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- Added February 23rd, 2013
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On Prayer and marriage
By Laura Black in All Sorts
have you ever thought about what is similar between prayer and marriageON PRAYER & MARRIAGE
I see your raised eyebrow from here. What does Laura know about prayer? you may be thinking. Or worse, you may consider me such a hopeless amateur that you now have the giggles in anticipation. Hmmmm. Well, let's see where I can get to ...
Anne Lamont, an American, Christian, author has written that there are only three essential prayers: "Help", "Thanks", and "Wow". (I suggest we include "Forgive me" in the "Help" category, but you may wish to consider it a fourth essential.)
In contrast, Sister Elizabeth Espersen (of Texas) allows one essential prayer "The name of God."
You may be like me, thinking: Really? That's it? That's all? But Sr Elizabeth says that "When a mother hears her child call her name,
she knows everything she needs to know. That one word is enough."
Ah, now there she has a point.
When we think of relying upon another person, whether it is mutual or one-way*, aren't the best moments when we see each other well enough for just the calling of a name to suffice?
The pleasure lies in the knowing that the other person knows you well enough to understand that your call is genuinely made, that you trust your vulnerability to them, and that your request is honest. (Even if it was your turn to take out the rubbish, you are honest in your tiredness or having done too much or simply needing to be taken care of).
*I suggest that all reliance is mutual. Those who need to be needed, those who will need in return one day, if not today, those who are in a covenant of support and care, and most importantly, those who wish to be their best self. Surely our humanity is made real only when we are in service to another person: goodness exists not when it is resting, but when it is manifest.
Herbert Stein (the late economist) said that a (good) marriage meets three essential human needs: first the warmth and comfort of physical contact; second the interest and understanding shown in conversation that underneath it all says nothing more or less than "I am here and I know that you are here." Thirdly, marriage provides for our need to be needed - to have meaning in the life of another - and in doing so to become literally irreplaceable. A good marriage reassures us, it stills us in all the madding rush of life, and (all going well) it gives us purpose.
Help, thanks and wow.