“Hand-in-Hand”–The Romance of a Life Time

Written by Serena Wang

Written by Serena Wang, translated by Eugene Wu

The great British thinker Bertrand Russell and Alys Pearsall mith got married after a long and romantic courtship. One day years later while he was riding on a bicycle in the country side, it suddenly dawned on him that he was no longer in love with her. So one afternoon he stood up from his reading, walked out of the house, and never returned.

The marriage of Leo Tolstoy, the famous Russian novelist, to Sofia Andreyevna Behrs was also quite a popular love story. But one night in his late life he left home during a winter blizzard and was found dead in the station master’s room at the railroad station.

Both Russell and Tolstoy loved their wives dearly but only for a period of time. Time robbed their wives of their beauty and attractiveness, and their marriage underwent a qualitative change. The solemn marriage vows they once took were rendered meaningless. Consequently, they chose to leave the wives they once loved, even to freeze to death, as they didn’t have the heart to go back to face them at home. When even such storied marriages ended so tragically, how can one not lose faith in wedlock?

My husband and I often find ourselves doing marriage counseling. What bothers us the most is when one party says s/he no longer has any “feeling” toward the other party, or s/he has found true love in a third party, and therefore wishes to separate ways and get a divorce. If you had arguments with your other half and your disagreements remain, thus you believe your relationship is ruined for good, I say don’t give that idea another thought. If this is a true reflection of your relationship, it usually means your relationship is in need of adjustments. Perhaps it’s time to lubricate the engine that fires your relationship. The feeling of all is well with the world is what you experience when you are madly in love. You are the happiest then, and probably the only wish you have is to remain at that stage forever, hoping nothing would change, including the person you are in love with, for that person is just so perfect.

However, after the waves of infatuation subside, reality sets in and disagreements of a married couple then begin to surface.  Many find themselves asking: “Why did we get married since we disagree on so many things?”  Does this mean then the institution of marriage is really the grave of love?

Catfish Effect

It is said that Norwegians love to eat sardines, and they always prefer the live ones. But there is no way for the fishermen to bring every sardine they caught home alive since many would die on the way from suffocation. However, there was one boat master who was able to do so with most of the sardines he caught. No one knew his secret until after he died when it was learned that he put in a catfish in the container where his catch of sardines was kept on the boat.  The catfish, which feeds on small fish mostly, would keep swimming in the container because it is not familiar with this new surrounding, and the sardines for fear of being eaten by the catfish would become very active in order to avoid direct contact with it. As a result, most of the sardines would still be alive when brought home. This is the well-known “Catfish Effect.”

We should ask ourselves an honest question: “Am I the catfish or the sardine, or both?” In life’s journal we are very much like the sardines, following a dull routine from birth to death without much vitality. We are very much in need of the company of a catfish to keep us alive so that we can be full of vim when we reach the end.

Sometimes we see the Catfish Effect manifested among married couples. But when you think about it, it is really God’s blessing that brought two people with different personalities, different modes of thinking, different background, and different professional training to live together and to depend on each other for life. This is truly amazing, for to do so is not an easy task. It requires, to the utmost degree, love, trust and patience so the couple, by the grace of God, can walk hand-in-hand on life’s journey.

Walking Hand-in-Hand – Ten Prerequisites

People from the southern part of Fukien Province refer to the married couple as “Qian Shou” (hand-in-hand) which is an apt description of the true meaning of conjugal life. It means no matter what my other half and I will go forward hand-in-hand. In reality, however, how many couples are able to spend their lives together like that? A recent article on the People’s Daily web site reported a survey conducted by a newspaper in Southern China on the ten prerequisites that should be in place so that a married couple can walk hand-in-hand during their life time. The ten prerequisites are:

  1. You accept each other as your best friend and are happy to be with each other without any pre-conditions.
  2. You can easily communicate with each other and are able to share everything frankly without the fear of being doubted or scorned.
  3. You share a set of common ideals and values and you pursue those ideals vigorously and keep those values clearly in mind.
  4. You accept the premise that marriage is for life, and both of you (the emphasis is on “both”) resolve that you are committed to the marriage for the long haul.
  5. When conflicts or arguments take place, deal with them together and not to wait for a later time.
  6. It’s permissible to poke fun at each other. Enjoy laughter often. Resolve problems with humor.
  7. Have a thoroughly understanding of each other and accept each other. You know that your other half knows both your strong and weak points, but you also know you are accepted by the other party as you are.
  8. You both enjoy the support and affirmation by those who know you the best and in whom you have the utmost confidence.
  9. You mostly enjoy a rather easy and contended relationship, yet you can be rather romantic on occasion.
  10. You have a rational and mature relationship. You both feel that you see many things eye to eye.

Are you thirsty for a genuine love? Do you want to know if your dream can ever come true?  Through your sincere prayers, you’ll receive this kind of love from God right away.  And as your life changes from continuing the relationship with God, your marriage can gain the momentum it needs for a turnaround. No one can be perfect, or have a perfect life. But every one of us has the opportunity to experience perfect grace through a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of woman you want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised. If you invited Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.

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