Love Named Family
By: Maksimus Adil*
After passing several months of marital life, I got an insight or inspiration or some people call it an understanding about family life. From my own experience, I have discovered that marital life is a kind of school, i.e. a school of love.
There are many reasons why I call it a school of love:
- The foundation of family life as well as the first reason why a man and a woman agree to live together as wife and husband is love. Love is the reason why two people from the opposite sex come to an agreement to hand in hand face every situation of their life (bad and luck, sick or health), to always trust and obey each other for their sake and their children.
- After a man and a woman decide to marry, the journey is not finished. I mean everything is not perfect yet for them. The decision to marry is just a beginning of a new phase in their life. This couple needs to learn more about each other’s habits and behavior, which are maybe a new discovery for him or her. These new finding can be something that you never hoped for before, something that can give you a different view of your spouse. It can make your love decrease or increase and you have to receive it as a challenge to help you to be more mature than before. So, family life is an on going process to be a real man and woman.
- Since family life is an on going process to know your spouse better and together with him or her design your future together, it is a school in its original meaning. School is a training process to be an expert for life in certain aspects.
- What do you learn in this school? It is LOVE. LOVE is the main subject for this school. When you come closer to your spouse, you can see him or her better, more clearly. Like I stated above, you will discover his or her new habit or behavior. Those discoveries can give a negative or positive effect on you. It is the real challenge. For instance this new finding makes your love or respect to your spouse decrease; as a human being that is already blessed with a mind, you have a responsibility to save your marriage, to defend it, to fulfill your oath before the public. The only one way to do it is to LEARN. You have to learn how to love your spouse and make it grow day by day.
- In this school, who is the teacher and who is the student? The spouses are teachers as well as the students. As a teacher, you have to be a model for the world how to love your partner or other people. You are a model for how you obey or fulfill your commitment and your oath before the public. At the same time both of you are students who need to always learn how to love each other.
- When will you graduate from this school? This school is a school for life. You will graduate on the day the death comes to separate you. Your graduation depends on how you live your marital life. And the only one who knows it is God and maybe yourself.
SO, don’t give up. Many problems you face along your journey in your marital life are homework or projects for the students. Just do your project or homework carefully and you will get the credit or point.
In practice (on our daily life) the situation is really complicated. Beside family problem itself, different self interest, different hobbies, many others different things which are the spouses already knew before (maybe religion, race, etc.), the situation or difficulties which we find in work or environment around us give more effect in our marital life. For these reason we need a problem management skill. But problem management skill just works if we know the priority in our life. So, we have to design our value hierarchy first and then we know what is the most, more, or even important for us. Each parties should be sit and speak together to design their value hierarchy. And because love can make everything is possible, I believe, because of love every spouses will learn more skill to make their love strength enough to face many challenges in this era.
One of the most important challenges in marital life is children. Almost all people who agree to marriage have the same dream: have children. In a normal marital relationship all spouses need to have their own descendants. As a part of society, the on-going task of these spouses is to educate or train their children to live in harmony with others.
The main subject in which parents have to train their children is LOVE. Parents have to show to their children how to love other by loving each other and their children in words and deeds. If the parents usually teach their children to love and let them experience how to be loved, those children will be great lovers for others and society will be a society of love.
By doing these, I am sure, the teacher in school will not find any difficulties with those children, criminal acts in society will decrease, and above all we create a brother and sister relationship. This is the society that we want to live in. This is the Garden of Eden society, this is the heavenly life. Each of us has the same responsibility to develop this kind of society by starting to make love as the main spirit in our family. Finally, love is love only if we practice it.
Jakarta, July 28, 2006
* The writer is Catholic Religion and 3CD teacher at Sekolah High/Scope Indonesia, TB Simatupang.