On Marriage


This is Just to Say
William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

This is my favorite poem on marriage.  I know. I’m a little strange.  But I love it,  because it speaks to the truth about marriage.  Every now and then, we go to the fridge looking forward to eating that one final piece of cake or piece of fruit and find  that what we had expected to be there, is no longer there. 

How we react to those disappointments and changes of plans throughout our marriage, from missing fruit, to a sudden illness, to any derailed expectation  impacts this sacred relationship.

 I love what Madeleine L’Engle says on the subject, from “The Irrational Season”

But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.

To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take.If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.

This Sunday our lectionary is on The Wedding at Cana.  The  wedding business has nothing to do with the reality of marriage.  The celebration at the wedding at Cana is not about the celebration of the bride and groom. The celebration is that Jesus provides for them on their wedding day and will continue to provide for them throughout their marriage.  Marriage cannot be sustained on superficial substance, it can only be sustained on principles of grace, grace and grace.- That is the real miracle.

The real miracle is that when we go to the fridge and look forward to eating that delicious treat, and find that our spouse has enjoyed it instead, we take a breath, smile, tell them to go get us another one– and they do! 🙂

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