二○二○年十月二十四日／二十五日 Click here for English version
Keep Marriage Moving Forward
Rev Andrew Tsang
Dear brothers and sisters, how has been your family relationship – particularly the relationship with your spouse – during the pandemic when you have to work from home? I remember a press report from Japan in the early days of the pandemic which says that with husband and wife spending long hours together at home, significantly more marriage problems and divorces arose. Those of you who have attended pre-marriage counseling will remember the "marriage pressure cooker." Problems in relating to each other will not disappear with the passage of time. Today, in particular, different views on issues such as children’s education, political disparity, the decision to leave or not can hurt the ties.
As time goes by, husband and wife would sit side by side whenever they go out. Their eyes are glued not to the Snow White or Prince Charming of the past but to their little ones, who are now the princesses and princes. I once saw my wife from a distance busy at church work and suddenly thought that indeed there has been less time in life when I would look at her face to face and appreciate her. I had some reflection: When we were dating, we were attracted to each other due to our unique differences but we become dissatisfied with each other after getting married. When God made man and woman, "… the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man" (Genesis 2:22). The Hebrew word for "rib" designates the "side." This brings an interesting thought: Whichever side God used – whether the left or the right – it must be different from the other side but still corresponds to the other. Such a difference and their being opposites is what makes it attractive to its counterpart. That is also how the two can complement each other (Genesis 2:18, 20) and even 'rescue' each other. There is a Chinese proverb that says: "No others is like me unless there are two me's. But if I find two me's, I won't feel right." It is true that if the husband is exactly the same as the wife, how can they enrich each other's life? No matter how long we have been married, we need to think back more often at the qualities that attracted us to our spouses in the past. Let us broaden our view towards the present and look forward to the days ahead with better and more comprehensive decisions.
We need to extend our aspirations and mutual appreciation during dating into our present marriage life. In Hong Kong, people are accustomed to analyzing everything. They respond quickly and effectively, but often without much empathy and self-reflection: Where is that aspiration to get to know and understand him or her? Even if we cannot agree with some of our spouse’s decisions, have we tried our best to understand the reasons behind and to affirm their genuine feelings first? "The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame" (Genesis 2:25). Based on this verse, some would emphasize that husband and wife must "show their real self unreservedly" and not mind one's words in any way. But it is exactly because the two have become one that they need to gently cherish each other. They need to respect each other and do so in love so that they would not have the fear of being punished. Let us extend our aspirations during dating into our present marriage relationship. This I share with you in mutual exhortation and as a kind reminder.