3 Little Animals that give Insights to a Fulfilled Marital life
There is no celebration that has more meaningful signs and symbols and such expressive actions as the Church wedding. For that reason, most people are deeply moved and affected when a young couple makes a lifelong promise of love and loyalty. Such an occasion warms the flesh and leaves no one cold or indifferent. In my local Church, this is the day you see the choir’s best performance; singing with smiling faces. The joy of that day for the couple is certain, but joy in the preceding days have to be thoroughly worked out. Here is a presentation of three animals who through an examination of their life style give us insights to living a blissful married life.
The first animal is the bee. The bee is a social insect. It is dedicated to community and cannot exist by itself. We humans are also dedicated to community. We need the security of a family in order to grow up as physically, morally, psychologically and spiritually sound human beings. Married people should be dedicated to each other such that their lives will be incomplete without the other. It is for this reason that they pronounce the vows that binds them together. So in everything they do, it should be in communion; the concept of “My life” or “Your life” doesn’t fit into marriage.
In a beehive, each bee has a job to do just as in a real partnership one must also be ready to give and take, to take and give. In today’s society more change is expected of the man who has taken more responsibility for running the household. As a bachelor, a man thinks of himself, as a married man, he thinks of his family; the same is applied to the woman. No one has the most important work, no work is less important; no work is reserved for the man or the woman; they can take up any task that needs to be done, for the sum of their duties brings out the best results. When I now tell you about the rotating tasks of a bee, perhaps you can take the lesson into your mutual living.
The bee at work in the beehive fulfills a variety of functions: it raises or lowers temperature by flapping its wings; it protects the entrance of the beehive, the “door of the house” against enemies; it looks after and feeds the progeny; it fetches the honey for life and winter. Up to seventy thousand bees function in that way in one beehive. No specific work is assign yet they all carry out any work that needs to be done. A man can take care of the finance of the home just as the woman too can. House chores are not limited to the woman when the man has the free time to do it.
When a bee discovers a blossoming field of flowers, a feeding site, it does not claim it for itself, but shares it immediately with the other bees by dancing around it or by “a tail dance” which signals the other bees to come. Married couples need to do the same with one another, sharing their gifts, joys and experiences. Sharing is itself a perfect form of communication; thus in sharing they give time for communication with each other and do not break off dialogue. This will increase their love and affection towards one another.
A bee takes for itself from poisonous plants the good part, that is, the nectar and turns it into honey. Couples too must daily make the best out of the enticing and the hazardous events and occasions of their lives. You will experience a lot, but keep only that which helps you interiorly. Do you know much work honey requires? For about a pound of honey a bee must fly around the earth almost three times. You too must work hard to build your “beehive”, that is, to establish your household.
The aroma of a beeswax candle can fill an entire room. And this tiny light is enough for one to become oriented in the darkness. So, in your marriage, you too can light up your surroundings, give light and warmth, and allow yourselves to be consumed like a candle.
The second animal is the butterfly. Let’s look at the life cycle of a butterfly. A butterfly life starts as an egg. These eggs are usually laid on the leaves of plants. From an egg it hatches and becomes a caterpillar. At his stage they are tiny and cannot travel to a new plant, thus they feed basically on the plant they hatched. The pupa stage is the third for the butterfly. Here, the grown caterpillar turns into a pupa, and inside of the pupa, the caterpillar is undergoing a rapid change called metamorphosis, to become the beautiful parts that make up the butterfly that will emerge. After all these an adult butterfly emerges.
Do you feel right a little bit like a butterfly? Yes, love makes one feel like a butterfly, especially on the day of wedding; after all it is the day of joy, the day of celebration. When one is in love, it is easy to fly over fences, hedges and pitfalls. The days of courtship seems like the growth process of the butterfly and it feels like we have emerge as butterflies finally. However, the real formation occurs in marriage.
