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Document Details :
Title: Ehe - eine erfüllte Zeit
Author(s): DEMMER, Klaus
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 5 Issue: 2 Date: Autumn 1999
Marriage – a full time
People enter relationships which they can master, mould, throw away or cling to – and yet these relationships slip inexorably through their fingers. This applies even to those bonds in human life that are of their very essence based on faithfulness.
The ambivalence of time inhabits marriage at the deepest level: it lives in the tension that each has his/her owntime. Since the lifetimes of the partners cannot be fully synchronised, constantly renewed attempts are needed to catch up with the other if their union is not to be undermined. In the idea of the bond is expressed the faithfulness that identifies the shared history as invitation. It is only possible in change, in pardon and forgetting, it requires attentiveness to the partner, humble acceptance of one’s own limitations and those of the partner and overall an inner culture of careful dealings with the time granted by God. In the flow of time in the marital history there are privileged moments of talking or silence and fallow periods in which the false picture of the partner is destroyed. Otherwise, the Christian loses the feel for the promise aspect of his life – that marriage is not a ball and chain but an invitation to a way that leads to God’s eternity. Faithfulness does not mean keeping an unwavering grip on whatever has once been decided.
This would actually result in a person bypassing both him/herself and partner. Faithfulness presses relentlessly on the question of what we are striving for and what we decide to do with our life. It challenges us to be lords of time, i.e. to set aside time to come to terms with the shared past reflectively, something that tests our capacity to forgive and forget; time to cultivate quiet conversation in which we can allot sovereign time in the leisure hours at our disposal to others; time to attend to the good healing memories that the marital history holds (something which carries us through the dark times) without overly testing limits or susceptibilities. With the years, time transforms, developing from the yet-to-be-filled space of the youthful desire to act and achieve and culminating in the self-esteem which age enjoys. Ageing must be learnt together but is a continuing process and the last chance for reconciliation with oneself and one’s partner. Whether a marriage is successful is decided in this final phase.
In relation to time we must go beyond ourselves when we settle our future. Faith can then be understood as an offer of life. Eternity invades time and grants us freedom to bind ourselves without losing ourselves.