Recently I asked my spiritual director, Sister Monica Kaufer (who is leaving Vancouver soon—boo), “What must I do to enter the kingdom of God?” She replied, “How do you love Mila?”
Following that line of thought, here are the main points from the excellent book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work and how each might apply to our relationship with God. It is interesting to note the similarities.
1. Enhance your love maps.
- Marriage: Know the details of your spouse's preferences, history, thoughts, how the day went, etc.
- God: Know about God through the Bible, spiritual reading, doctrine, etc.
2. Nurture your fondness and appreciation.
- Marriage: Mediate on your spouse and what makes you cherish him or her.
- God: Words or songs of praise.
3. Turn toward each other instead of away.
- Marriage: Listen to your spouse when he or she makes bids on your attention.
- God: Listen to how God is leading you (through the Bible, events in your life, in the silence of prayer, etc.).
4. Let your partner influence you.
- Marriage: Accept influence.
- God: Obedience (to the Ten Commandments, the teachings of Jesus, etc.).
5. Solve your solvable problems [specific problems, not tied to your spouse's character].
- Marriage: Compromise.
- God: Prayer (supplication).
6. Overcome gridlock [deep conflicts of character with your spouse].
- Marriage: Cope with it, like a bad back.
- God: (Not sure. I guess this is equivalent to St. John of the Cross's "dark night of the soul", or Job's lament.)
7. Create shared meaning.
- Marriage: "create an atmosphere that encourages each person to talk honestly about his or her convictions"—rituals, roles, goals, symbols.
- God: Discern your vocation, go on retreats, etc.