Every marriage starts like the egg that is laid on the plant. It is tiny and delicate at the beginning and can easily be lost. People divorced in the early years of their marriage much more than in the later years. The caterpillar stage is like the years of hard work. Here they lay the foundation of their future together, they build trust, love and intimacy and grow to complement each other. The pupa stage is the transformation stage, they begin to advance in age and in experience, children are given birth to, the family unite starts to unfold completely, the parenting skills becomes active and put to use; they undergo changes in all facets of their lives. And then finally the adult beautiful and colourful butterfly emerges. This is the matured and happy couple blooming and looking radiate years after their wedding.
Experience teaches that it is usually hard in the caterpillar stage. When this happens, travel becomes difficult as we cannot fly, but crawl in the dust, bent over in pain and disappointment. But fortunately we are place where we can receive nectar, the food of butterflies. As with the caterpillar, nectar is also offered to the couples as Christians in the church, in the form of the word of God and the Eucharistic bread of life. Every Sunday they are invited to receive the nourishment needed to continue the marital journey.
The butterfly for century has been a symbol of resurrection. Those who are unfamiliar with the stages of butterfly growth assume that the caterpillar has died when it pupates. But, as we know, when the transformation process is complete and the sun shines on it, the caterpillar is miraculously transformed into a butterfly which can fly.
You see, therefore, that these butterflies are not used just to remind couples of their present feelings of joy and love, but they also serve to remind them, in their low times, of the glorious end that awaits them if they persevere in marriage. Therefore, they serve as a guide for the marriage journey. Thus a sincere perseverance will help them live for a long time in the embrace of love and always feel like floating along like butterflies.
People say that the most important thing in marriage is to have patience with one another. Thus, the third animal is the snail. The snail is a patient creature. It doesn’t run excitedly. It doesn’t undertake too much. It is therefore not plagued by dissatisfaction. The snail’s pace keeps it from becoming anxious and saves it from exhausting itself. Many married people today complain about the death of their feelings. Because of this, it becomes difficult to genuinely listen, to be emphatic and patient. The snail can help teach us some lessons.
Look carefully at the snail’s house. Isn’t it a fine work of art? How does it come about that no house is like the next? The big snail has a big shell to house it, the small snail has its small shell to cover it. The small snail doesn’t seek for a big shell. It goes for what fits it and that which it can carry conveniently. Do married couples see these splendors on their marital life’s journey? Can I be surprised at the boundless inventiveness of God? How many other marvels God, in his creative throne, has prepared for us. We have been given what suits us, let us accept and use it. Couples should not seek from their partners what is beyond their reach or inconveniences them. They too should not carry heavy burdens that will drag them backwards.
The snail is sensitive and it shows feelings, and this line is important to note for the married couples. If I get too close to a snail, it creeps anxiously back into his shell. Couples can provoke the feelings of their partners, making their partners withdraw like the snail; this clearly disrespects the soul and dignity of the other. At this moment there is no movement, the snail curls unto itself. Marriage is a union of two, thus withdrawal is not normal and any occasion that can warrant it should be avoided.
The snail sees the world from below; the snail does not want to rule, but to serve. Humility really means the courage to serve. If married couples are humble are prepared to serve each other, there will be no fights and provocation; there will be no need for either of them to crawl back into the snail house due to feelings of mistrust, caution, and anxiety. They will both be open and move at their set pace.
Today we might say that the snail lives in a very unpretentious way in that it has everything that is necessary for life. Because of our limitations, we cannot leave good enough alone. We are continually making improvements. The fact is, those who live unpretentiously acquire only that which they need. But acquiring possessions consumes precious time while not necessarily allowing us to live longer. Young married couples are in danger of being overwhelmed by such pressures as mortgage, finances, jobs, and lack of time that they can easily forget to attend to one another properly.
The bee, the butterfly and the snail each in their unique life processes and daily living leads us to a contemplation of various themes that enhanced marital union. What is interesting about these animals is the fact that they are considerably small compare to other large animals, yet they provide us with unique lessons from their unique lives. The honey bee, the colourful butterfly, and the crawling snail.
- The Three Unifying Love That Sustains the Marriage Institution
Married life today has become demanding and challenging; at the same time it has become humdrum and dubious as an institution. This has made many to doubt their ability to see it through to the end. Yet there is in many the hope that they are capable