Immaculate Heart of Mary, Ora pro nobis.

This blog is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and in reparation for all the sins committed against Her Most Pure Heart. May Her Immaculate Heart draw us closer to Her Divine Son, Our Most Precious Lord.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I Do, Every Day

Christian Marriage is the permanent union of husband and wife for the procreation and education of children and for their own mutual assistance.  This union was made sacred when Christ raised it to the dignity of a Sacrament and entrusted its keeping and administration to His Church.  Marriage is God’s plan for peopling the earth, and by it He invites His creatures, through the love they have for each other, to share with Him in the great work of procreation.  He entrusts to the married couple the children born to them, and they may bring them up in the knowledge and love of almighty God, and give them the graces necessary for that work. 
Today is our 20th wedding anniversary.  I am so totally honored and blessed to be the wife of such an amazing man.  He is a terrific husband and an even better father.  With this in mind, I thought this morning I would write about marriage and what I’ve learned over the years.  As usual, God seems to put things right where I need to see them.  This morning was no exception.
          Since we were non-religious, secular people at the time, Steve and I got married by the lake.  It was a simple ceremony with no glitz or glamour.  We were two simple people with hopes and dreams for our future.  It was sweet and romantic.  Since we were both influenced more by our culture than our parents, we really did not have a clue as to what we were doing or what it meant.  Boy, have I learned a lot.
          Sadly, though, young people who are getting married today know a lot less than we did.  I say sadly, because, even though, most married couples stay married, there is a lot of divorce going on.  Many young people don’t even bother to get married anymore.  They have perpetual “fiancĂ©es” and even have children in this environment.  While it might be expected among the non-religious people, this sad condition is common among self-declared Christians. 
          With this attitude about marriage, it’s no wonder that the “wedding” has become such a huge and fanciful affair.  Instead of the beginning of a new life and family, it’s become a showcase for creativity and selfishness.  Hollywood long ago picked up on the idea and offers no less than 15 television shows about weddings.  There is the popular Bridezillas, about women that no man in his right mind would want to marry anyway.  There’s Married Away, where the honeymoon becomes a “destination” wedding.  There is also the fan favorite Say Yes to the Dress, where the wedding dress takes center stage. 
Weddings have become entertainment.  Remember this wedding sensation from last year?  So it’s no wonder that traditional wedding vows just won’t do.  Brides and grooms have become really creative with their vows, from humorous to rap lyrics.  But I ran across some today, a poem from the 30s, that made me hang my head in dismay.  It occurred to me, then, that this is really what couples have in their minds when getting married.  It also occurred to me that it’s no wonder there are so many divorces or couples living together indefinitely.  Here’s part of the poem which is used quite frequently:

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

The poem, which was written by Khalil Gibran, has become one of the most popular readings at modern weddings.  If this is really what couples think about marriage then the future is very bleak indeed, especially for the children.  That is, if the parents can find some way to bring a child into “the spaces in their togetherness” and their “not a bond of love.” 
I hope today that somebody asks me how we have managed to make it for 20 years.  Here is what I am going to tell them. 
  1.   God.  Without Our Lord Jesus Christ, we would just be another statistic.  God, through the Sacraments, has given us the graces we need to raise our family and weather any storm.
  2.    There is absolutely no space in our togetherness.  We spend all of our time together.  We don’t have “boy’s night” or “girls night.” 
  3.    Love is not a feeling, it is an action.  All of our actions bond us to one another.  Our love is greater today because our bond is stronger.
  4.    We drink from the same cup and share the same loaf.  Our sustenance is the Lord.  He is our Real Food and Real Drink.  We receive all our graces from Him.  He gives us the wisdom we need to love each other and raise our children.  Our marriage would starve without Him.
  5.    We sing and dance together.  My joy comes from my husband’s joy.  It makes me happy when he is happy.  We like to please each other. 
  6.    My husband holds my heart in his care.  I am not afraid to say that.  Has he broken it before?  Yes.  But that makes him so much more careful in the future.  I’ve broken his heart before, too.  I pray, with God’s help, never to do it again.
  7.    We stand together, always.  Together we are raising our children.  As our two trees grow, they intertwine.  They have become one tree with one huge root and branches that spread out wide.  Our children know they can find refuge there.  They are not confused about which tree provides better fruit or more shade.  We are one big tree with the Lord providing us nourishment and life.
     These 20 years have been a roller coaster ride.  We have had our share of it all--abundance, sorrow, suffering, joy, happiness, fear, excitement, and loss.  The Lord has blessed us with 7 beautiful children and good health.  It has been a gracious 20 years.  I pray the Lord blesses us with 20 or 40 more.

1 comment:

  1. All this time, I thought it was my charming good-looks, millions of dollars, and rock-hard six-pack abs that kept you around.

    And yes, I do too, everyday.