A gynecologist went to teach a Pre-Cana class to a group of couples preparing for marriage. He began by saying, “Ladies, before I get started I want you to turn and look into the eyes of your fiancé.”
The doctor waited a minute and then said, “Ladies, you are looking into the eyes of the biggest baby you will ever have.” Giggles all over the room.
He continued, “You may have other babies, but you must never forget who is ‘Baby Number One’. If you do, that is when trouble often begins in marriage. If you keep him as ‘Baby Number One’, your love for one another will overflow onto all of your children.” And he added, “Gentlemen, the same goes for you.”
“…a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
St. Paul told the Ephesians,
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her….
Being subordinate is the act of loving. If I love I submit, I yield to the one I love. People who have problems with Paul’s words to the Ephesians seem to have problems with the politics of marriage and will struggle with married love. But if you want to love, you have to yield to the other, and put the other person first, submit to the other.
If you ever watch a mother with her baby, the mother is submissive to her baby. She is not reckless, but she yields to her child to serve her child.
If a marriage is going to be successful, it is important to see the other partner as your “Baby Number One”, and not allow new babies to rob a spouse of their lover, and not to see that relationship the way they were before children disappear over time in the rearview mirror.
Another way to see this is that love is a decision. Belief is a decision. We don’t always have the certainty of belief or the certainty of faith or love. Love is a choice. Belief is a choice. I chose to love you. I chose to believe in our marriage. I chose to believe in Jesus. I chose to believe that Jesus is God. I chose to believe that Jesus has given himself to us in His Precious Body and Blood.
Our choice doesn’t make it certain, but if we don’t consciously chose Jesus we will never be able to follow him. Many of Jesus’ disciples chose to stop believing him and following him. In contrast to them, Peter and the other disciples chose to remain with him. That is a critical distinction: Looking at the very same evidence the Twelve chose Jesus, while others rejected him and returned to their former ways.
In the first reading, we hear Joshua addressing the Israelites regarding his decision. It is a powerful example of choice in Faith. It is an example of the role of Spouse and Fatherhood and Parenting.
“If it does not please you to serve the LORD,
decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling.
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
By the way, that Pre-Cana session with the Gynecologist, happened over 45 years ago during the marriage preparation that Dan’s mother, Cynthia, and I took together. It’s all true.