Begin with the Prayer of Abandonment.
Today’s theme is complementarity. They say that “opposites attract. If you have the same gifts and strengths, one of you is superfluous.”
I watched this lived out in my parents’ marriage: Dad is a thoughtful introvert; my mother the whirlwind organizer (including their 50th anniversary celebration, pictured below, taken just a month before mom became sick). They depended on each other, truly needed each other, all their lives…. Until my father went from being the one being cared for, to the one needing to do the caring. My mother’s mental illness made this impossible after a time. Now she lives with me. And they both are suffering greatly.
Love and suffering intertwined create the fabric from which married love is fashioned. Each shores up the other’s weakness, and leans on the other’s strengths.
This is the very picture of complementarity, to which John Paul II often referred in his “Theology of the Body.” It creates a oneness, a unity, that is expressed in many areas of marriage: God matches up penny-pinchers and generous souls; organizers and disorganized; accountants and poets. Together, we blend and wear on each other, helping each other grow in love and holiness.
How do you see this complementarity worked out in your marriage? Tell your spouse one way that the two of you are complementary to one another.
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I also saw this with my parents. My Mom had done almost everything for my Dad and then he stepped up to the plate when Mom had her strokes and couldn’t do anything. After she died he’s had to learn how to take better care of himself because he had not been focusing on himself. Now he needs to learn to balance the care of himself and caring about those around him.
Thanks for sharing your story, Marty! Caring for elderly parents brings a whole new set of stressors to a marriage… God bless you!