News And Views
Two to Tango
It is the Small Things Done with Great Love that Build a Strong Marriage
By Kathleen Billings
The other night while we were eating dinner as a family, our rambunctious 2 year old, Anthony, started throwing his food from his high chair. After disciplining him, my husband got up and began cleaning up the mess, while his dinner got cold. While he was cleaning up the mess, our 7 and 9 year old (who were done eating) along with Anthony, started climbing all over my husband as he was on his hands and knees cleaning up the food from our kitchen floor. In that moment, I remember thinking – it is the little acts, like this, done with love that make me fall deeper in love with this man I am joined to in marriage! There is something so attractive that draws me in when I see my husband in humble service to me and our family. These are the moments, the little acts that we do to serve our spouse and our family each day, that build a strong marriage and family life.
Every day we are presented with opportunities to, as Mother Theresa said, “do small things with great love.” If you look at a stained glass window, it is made up of many small pieces that form a bigger picture. The little acts of service that we do each day out of love for God and our spouse create an image similar to that of a stained glass window. It is all the acts, all the pieces, when put together that make a lovely image – an image of authentic marital love. There is a beautiful quote from Alice Von Hildebrand in her book, By Love Refined, “From the outside, the stained-glass windows in a church look dull and dark; but when you enter the church and see the same windows illumined by the rays of the sun, you discover their incredible beauty. The light of the sun transforms stained-glass windows into magnificent works of art. Likewise, your love can transform the many small, boring tasks of married life into magnificent works of love.” (pp. 7-8)
As you encounter the unglamorous, everyday problems that threaten your marriage, remember that each small act of love builds your foundation stronger. What does your spouse selflessly do for you that you really appreciate? Do they make that phone call that you would rather not make? Do they clean up the garbage at the end of the driveway that an animal got into? Do they wake up with a sick child in the middle of the night and tend to their needs? What do you do to serve your spouse selflessly? Each of you have different strengths and weaknesses; knowing these will help you to serve one another in the most beneficial way.
Another powerful quote from By Love Refined is, “If someone were to give me many short bits of wool, most likely I would throw them away. What can I do with a few ounces of wool? A carpet weaver thinks differently. He knows the marvels we can achieve by using small things artfully and lovingly. Like the oriental carpet weaver, the good wife must be an artist of love. She must remember her mission and never waste the little deeds that fill her day – the precious bits of wool she’s been given to weave the majestic tapestry of married love.” (p.66)
This, of course, applies to husband and wife – both are called to weave love every day through small acts into the tapestry of your marriage. Let your marital love be refined by your willingness to embrace the mundane every day duties in a spirit of love and sacrifice. Watch your marriage grow stronger and your love for your spouse grow deeper. It is all part of God’s great plan for marriage!