Not always as it appears

Matt and Mindy Dalton

Marriages are usually not ruined overnight. One or the other usually does not wake up one morning and say, “I am miserable in this marriage and I want a divorce.”

It occurs little by little over time. Little by little, we can begin to avoid certain topics of conversation (since the last time that topic came up, it led to a fight). Little by little, we disagree on how to handle disciplining the children. Little by little, we argue over finances, whether to change jobs, sex, household chores, the kids, love, respect; the list goes on. Little by little, our hearts become hardened and our minds start wandering to thoughts of, “I don’t know why I married this person. I don’t deserve to live like this. I wonder what life would be like if things were different?”

What we think most couples do not realize is that we all struggle with many of the same topics, maybe to varying degrees. We look at the other couples in the pews and think, “They are so happy; what is wrong with us?”

Just because we are in fulltime Marriage Missionaries work doesn’t mean we have it all figured out and neither do most couples that we know. Our world tells us that we should have the perfect job, the perfect spouse, amazing children; and what happens is a little curve in the road comes upon us and it blows our perfect plan to pieces. Sharing our curves in the road with other couples who have been there; seeking their wisdom and guidance can help minimize the damage.

Our origin as man, male and female, is from a communion of persons; the blessed Trinity, Father Son and Holy Spirit. As husband and wife we are made for communion and our destiny is the communion of saints where we will be in joyous communion with God for eternity.

Consider looking around at your community and pray about having a group of couples come together on a regular basis, to share hospitality and the beauty of our faith. Sharing both struggles and joys, gaining confidence with each other so as to build each other up as married couples raising Godly children and grandchildren.

Somehow God works through the struggles. When our younger four children were 10, 9, 7 and a newborn, it was quite the task getting ourselves and the other three up and ready for 8:30 a.m. Mass, but especially the younger four.

We always woke them in what we felt was plenty of time to go to the bathroom, get dressed, brush their teeth, fix their hair, get shoes tied and loaded in the SUV. Five minutes before it was time to leave, Katie was missing a shoe, Julianna still had her PJs on and Joseph thought this would be the perfect time to work on his jump shot on the indoor plastic basketball hoop. Things escalated and the yelling started: “Hurry up, we are going to be late” or “Stop touching your brother,” “Leave her alone!”; “Do that one more time.”

Somehow we made it to Mass with a couple of minutes to spare; filed in the pew in the correct order (certain children can’t sit by certain children, if you know what I mean); we took a deep breath, tried to appear as though all was wonderful, knelt down to pray, when the usher walked up to us, leaned over and said, “You guys look like the perfect family to bring up the gifts.” “You have got to be kidding me” was the thought I had in my mind. But instead, we smiled and said, “Sure, we’d be glad to.”

COMING UP: Don’t miss ‘the most important archaeological discovery of the 20th century’

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Don’t miss ‘the most important archaeological discovery of the 20th century’

Denver’s Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition brings to life Judaism at time of Jesus

Vladimir Mauricio-Perez

“Welcome to Israel, the Biblical land of milk and honey at the crossroads of Africa, Europe and Asia… an archaeologist’s paradise”: These words mark the start of a once-in-a-lifetime immersion into ancient Israel that the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition brings to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science March 16 to Sep. 3.

The exhibition, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Denver, not only displays the authentic Dead Sea Scrolls that have captivated millions of believers and non-believers around the world, but also a timeline back to Biblical times filled with ancient objects that date back to events written about in the Old Testament more than 3,000 years ago.

“We are convinced that the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in the Judean desert are the most important archaeological discovery of the 20th century,” said Dr. Uzi Dahari, deputy director of the Israel Antiquities. “These scrolls, written in Hebrew, are the oldest copy of the Bible.”

In fact, some of these manuscripts are almost a thousand years older than the oldest copies of the Bible that had been discovered, providing a great wealth of knowledge about Judaism at the time of Jesus.

“So many things have changed [since this discovery],” said Dr. Michael Barber, professor of Scripture and Theology at the Augustine Institute in Denver. “We now understand first-century Judaism in a way we didn’t in the past and see how the Biblical authors are breathing the same air as other ancient Jews.”

An exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science will be on display until Sept. 3. (Photos by Andrew Wright | Denver Catholic)

The air of first-century Israel was filled with expectations for the coming of the Messiah. The Dead Sea Scrolls, which have been associated with a unique religious Jewish community that lived a structured life, are a witness to this reality, he explained.

“[These communities] were trying to live in such a way as to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. They looked forward to a new covenant and the restoration of the glory of Adam” Dr. Barber said. “We see so many overlaps of how the New Testament is a fulfillment of the Jewish expectations of the time.”

The exhibition immerses guests into the history of the chosen people of God, from artifacts impressed with seals belonging to Biblical kings, such as Hezekiah, to an authentic stone block that fell from Jerusalem’s Western Wall in 70 AD.

“We preferred to select scientifically important items, some very small, some very large… but all of great significance,” Dr. Dahari said.

“Israel’s archaeological sites and artifacts have yielded extraordinary record of human achievement,” added Dr. Risa Levitt Kohn, curator of the exhibit and professor at San Diego State University. “The pots, coins, weapons, jewelry and other artifacts on display in this exhibition constituted a momentous contribution to our cultural legacy. They teach us about the past, but they also teach us about ourselves.”