By Xin Ran
I still remembered a piece of prose entitled “Transient Days,” which expresses the author’s resignation of fleeting life. Our life is a theater, in which each of us plays our own role; every stage of our life passes in the blink of an eye: From the moment we were born crying into the world, we begin our life journey; soon, we start to school, spending a carefree childhood; in adolescence, we begin to yearn for beautiful love; after marriage, we feel somewhat disappointed in face of the reality and flatness of life; in a flash, we enter old age and unknowingly confront our last life-juncture—death; then, we left the world, leaving the younger much mourning. Facing the passing of time, we could do nothing to stop it but just live amidst this law helplessly, generation after generation.
Thinking of such transient life, I was overcome with emotion, and couldn’t help thinking of the first half of my life: After a failed marriage, my second marriage once was also in danger of failing. Because I bore a daughter, my husband, who favors boys over girls, always spoke coldly to me; the passion and romance we had when we were in love gradually disappeared, replaced by frequent quarrels. Later it reached the point that we were both exhausted and became cold with each other. Though living in the same house, we were like strangers, having no verbal or spiritual communication. Many times did I think in my heart: If I could go back, I wouldn’t have got married until I found an ideal companion. However, no one can reverse the time. With time going by, I wasn’t young anymore; the cruel reality disillusioned me, leaving me nothing but pain. I often felt lonely and didn’t know how to face my marriage and future life.
When I was in perplexity and misery, the brothers and sisters whoentered my life. They shared God’s love with me, comforted and encouraged me, which relieved my pain a little. But thinking that my husband became colder and colder toward me, and even was unwilling to come back home, I couldn’t let go of the hatred for him, and thought that we would continue the poor relation and torture each other until death.
One day, a sister who learned about my situation visited me specially. She shared her experience with me: In the past, she also had an unhappy marriage. She had so many complaints and suspicions about her husband that she began to misunderstand him and wallowed in self-pity. Gradually, they became further and further apart, both living in agony. Though she tried to change the situation, she failed at last. After she believed in God, she told her suffering to God in. Then she read these words of God’s: “Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls” (Matthew 11:29). “Look, at the beginning, it is possible that a husband and wife might not understand each other very well, because they haven’t ever lived together and didn’t grow up in the same family. After living together for several years, they will have gotten used to each other, and locked horns a few times. But if you are both of normal humanity, you will always commune the words within your heart to him, and he to you. Whatever difficulties you have in life, the problems in your work, what you’re thinking in your heart, how you plan to sort things out, what ideas and plans you have for your work or children—you’ll tell him everything. In that case, are the two of you especially close to each other, and especially intimate with each other? If he never tells you the words within his heart, and does nothing but bring a paycheck home, and if you never speak to him of the words within your heart, and never confide in him, then is there not a distance between the two of you in your hearts? There surely is. He is distant from you, and you from him, because you don’t understand the thoughts or intentions in his heart. Ultimately, you cannot tell what kind of person he is, nor can he tell what kind of person you are; you don’t understand his needs, nor does he understand your requirements. If people have no verbal or spiritual communication, there is no possibility of intimacy between them, and they can’t provide to each other or help one another” (“To Be Honest, You Should Lay Yourself Open to Others”).
From God’s words, she understood that she was so arrogant and selfish that she had never considered matters from her husband’s perspective and often found fault with him. As a result, she couldn’t get along well with him, always lived in pain, yet had no way to break free from it. Having understood these, she began to treat her husband according to God’s words. She no longer complained about or blamed him, but began to let go of herself, treat him with sincerity and take initiative to have heart-to-heart talks with him. Gradually, the relations between them improved and their marriage was saved. Seeing, she no longer complained about the unhappy marriage, but was often filled with joy within.
After reading God’s words and listening to the sister’s experience, I began to examine anew my marriage: Life is so short. Do I really want to spend the rest of my life living in the resentment against my husband? Actually, he is as miserable as me and just couldn’t find one to confide his misery. Since I couldn’t change my family predetermined by God, if I continued to live in complaints, it would only add more suffering to us.
Later, I read another passage of God’s words: “One encounters many people in one’s life, but no one knows who will become one’s partner in marriage. Though everyone has their own ideas and personal stances on the subject of marriage, no one can foresee who will finally become their true other half, and one’s own notions count for little. After meeting a person you like, you can pursue that person; but whether he or she is interested in you, whether he or she is able to become your partner, is not yours to decide. The object of your affections is not necessarily the person with whom you will be able to share your life; and meanwhile someone you never expected quietly enters your life and becomes your partner, becomes the most important element in your fate, your other half, to whom your fate is inextricably bound. And so, though there are millions of marriages in the world, every one is different: How many marriages are unsatisfactory, how many are happy; how many span East and West, how many North and South; how many are perfect matches, how many are of equal rank; how many are happy and harmonious, how many painful and sorrowful; how many are the envy of others, how many are misunderstood and frowned upon; how many are full of joy, how many are awash of tears and cause despair…. In these myriad marriages, humans reveal loyalty and lifelong commitment toward marriage, or love, attachment, and inseparability, or resignation and incomprehension, or betrayal of it, even hatred. Whether marriage itself brings happiness or pain, everyone’s mission in marriage is predestined by the Creator and will not change; everyone must fulfill it. And the individual fate that lies behind every marriage is unchanging; it was determined long in advance by the Creator” (“God Himself, the Unique III”)
From God’s words, I came to know that I had no choice in the matter of my marriage. Whether my marriage brought me happiness or pain was in God’s hands. Not knowing God’s sovereignty, I had wasted too much time of my life. I said to myself, “I should stop wasting time on complaints and self-pity.” Later, I began to practice speaking the true words in my heart to God in prayers, asking Him to help me change myself. Meanwhile, I began to share words from my heart with my husband and consulted with him when encountering things. When I actively had a heart-to-heart talk with him, he no longer pulled a long face and treated me coldly. Only then did I know that my husband just couldn’t let go of himself before. When we both put ourselves aside and stopped complaining against each other, our relations got better and our life became peaceful and quiet. Though we didn’t live a romantic life like we had in our youth, we lived calmly and peacefully. Seeing our daughter growing healthy, we felt assured in heart, believing that it was our destiny decreed by God. Simple and plain though our life was, it was most suitable for us.
Having known God’s sovereignty and tasted His blessing, I hungrily read His words. When understanding one aspect of the truth, I would practice it in reality. I felt that my life was so happy and I finally found the destination my spirit belonged to, like a lone boat floating in the sea many years finally found a haven to berth at. Now is the last days and time is short and precious. I only want to treasure the precious time when God expresses words to clean us and save us to listen to more of His words with my heart, and obey His arrangements in everything. For I know that only when I pursue the truth and live out the likeness of a real man, can I live up to God’s salvation.
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