Recently a friend and I were talking over some things we needed to find a way to communicate to our husbands. We both agreed there was just no way we would be able to reach his heart and be heard the way we needed to be heard, the discussion would center on the wrong thing, go the wrong direction, and inevitably end up in misunderstanding. I confessed that all we could do was pray that our husbands’ hearts would hear what needed to be said from a heavenly voice.
Besides these tough conversations that inevitably arise in marriage, there are also the requests, the needs that continually present themselves. These men we call husbands are beloved. We desire their happiness. We are bothered when their burden is heavy and worried when they are tired or sick. Sometimes we have no way to assuage the difficulties they face. A warm meal and a sincere prayer is all that we can offer–and it is enough.
And then there are the moments of sheer joy, when love for that man overwhelms you and gratitude springs up like a fountain. You want to rise up at the city gates and praise him. Your house full of toddlers and preschoolers are happy to chant “Daddy” for a while, but they don’t quite share in the outpouring of emotion you do. So you pray in thanksgiving.
Thinking over all these thoughts recently, I have discovered a new dimension of my relationship with my Blessed Mother. I do not feel like I love the Blessed Mother from afar. I feel like I really know her–that I have buried my head her shoulder and run to her embrace many, many times. I know the feel of her mantle and the sound of her voice. I feel the pain of her disappointed glances and the sweet joy of pleasing her. We are mother and daughter.
And now I realize that it is the same for my husband. See that little boy she’s holding? It’s Jesus. But it could just as easily be my husband or yours. And she loves him the way she loves me: tenderly, with intimacy and maternal care. I have come to realize of late that not only do I have a heavenly Mother, I have a heavenly Mother-in-Law! She wants for her little boy even more grace than I do. That heavenly voice I desire him to hear? It’s hers, and she wants to tell him what he needs to know. That overflow of love I want to express? Hers is a floodgate. And so I have begun to give him to her, over and over again, every day, many times a day. I give her his needs, his desires, his cares. I give her our disagreements and our joys. I give her his work and his play. I let her be his mother, so that I can be his wife.
The Bible tells us that “a man shall leave his mother and cleave to his wife.” In order to take up headship in our families, our husbands let go of the comfort of their earthly mothers and trust us to fill in the gaps. We are human and imperfect and bound to disappoint on occasion. But his Heavenly Mother will never disappoint him, and we can fill up what is lacking in our own efforts with the grace she so readily disperses.
I have always loved to pray the rosary for the peace the repetition brings me. It clears my head when my hands and mouth are busy and my thoughts are focused on Jesus. I want to be better at praying the rosary every day, the way the Lovely Lady has asked so many times. And now I have a new focus. It is my time to chat with my husband’s Mother, to compare notes, share fears, concerns, joys, to get feedback and background from someone who has known him longer than me. My rosary is like tea-time with my Heavenly Mother-in-Law.
She shows me the life of her Son and I give her this son whom I love. She takes him in her lap too, cuddles him close to his Saviour and does far more for him than I can do alone. I am so grateful for that.
From the archives of Footprints on the Fridge