentlemen, like separation, for a lover . . . and a bridegroom are very different, because the bridegroom has already declared that all his steps from now on must be seen as circling around his power to build this nest, to come back, to send money, to raise his children, or what-not, to acquire a new citizenship, if you want, or a place in New Zealand. That’s all possible, but then the wife and children will come after him. That is, not one step a man takes, for example, after his wedding, can be understood except in the light of this first declaration. (Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Cross of Reality, 1953)

Written by Scott Moonen

June 8, 2017 at 5:49 pm

Posted in Marriage, Quotations

Yes

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Soft is the breath of a maiden’s YES:
Not the light gossamer stirs with less;
But never a cable that holds so fast
Through all the battles of wave and blast,
And never an echo of speech or song
That lives in the babbling air so long!
There were tones in the voice that whispered then
You may hear to-day in a hundred men.

(Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Dorothy Q.“)

Written by Scott Moonen

June 8, 2017 at 5:35 pm

Posted in Marriage, Poetry