Cast Your Net Deep
Recently Troy and I went sailing on Lake Michigan in Chicago. The weather was perfect, and the sunset was absolutely breathtaking! My husband is a former skipper (pre-marriage days), so he was delighted to be on the water and share with me his wide breadth of sailing knowledge. As I listened to him and reflected on what he was sharing, I pondered how sailing on so many levels is analogous to the spiritual walk and, in particular, the spiritual walk of spouses in marriage.
What first struck me was that it was not until we distanced ourselves from shore that the captain was able to kill the engine and set the sail. In most cases a traditional monohull cannot safely sail in shallow water, lest it run aground. It is only as the water gets deeper that the ship can begin to sail and allow the wind to become the force behind the momentum.
In the same way, if we desire for our marriage to sail, then we must be willing to lose sight of the shore, to leave our comfort zone and cast ourselves into the depth of the sacredness of the Sacrament of Marriage. It is only when we allow ourselves to leave shallow water and go deeper that real love can be given and received and the Theology of the Body becomes fully alive.
What does it mean to go deep? In essence, it is to be Christ to one another in marriage. Like the masts of the Great Tall Ships, this is indeed a tall order! God does not ask anything of us, though, that He does not give us the means to achieve. To be Christ to our spouse is attainable in cooperation with the grace that He provides for us in the Sacrament of Marriage. If we make our relationship with God priority number one, and take time to grow in that relationship through daily prayer, then His love will naturally flow through us both, thereby allowing us to experience the ultimate gift in marriage – God’s love made visible through the human flesh of our spouse. When Troy and I began to more consistently live the Theology of the Body, it was a marital game changer. We went from having a good marriage to having an exceptional marriage. God desires for us to have exceptional marriages!
Our Lord’s love is irresistible! Think about it – if you are radiating God’s love to your spouse, then you also become irresistible. When Troy loves me with Christ’s love, it is intoxicating and draws me to him like nothing else can. It is the real deal, true love in its most perfect human form. I yearn for my husband, because I yearn for Christ’s love. It is the Creator’s design for marriage. My husband is keenly aware that the key to my heart is to see Christ alive in his heart. When either of us try to love with our own strength, it is like the ship that cannot sail in shallow water. If we want our marriage to set sail, then we have to be willing to go deep and live God’s design for marriage. Just as the wind is what allows the ship to move forward, God is the wind in our lives that gives us the grace we need to keep our marital ship afloat.
We are co-captains of our own boat. We can either work with the wind or against it. One of the most fascinating truths that I learned about sailing is how the tell tails on the sail, little pinpoints with thick strings that blow in the wind, indicate to you if you are working with or against the wind. While at the helm of our marriage, we need to navigate through all kinds of weather in day-to-day life, just like the skipper at the stern of the ship, setting the direction of his sails. And as we all know too well, life is not always smooth sailing! When we work with God though, and not against Him, our marriage will blossom and we will have a supernatural peace even amidst the storms of life. When the water gets rough, we can navigate it by looking at the “tell tail” signs in our marriage to know if we are working in cooperation with God or against Him. Sometimes we need to tack our sail and change direction with our lives to go in the way of God’s will and not our own. If we desire to attain the joy that comes from having a marriage alive in Christ and a sound, stable ship, we must regularly do marital maintenance so we can tackle any storms that life presents.
Anchor your marital ship in God’s truth so you can avoid the common pitfalls that so many married couples experience today. Wherever your ship is on your journey, there is always room for growth and the opportunity to sail it into even deeper water. God has so much He wants to give us through the love of our spouse! If there is hurt that needs to be dealt with, ask God to heal it and mend your sail. Only He can redesign it in all the ways that are necessary so your ship can stay its course and sail onward and upward. Happy Sailing!