Magazine thoughts

Thank you to many of you who prayed for Aidan. (See three posts down). His teacher saw his stress and said he didn’t have to answer the questions until he could understand. That was such a blessing!

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OK, change of subject…

One of the things I miss here in France are American magazines. Friends have been very kind to send and/or bring me magazines. Today I have some random thoughts from the October 2004 issue of Good Housekeeping.

On page 149, from the article entitled “Haven on Earth,” the author says, “We’ve all heard of writer’s block, but what about decorator’s block? Most of us have experienced it, and interior designer Chris Madden understands why: because the decorating process can be overwhelming and intimidating.” This statement made me laugh. It sounds like decorating a house is akin to going to war or understanding logarithms or running a marathon. I think about the families devastated by the Tsunami and wonder at our American view of the words “overwhelming” and “intimidating.”

Then, on page 134 in Liz Smith’s interview with The Donald, he says something equally ridiculous. “One of my ex wives once said to me, ‘You have to work at marriage.’ And I said, ‘That’s the most ridiculous thing,’ because my parents, they didn’t work at the marriage. If you have to work at marriage, it’s not going to work. It has to be sort of a natural thing. . . I don’t want to come home and work at a marriage. A marriage has to be very easy.”

If you want terrific marital advice, completely REVERSE what The Donald said. Marriage is something you HAVE to work at, if it is to survive beyond the touchy-feely stage. IF you work at marriage, it is more apt to work. A marriage is seldom easy. Maybe that’s why so many end in divorce, because we have this wrong perception that marriage is all about ease, all about the other person making us happy and blissful. Consider The Donald’s other comment: “One of the things I love so much about (Melania) is that she makes my life easier.”

What is marriage? It’s two individual people bent on selfishness, colliding. God places us in marriage to teach us about our own propensity for self-absorption. We learn how stubborn and needy we are. Having a spouse is not only a great way to avoid loneliness, but it is also a mirror to ourselves. Instead of viewing marriage as a place where we have easy lives, we should see it as a place where God can refine us, where we can learn the sacred art of placing our spouse’s needs above our own. Marriage is all about me laying down my agenda and selfishness for the sake of my spouse. And that’s not easy.

So there you have my ramblings about my day with a magazine. I guess there are some things I don’t miss about America after all!

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