The book of Tobit speaks clearly. Marriages are made in heaven.
The Jewish Rabbis even affirm that from the very beginning of conception, God builds every person in such a way that he has a physical and emotional penchant towards the specific woman He has in mind for him. And naturally He does the same for a woman.
A noble lady went to Rabbi Josef Ben Kalafta and asked him how long God took to create the world. “Six days” he replied. “And what has He been doing since then?” she retorted. “He has been working on harmonizing the relationships between a man and a woman. He makes men and women meet for marriage.” “What?!” she said with wide open eyes. “Is this God’s work? A matchmaker?! That is very easy. Even I am able to do that!” “May be it is easy for you”, the Rabbi concluded, “but in God’s eyes, it was easier to open the Red Sea than to match successfully a couple for marriage!”
The lady wanted to prove the Rabbi wrong. So she brought together a thousand slaves, half of them men and half women, she placed facing each other, she passed through the middle and she decided who marries who: “you marry this man and you marry this woman…” Then she sent them home. Within a week, practically all her servants were behind her door… a number had a bandaged head, others had a black eye, a guy came with a broken leg, the other had a bitten ear… They all cried out with the same complaint… they just could not stand their partner.
The noble lady had to call Rabbi Josef and admit: “There is no god like your God, and no truth that resembles the Torah. What you said, that only God can match, is just right and just.”
So the question arises, why do so many marriages fail if God is behind a marriage? Because it may happen the couple fails to realize the wisdom and love behind the choice that God made and so they do not put their heart and mind in this endeavour. A wise man said that marriage is to be built every day if it is to remain whole and strong.
What does building every day mean? Concretely it means building on forgiveness not on liking. Marriage is the union of two forgivers. Marriage is built on the cross and not on good manners.
They had just arrived home after the reception that their children organised for them on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary. “I want to tell you something today, but do not be offended!” the husband said. “What is he coming up with?!” murmured the wife. “Do you remember the first time I came to your place and you prepared a plate of spaghetti and I told you that spaghetti was my favourite dish? The truth is I hate spaghetti! I did not want to embarrass you and I have been putting up with the spaghetti that I don’t like for fifty years!” Stunned, the wife replied, “You tell me now! I never liked spaghetti either but I always cooked them because of you…” replied the wife.
A good dose of humour in marriage helps also!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.