Unification Sermons and Talks

by Reverends Lowen

Reclaiming the Seed

by John and Sandra Lowen-NYC

Years of therapeutic counseling experience with couples and families have led to the recognition of one clear point in every troubled relationship: the moment that disillusionment enters. Parents bring home their beautiful baby, intrigued and excited by the promise they see in his precious little face. Fourteen years later, when they observe that face contorted with adolescent rage and rebellion, they feel as if they want to turn him out. Newlyweds sip a wedding toast of wine, looking lovingly into each other’s eyes. A handful of anniversaries later, little holds them together other than duty.

What has gone wrong?

Invariably, when people allow the excitement of the moment to overshadow its meaning, difficulty can arise. A case in point is John the Baptist at Jesus’ baptism; John was so dazzled by the experience of the dove descending from heaven that he failed to ponder with sufficient depth why the dove came down.

Ideals vs. Reality

An ideal is easy to get excited about; that is the nature of ideals. But what is the purpose of ideals? They are for the sake of inspiring one to work toward the substantive fulfillment of the goal. Therefore, it is easy to become "fired up" after hearing a stimulating talk about the ideal of marriage, true love, eternal coupledom, etc. It is quite different, however, when one is embroiled in an argument over the picayune events of the day, or divided with one’s mate over issues affecting the future of the family.

The marriage vows call us to love, honor and obey our spouses "for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health." These are, in fact, the most difficult times to love, honor and obey; are they not? It is easy to support someone who is pleasant, personable, healthy and rich. To be there for someone who is struggling spiritually or emotionally, ailing, and between jobs, is quite something else again. There are times when a spouse of lesser character may genuinely abuse the family’s misfortunes and purposefully, selfishly over-stress the union; but in general, the types of "better and worse" difficulties couples experience are of their own making. Do you expect your spouse to be the impossible, fulfilling unattainable goals? Or, to quote a famous maxim, if you found the perfect spouse, would that person want you?

Western fairy tales are full of stories about bewitched princes who are freed from their evil spells by the lovely and innocent princess, or of young princesses in dire straits who are rescued in their extreme moment by dazzling knights on prancing steeds and carried off to a sumptuous wedding feast in a palace of delights to "live happily ever after." Reality for many modern-day couples, however, is that the prince is matched to the girl with the pimples and the lank hair who was the worst fund-raiser on the team, or that the princess is walked over from Madison Square Garden to McDonald’s, or maybe the luncheon special at the Tick Tock Diner, and then whisked off by elevator to what threatens to be life eternal as Queen of the New Yorker. Their days are filled with fundraising, Church missions at minimal wages, and pre-Blessing quotas. As the years pass, their husbands’ handsome navy suits become shinier, tighter and more threadbare. The luxurious head of hair recedes beyond the reaches of Rogaine. Husbands unwrap their lovely brides, only to discover that much of what they have admired reflects the expert skills of the dressmaker rather than Nature’s bounty. Over the years, their lovely ladies grow less concerned about their appearance; going for comfort and convenience rather than the extra effort beauty requires once it is no longer second nature. Lovemaking, once the spice of the relationship, now becomes something that, once the children start to come, the couple finds they don’t have the privacy for, don’t have the time for, don’t have the energy for....

When Dreams Die

And so the inevitable day comes when one of the couple looks over in bed at the other-who is snoring, sweating, drooling on the pillow-and thinks, "What am I doing here?" Old paramours come to mind; scenes from the past, confessed at the Matching, arise with their attendant passion idealized by time. It is a short step to action, and all downhill from there.

What of the spouse, who feels a chilly wind where warmth once was, and cannot figure out why? Often there is a fear that to name the evil is to give it life. Perhaps if one says, "Honey, what’s wrong?", Honey will say what is wrong; and then the responsibility will be upon me to help find a solution. Therefore, the chilled-out spouse resorts to hard work. "Surely, God can enter the relationship if I work hard, and the problem will go away and things will be as they were," they think. They resolve to pre-Bless more couples, or sell more product, or clean the house better, or go to Sunday service more often. When these things don’t make the relationship better, they call their faith into question, and the relationship deteriorates even further.

Reclaiming the Seed

The couple must return to the ideal which brought them together in the first place, if their marriage is to survive. Just as restoration has to occur in the river of human history all the way back to the small tributaries which are its source, so the couple must go from the vast ocean of the Kingdom of Heaven, which embraces the world, to the tiny upstream tributaries where the ice melts and their personal love begins. After all, there can be no ocean without the tiny tributaries.

Before we entered into the Blessing, we disclosed everything to True Parents, who represent the ideal couple we are meant to be. To reclaim the seed, we have to substantially know and understand the workings of our spouse’s heart and mind, and the circumstances of their lives which hold them to the path or may threaten to derail them.

There was a period in which Adam and Eve had to obey the commandment. This period existed not because God was anti-sex, but because Adam and Eve were not mature enough to be intimately involved until they had successfully completed a growth process. So, too, as couples, we are told not to stir up the past, because many of us are not mature enough to look at the course of restoration our spouses have gone, without passing judgment or accusing. To avoid that temptation, that door remains closed. However, it cannot remain closed forever, any more than the commandment not to eat could remain in place forever.

It has been said that each of our marriages represents the restoration of a failed marriage prior to True Parents’ coming. If this is so, there is a certain amount our spouses must know about us, so that we can understand and fulfill our missions. It is not to be interpreted that every dirty little detail is to come out; but if one goes to the doctor to be healed of an illness and does not reveal the significant symptoms, one may be misdiagnosed, and the result may be fatal.

In this regard, Hoon Dok Hae is invaluable to couples, in that it creates a safe environment and pure vessel in which couples can disentangle the pain they had to endure before they had their spouse as a personal messiah to assist in their restoration process. It is a glorious time we are in, that we can have partners help us internalize the Word. Even with the best of intentions, how many people heard Divine Principle less than three, five, ten or a thousand times in their career, and then carried on the bulk of their lives, based upon the ideology, as opposed to the personal experience of restoration that can come only with a personal messiah? How many became so involved in a mission or a career that the Principle became something they assumed was in their bones, when it was just skin-deep? The Book of Revelation speaks of those who have forgotten their first love. Our first love must be the love of God and His Word, and our mission in life must become the multiplication of that love. When we have absorbed this Word into our bone marrow, we become beautiful and powerful couples.

However, to simply absorb the Word and work hard at something else is not enough. We must work at our marriages. Many couples will say, "Why should I go to the trouble of looking nice? After all, we are married." In fact, that is the best reason to go to the trouble of making an extra effort to please one’s spouse. True Father spoke deeply to Church members in Canada, Dec. 1995, about the ideal relationship of man and woman. In that talk, he spoke of preparing for one’s spouse; of periodically even redecorating the bedroom, with new bedding and curtains. Should we do any less for ourselves? One should always keep surprise and excitement in one’s mate’s eyes, and keep those eyes turned toward one. Then fantasies disappear, and home becomes the place the spouse wants to be.

The essence of the marriage-the seed that germinated when two people realized they were called upon by God to be together into eternity and beyond-must never be neglected. Instead, the couple must make every conscious effort to spend even a small amount of time together, wooing and winning each other’s hearts on a daily basis. When the couple is happy, the children are contented. The excited home is the joyful home; there, God can dwell forever.

John and Sandra Lowen (1800 Blessing) are both therapists with specialized credentials in Marriage and Family Counseling. They are American National Messiahs to the Republic of Argentina, and have one son, Aliso.

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