News And Views
My Catholic Marriage
The Voice of Choice
This week’s entry is written by Daniel.
Let me begin by saying that I am not as eloquent as my wife. To give you proper perspective, Sarah worked at the writing center when we were in college and I was a frequent user of the writing center. That said, I would like to focus on a few things in this post through an all-encompassing story. I hope to address my faith, conflicts within marriage, and my new understanding of love. That’s not such a bad thesis (maybe the writing center did help!)
I remember when Sarah and I never fought. In the first days of dating, you want to seem as pleasing as possible to the other person, but eventually that changes (as it should.) One day, Sarah and I had a fight about religion and God. This was by no means our first fight, but it was a fight that I will NEVER forget.
At that time, I was practically an agnostic. I did not believe God existed because I couldn’t prove it in my mind. I had no “proof” that God existed, therefore he did not. Then one day Sarah and I had a conversation about faith.
Not too far into this conversation, Sarah and I were upset with each other and she was practically in tears. I don’t raise my voice when arguing which drives Sarah crazy because I’m calm when she thinks I should be showing more emotion. For the life of me, I cannot remember the sentence that preceded what Sarah said to me, but what she said to me changed my life forever. After arguing with all my intellect, Sarah responded with this simple phrase, “You don’t understand because you don’t have as much faith as I do.”
I’m not sure how to describe the way I felt when she said that. I didn’t believe in God, but her statement hit me like a bullet. What does she mean she has more faith than I do?? The nerve of that girl! Who does she think I am? Not knowing what to say, I stormed out of the room after having to move Sarah out of my way (don’t worry I just picked her up and moved her 6 inches). She was yelling my name down the hallway, saying she was sorry but I was already out of the building.
I don’t remember running, but I was at my destination faster than I had ever been before. Furious with Sarah, I had to take time to cool off. I stopped at a park bench near the school library, pacing back and forth. I was a mess. I didn’t believe there was a God, so why was I so bothered that I didn’t have as much faith as she did? I’m better off not believing in her silly religion anyway, right? But I couldn’t stop thinking about what she said.
An hour went by as I sat on the bench. Then it happened. While slumping over on a bench in the middle of our college campus with my hands wrapped around my head, I heard a voice. Not just any voice, but a voice that I had never heard before. It was a calm, clear, non-gendered voice, neither high nor low. Hearing voices is a cause for concern to a 19 year old clinical psychology student, but the voice was comforting, as a best friend’s voice is comforting when you are all alone and scared. The voice simply said “Go back.” It never repeated itself, but it was one of the clearest things I have ever heard. So I listened, and I went back.
When I went back to Sarah, I found her in tears. Even though she was crying she looked more beautiful to me than ever before. I could see that she loved me and that she was very sad at the thought of losing me, even though I was the one in the wrong. She hugged me and we talked for hours with a million apologies on both sides. I believe that I heard the voice of God that night.
After all our years together, I finally understand why the voice sent me back. God could have said, “Hey dummy, I’m over here.” God could have done wondrous things to prove to me that he existed. But he didn’t want to prove himself to me, he wanted me with Sarah. Over the next several years, I began to deepen my faith with Sarah. It started with prayer and then church. She taught me how faith could make sense. I learned from her (and others) that the existence of God and miracles doesn’t conflict with logic, but that logically the world could only exist through God.
What happened that night has spilled over into my entire life. First, faith makes sense; once I held God as a truth everything else seemed to fit, but without God nothing fit. Second, having a wonderful wife, family, and friends has taught me that faith deepens through relationships because each one of us holds Christ within us. Our faith becomes more powerful and understandable when we share it, rather than hide it. Third, our marital fights may be very serious, but we always know how they will end. Each of us now knows that we are meant for the other. We constantly try to lead each other to Christ because that is what it means to love someone. Sometimes we just forget and argue about dishes or the fact that I sleep all the time.
Fourth and finally, I am always listening for that voice to tell me what to do again. But what I have learned over the years is that voice now comes from within me. I have never experienced that feeling again, but I believe that God opened my heart to help me see his will more clearly. God never told me what to do, but he made the choice obvious.
Since this is probably the only time that I will ever get something “published” I just wanted to add an acknowledgement. I would like to thank God for always leading my heart with his message of love, and to my wife, Sarah, who helps me listen and interpret.