Mercy in Marriage
When Troy and I were first married, we received an Image of The Divine Mercy as a gift. We proudly display it in our home as a witness to what we believe and what we strive to live as a couple. At the bottom of the image are the words, “Jesus, I trust in you.” Over the course of our marriage, I have looked at this beautiful image and those words many, many times.
In college I had the opportunity to go to the Divine Mercy Shrine in Poland where Our Lord appeared to St. Faustina under the form of this image. There I had the privilege to delve more deeply into the mystery of the immense mercy Our Lord has for us and further realize the immense mercy we are called to show one another.
At the heart of the Divine Mercy message is the fact that God loves us no matter how great our sins. He wants us to call upon him with childlike trust and confidence, recognizing that His mercy is greater than our sins. When we receive His mercy with an open heart that same mercy can then flow through us to others.
In marriage we are given ample opportunity to give and receive mercy. Our spouses see all of us – the good, the bad and the ugly! Mercy is like a judge finding you guilty, but withholding the punishment due. Grace is the gift given despite the sin committed. In marriage it can be tempting to want to get back at, or in a sense punish, your spouse for hurt he/she may have purposely or inadvertently caused you. Human nature is tainted by original sin, but God gives us the grace we need in the sacrament of marriage to rise above our tainted nature. Then we can truly love our spouses with God’s love and practice His mercy without strings attached.
I am not the first person, nor will I be the last, to say that this is not easy. It is challenging to love the way Christ loved. I have found in my own marriage that I learn one step at a time. When I fall, I beg God for His mercy and strength to get back up and keep going. As much as I love my husband and see Christ at work in him, I get angry, frustrated, tired, worn out, and overwhelmed. It is at these times that I look at the image of Our Lord – the image of Divine Mercy, and I pray the words inscribed at the bottom, “Jesus I trust in You.” I may not see the end of the road nor understand why God allows the various crosses we have been given to carry in our marriage, but I know that I have to trust in Him and his plan.
I have found that when Troy and I are merciful towards one another, we both experience immense peace and freedom. God blesses our marital union in ways that neither one of us could have imagined. Learning to be merciful towards one another is an ongoing task; but it is also a priceless gift we can to give to one another.
Use this year of mercy in the Church as a time to explore more intimately the mercy God offers to you, so you may show His mercy to the world through the love and mercy you give to your spouse. When a husband and wife truly love one another and live a life of mercy together, it shows! It is a witness to others of the beauty of a sacrament lived out according to God’s plan. As you navigate through the challenging times in your marriage remember that God’s mercy is like an ocean. You can always draw from it. It is your unending source of strength to draw from to live a holy, happy, meaningful, and fulfilling marriage.