The person itself is the root and source of all human rights. From this are derived, much later, important conclusions which ought to be taken into account when analyzing marital relationships.
Every individual born into this world is a someone who has never existed before nor will exist after: that is to say, someone without equal, non-repeatable, unique.
When pronouncing the personal pronoun “I” we pronounce the most sacred word in the human dictionary. Since the dawn of humanity until it disappears into the eternal night, no one will ever experience as I do: I am unique in this crazed turbulence of the human tide. A sacred universe opens and closes with me. When we say that man “is” solitude we want to say “I am alone, and only once.” My case is never repeated.
Therefore, there exists in the human constitution something ineffable which makes me identical with my very self and different from all others. When all lamps are extinguished and all doors are shut, my personal identity remains standing like a statue, it is something that never changes and remains always the same.
When you were five years of age they took a picture of yourself; you were just an unopened bud. Now you have, let us suppose, fifty years, seasoned by experience and marked by wrinkles. You then compare your actual figure with that of a five-year old child, and exclaim: “Unbelievable, it seems incredible, but the truth is ‘this is me; I am this!’
Seasons passed like meteors, the moon sailed a thousand times by our hemispheres, but the truth remains that from the child of five years, not one cell survives in me; each of them was born and died in the vital vortex; but “what a wonder! I am that child.” As you can see, my personal identity survived through all those physical and psychical changes. A sacred mystery.
If, as in an exercise of introspection, we do an inward journey in a fashion of concentric circles and each step more silent, deepening until the depths, we reach a simple and over-all end-point which links and crowns all the heights of my universe, it is the awareness of my very self, the intimate and final boundary of my being. At this point I can authentically pronounce the personal pronoun “I”; and while pronouncing it perceive that at the peak of this pronoun all my components converge linked together with the possessive adjective: my head, my hands, my emotions, my thoughts … I am all that.
Singularity of the spouse
And thus, we arrive at the conclusion that we are searching for: every spouse is, above all, a singular reality, a mystery; and this mystery is the source from where emanate obligations of respect and freedom that must be accorded to every spouse.
This also explains the fact that each spouse is a sacred island anointed in silence, that is to say, a being that is incommunicable. Let us consider this following hypothesis: imagine a marriage which from dawn to dusk lives together for fifty years in full harmony, following the practice of open doors at the maximum level.
Even so, when death comes knocking at the doors, every spouse is buried as a total unknown in his/her ultimate solitude, an unopened archive whose most remote corners no one has ever peeped into nor will ever peep, not even by the other spouse. A sacred mystery.
Although both spouses are inflamed in the frenetic turbulence of passionate love, it will never really happen that the two become one, however beautiful this expression is and always repeated, because love is unifying but not identifying.
The primordial tasks of human singularity are: knowing oneself, depending on oneself, being sincere with oneself, accepting and loving one’s own personality structure, to esteem and appreciate personal charisms without falling into narcissism, feeling contentment and happy for being what one is. In fine, making the I am friend of oneself.
The undertaking of a marriage project without resolving the fundamental questions of one’s singularity is entering into a forest that is full of dangers. Thus, we can explain so many failures.
Extracted from the book ´Happy Marriage´ by Fr. Ignacio Larrañaga