Sunday, June 10, 2007

Marriage in our Cells?

My wife and I have been reading the book "A Short History of Nearly Everything," by Bill Bryson. It's a humorously written history of the progression of human understanding of the natural sciences. We just finished reading a section talking about the discovery of DNA. Being people who think about marriage a lot, we were pleasantly surprised to find this statement in a discussion of the world at a cellular level:

"No one could understand how DNA could possibly be getting messages to the proteins. The answer, we now know, was RNA, or ribonucleic acid, which acts as an interpreter between the two. It is a notable oddity of biology that DNA and proteins don't speak the same language. For almost four billion years they have been the living world's great double act, and yet they answer to mutually incompatible codes, as if one spoke Spanish and the other Hindi. To communicate they need a mediator in the form of RNA. Working with a kind of chemical clerk called a ribosome, RNA translates information from a cell's DNA into terms proteins can understand and act upon."

A man and woman in a state of marriage are also "the living world's great double act," and yet they too speak very different languages; at times seeming to be "mutually incompatible." Yet together they form the building blocks of life, much the way DNA and protein do.

We can often be discouraged by this thought. "Do you mean we will always speak different languages?" Yes. But the hope lies in the existence of RNA! There is a way for a man and woman to communicate well, to become a complementary and useful working unit... a power for good. So what is the "RNA" for men and women in marriage?

Like RNA it probably varies for each couple. For us it involves a strong relationship with God. It involves a daily choice to learn to understand our spouse's language. It involves a faith in the fact that marriage does work! It involves loving our spouse more than we love ourselves.

What is the RNA for your marriage? We hope to help you find it, with the thoughts in this blog.

You and your spouse were created to be building blocks for spiritual life! All of creation reflects that truth.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Two Different Sides of Humanity

Without two eyes we couldn’t focus; without two ears we couldn’t balance; without two arms we couldn’t carry large weights; without two legs we simply couldn’t walk down a road and get to a destination. The marriage of a man with a woman is what brings focus, balance, strength, and potential to human life.

Very often marriage consists of doing different, or even opposite things. When walking, one leg goes up while the other goes down. When picking up a heavy object, one arm pushes one way, while the other arm offers resistance When using both eyes, each eye has a slightly different perspective on an object, which is what allows us to focus, and to gain a better understanding of our 3-dimensional world.

It’s good that men and women are so different.

The Conjugial Principle

One of the wonderful things about marriage is this idea of the complementary union of Two into One. The ancient Eastern religions knew about this idea, which is where the Yin/Yang concept and symbol came from.

Emanuel Swedenborg refers to this concept as the “Conjugial Principle;” the idea that all of creation reflects this image of two joining into one.

I like to say that our church is all about marriage. Just about any religious question you can ask about the New Church can be answered with the word “marriage.”

“What is the nature of God?”

“The Marriage of Divine Love and Divine Wisdom.”

“What is the nature of humanity?”

The Marriage of freedom and rationality.”

“What is the nature of Creation?”
“The Marriage of good and truth.”

“What makes a good church?”
“The Marriage of Faith and Charity.”

“What is the process of spiritual growth, or How do we become angels?”
“By the Marriage of our will with our understanding in a good life.”

“What is an angel in heaven?”
“The Marriage of one man with one woman.”

The following is a list of dualities that are (or can be) complementary:
Good and Truth
Love and Wisdom
Charity and Faith
Will and Understanding
Volition and Intellect
Affections and Thoughts
Compassion and Intellect
Freedom and Rationality
Women and Men
Contemporary and Traditional
Liberal and Conservative
Religion and Science
Active and Passive
Concrete and Abstract
Applicational and Theoretical
Celestial and Spiritual
Heat and Light
Soft and Hard
Future and Past
Fire and Water
Bread and Wine
Receptive and Aggressive
Flexible and Rigid
Justice and Judgment
Church and State
God in us, and God in Heaven
Emotional and Pensive
Art and Science
Music and Lyrics
Extrovert and Introvert
Taoism and Confucianism
Open Minded and Narrow Minded
One and Many
Essence and Form
DNA (truth) and Protein (good)

These dualities don’t so much describe the marriage of a man and a woman, as much as they describe the nature of humanity and creation. However, a better understanding of this conjugial principle can often have a beneficial impact on one’s marriage. Many of the above listed dualities could show up within the marriage of a man and a woman, and be a point of conflict, and yet ultimately could become complementary within the marriage.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Key to Happiness is Healthy Marriages

The doctrine (and practice) of true marriage love is one of the most wonderful things we can offer this world, as Christian people.

"The marriage of one husband with one wife is the precious jewel of human life." - Emanuel Swedenborg (Conjugial Love 457)

In what ways is the doctrine and practice of true marriage love different from the ways the rest of the world looks at marriage?

- Marriage is Eternal: If we think of marriage as temporary, then we won't treat it with the care it deserves. But if we recognize that marriage is eternal, we will treasure it, and nurture it, with the knowledge that it will keep getting better to eternity in Heaven.

- Marriage is about Daily Choice, or Daily Consent: In rough times in our marriage, we might be tempted to think, "Did I make the wrong choice? Did I pick the wrong person? Should I have chosen somebody else?" These thoughts will break down a marriage. Finding our "true love" is not about destiny, it's about the work of choosing to love someone every minute of every day. We have the power to make our spouse our "true love," simply by choosing them.

- Marriage is about the Complementary Union of two individuals into one "angel": Men and Women each represent half of humanity. As an individual we are really only half human, and half the image of God. But in marriage we can come together in a complementary union that allows for true human happiness.

- Marriage (like Spiritual Re-Birth) takes regular Maintenance: We might be tempted to think that once we've gotten married, the work is over. Actually the work is just begining, and if a marriage doesn't have daily maintenance, it will fall apart much faster than any machine. If we make it a spiritual discipline to love God, and love our neighbor (the nearest one being our spouse) then we will find true happiness.