Marriage and the Water Mill

Water Mill

Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.


As I was walking this morning and praying, talking to God, as I often do, an image kept popping into my mind.  It was the image of a Water Mill.  As you all know a a water mill uses hydropower.  It uses a water wheel to drive a mechanical process to produce the energy which can create milling, rolling or hammering.   This process enables the water mill to produce material goods like flour, lumber, paper, textiles, etc.  In other words, a water mill can service a great number of people with things they need to live.

In the bible we often hear of living water.  So the mill totally made sense to me as something God would show me.  When he pours living water on us, we are the wheel and we accept and receive it, the wheel produces energy, beautiful energy that services a great many people.  So the living water received in us can make us a light in a dark world.  Conversely, if we fight the living water poured over us, it is like something clogs the wheel.  When we try to do things of our own accord without God the wheel can actually become overwhelmed and feel crushed under the weight of the water.  God can be trying to pour into us, but we are blocking it and it feels like a fight instead of a free flow of beauty.  But God was telling me more than that.

He was talking to me about marriage.  The same analogy is true of marriage.  If I, as a wife, pour life, pour living water, into my husband it can make his wheel churn with great energy.  Conversely if he does the same for me, together we can be fierce in our service of each other, our children, and others.  This is because we accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we work together instead of against each other.  My husband is a detail man.  I am a big picture woman, when we pour into each other we accomplish a lot.  When we don’t well….let’s just say things don’t go well.

If I as a wife constantly clog my husbands wheel with criticism or resentment and bitterness, his wheel gets stuck, and the water overwhelms.  This is not what God intended.  In our society we see so much pitting of men against women, and so little cooperation.

I posted the verse above because everyone always thinks it’s controversial.  Telling a wife to be subordinate or submit to her husband.  And throughout history we have seen men abuse women and women bear the brunt of this abuse and trauma.  So much so that the bitterness and resentment has bubbled up and we see a man-hating spirit in women today.  Men have been whispered too as well, there’s a woman-hating spirit that spawned the abuse of women.   That man-hating spirit is whispering lies to women, and the woman hating spirit whispers lies to men because the devil wants nothing more than to break down the family.

But if you read that verse, I mean really read it, it is actually a thing of beauty.  Saint Paul is saying to be subordinate to one another, that means work together.  But he does go on to say that wives should be subordinate to their husbands.  Other translations use the word submit.  So I asked myself, what am I subordinate to?  What is he asking me to submit to by saying submit to my husband?  And the answer lies in what follows.  The husband is to be like Christ.  To love his wife like Christ loves the church.  How did Christ love the church?  He died for her.  Yes, Amen, I will submit to that.  I will be under that mission.  My husband is to love me like this;

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 

My husbands love should sanctify me, help me get to heaven where I am holy and without blemish.  This command was given to the man. Yes! Please!  Absolutely I will be subordinate to that.  And the best way for my husband to be able to do this for me is for me to pour living water into his wheel.  And I can’t pour into him if I am bitter and resentful.  Being a light in the darkness actually starts in our own hearts, spreads to our own family, then to community, then to the nation.  Do you see why the Domestic Church is so important?  If I accept my husbands attention to detail as part of who he is, and help him flourish it, combine that with his pouring into me, accepting that I am a big picture person the way God made me, our wheels can turn with living water together instead of against one another and we become a powerhouse, that lights our own home, and extends to our community.  This is why it is so important for each of us to work on our own interior and examine our own conscience.  We cannot force others to change, but we can let God change us.  We can forgive all debts, especially those committed by our spouse.  This is why the Domestic Church contains Divine Mercy.   Because it is most especially in our marriages that forgiveness is needed.  Forgiveness is the key to permanence.

We must recognize the demons from our past, and from our spouses past that whisper lies to us and don’t allow us to truly live in the light of Christ.  When we believe the lies of the devil we are only able to partially give of ourselves and it isn’t fully what Christ intended.  We become limited by the demons and are unable to receive the gifts God wants to give.  But by forgiving we shut the door on the demons and break down the walls between us and our spouse, and this then extends to others as well.   When people see the light in you, eventually, in God’s time, others will want what you are giving and receiving.  And the world changes one heart at a time.

Lord Jesus, grant that I and my spouse may have a true and understanding love for each other. Grant that we may both be filled with faith and trust. Give us the grace to live with each other in peace and harmony. May we always bear with one another’s weaknesses and grow from each other’s strengths. Help us to forgive one another’s failings and grant us patience, kindness, cheerfulness and the spirit of placing the well-being of one another ahead of self. 

May the love that brought us together grow and mature with each passing year. Bring us both ever closer to You through our love for each other. Let our love grow to perfection. Amen.

About veilofveronica

I am a mother and wife as well as an RCIA and Adult Faith Formation catechist at a parish in the south. I have 3 children and a great husband.
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1 Response to Marriage and the Water Mill

  1. Leah says:

    Excellent! Thank you for these words

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