Begin with the Prayer of Abandonment. (Have you got it memorized yet?)
First, a confession: The first time I did this challenge, “U” stood for underwear. While the state of our underwear drawer does reveal something about how we regard marital intimacy, I came to realize that it’s probably not the most important indicator of intimacy. And so, I changed the keyword to understanding.
In the Parable of the Sower (Mt 13:3-9), a farmer strides along, scattering seed haphazardly along his freshly plowed field. Some seeds fall on hard-packed ground, others on the rocks, still others choked by weeds. Only a fraction hits fertile soil, and grows into a desirable crop. Jesus thoughtfully unpacks the meaning of the parable for his disciples a little later in the chapter (vv. 18-23).
I find it interesting that, after following Jesus and living with him 24/7, the disciples still needed Jesus to spell out the meaning of his words for them in private. These men had been hand-picked by the Savior — and yet, at the end of the day, they did not absorb truth by osmosis.
There is a lesson here for wives, too. Even after years together, we must not assume we already know the inner workings of our sweetheart. People change, even as they remain the same. Also, husbands are generally poor mind readers, not having been blessed with the feminine gift of intuition (at least not to the same degree). When in doubt, spell it out.
Today’s first reading — the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3) — offers an apt reminder of what happens when communication breaks down. The king assumed the Hebrew princes were disregarding his authority, and they faced a fiery end. Still, they found the courage to make themselves heard: “If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O King, let him deliver us. But if not, be it known … we will not serve your gods.” (3:17-18). Understanding does have its limits.
So . . . what can you do to grow in intimate understanding today?