Marriage is perhaps the most striking paradox in the material cosmos. How can doing marriage right be at once so necessary and so difficult? Yet in this, it is the perfect mirror of human life itself.

While life is not simply about marriage, or in any case not with another human person, the marriage of man and woman stands as perhaps the central archetype of truly human living, in its magnificent and arduous glory. Here we see our deep kinship with the lower animal world while also how the human difference makes such a dramatic difference. Here we are daily challenged to become ourselves while also to become instruments of others becoming themselves. The reality of marriage, indeed we should say the plan for marriage, is at once so natural and so shocking, it takes the breath away.

Xenophon, the great contemporary of Plato and student of Socrates, pens in immortal words what can be discovered by all of us: “For it seems to me that the gods exercised especially acute discernment in establishing the particular pairing which is called male and female, to ensure that such a pair may form a perfect partnership in mutual service.”

Xenophon does not say that in marriage man and woman always form a perfect partnership. He says that by divine arrangement, marriage may become a perfect partnership. Acute divine discernment established the natural plan. No wonder then that acute human discernment is required to discover it. And then live it.

Often it is only in the doing of marriage that the plan can really come into focus. This can seem a flaw; wouldn’t it be better, as with building a house, to know the plan thoroughly beforehand? Point well taken.

But as is often the case in what is from nature, we come to expect the unexpected. Or rather, we find that what we thought should have been the case is not. There is actually a better way. A way that really works, if it’s really followed.

Clearly, being willing to learn as we go, and to start anew, again and again: this IS part of the plan. And it really works. Beyond our wildest imaginings. Even partial success is success. We simply must keep going; discerning; following; leading. Praying.

It’s all a gift. A gift we can learn to receive; and then also give. ~ ~ ~

**SPECIAL SESSIONS of MAN OF THE HOUSEHOLD and WOMAN OF THE HOUSEHOLD. LENT IS COMING! SIGNUP NOW to join others in special sessions of our Man of the Household or Woman of the Household online courses starting in Lent. Completely FREE. More Information HERE.

One topic covered in the course is the astounding virtue of HOUSEHOLD PRUDENCE...

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