I recently read a book, Dreams of a woman by Sharon Jaynes. It explained that a woman in her nature has four deep desires to live a happy life in this world. They include having a loving father, to have a best friend, to be a bride, to be a mother. The desires are in us for as long as we can remember. But that which last long with us is ‘to be a bride’. This is something a girl thinks about more often than she thinks about her parents. By the time a girl is 18, she knows which part of the year her wedding is to be, the colors of the day, the dream guy to marry, and the type of gown among other things she can think of by then. The rest is only to fine tune.
Well, that is as far as the fantasy goes. The real deal is a bit complex. We have made it very complex. First there is finding the ideal guy to marry, where looks, money, status, kind of job e.t.c come to play; or the ideal wife, where still looks and class come to play, how she will look as she walks beside me, can she cook, wash clean e.t.c. Figuring out if you can afford the dowry is the next task. Then there is the mother of all, the wedding day. From the church to the grounds, the bridal car(s), decorations, cake, entertainment, and anything else the business world of the wedding industry can offer. So much importance is paid to the wedding day that the next day, the newly wed’s lives seems lost, not to exist, they have to figure out what next when the morning comes; well maybe after the honey moon.
Yet, in the back of my mind I wonder, what really counts? The wedding day or the marriage one enters into? Today, there are thousands of broken marriages, as much importance has not been given to this question. We forget the basic principles of marriage, that it is an institution, instituted by God Himself during creation; it is a covenant with God and with one another; it is a vocation, a sacrament of the Holy Catholic Church. According to the catholic teaching expressed in the catholic encyclopedia, the union between husband and wife is to last until death (Matthew 19:6 .; Luke 16:18; Mark 10:11; 1 Corinthians 7:10; That this is the highest form of the conjugal union, and the best arrangement for the welfare both of the family and of society.
Through the sacrament of matrimony, husband and wife obtain an increase of sanctifying grace, and a claim upon those actual graces which are necessary to the proper fulfillment of all the duties of family life, and the relations between husband and wife, parents and children, are supernaturalized and sanctified. The end, and the ideal, of the Christian family are likewise supernatural, namely, the salvation of parents and children, the union between Christ and His Church, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it” (Ephesians 5:25) and the intimacy of the marital union, the identification of husband and wife, is seen in the injunction “So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife, loves himself” (Ephesians 5:28).
If you are called to married life, you and your spouse will commit to a lifetime relationship of faithfully serving the Lord and one another. You will need to be open to children and dedicated to loving and raising them in the Catholic faith. Many young people see themselves becoming married and having a family. The married life seems like a blissful love-fest. But there’s more to it than one would think. As Catholics, living firmly according to the vows at the altar is of essence: “…for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death does us part.” It’s romantic to say this when everything is perfect at the wedding. But it is much more challenging to live those vows every day. Many people make a habit of dating, dumping, dating, and dumping. Many people also enter a marriage with a mindset that if it doesn’t work, there is divorce. In the back of their mind, they always have an exit strategy for when things don’t work out perfectly. In marriage, you have to break that way of thinking. I was once told of such a couple by a friend. After the bliss of the first few years of marriage had passed, they went to the priest who married them, that he may separate them officially. The priest told them that they should join him in prayer towards achieving that goal. When half the day was gone and no words were forthcoming from the priest, they decided to demand that he carry out their request. He told them that he was doing exactly that. He was praying for one of them to die since it was only then they would be separated. The essence of the words, “till death do us part” and “what God has put together, no man shall put asunder” come to play here. Sometimes we assume that it is only they out there, beyond the marriage union that are not to “put asunder” to marriage, we forget that we who form this union should also not, because, God has put it together, He saw it fit, He created them for each other, but more so He perfected it in the sacrament of matrimony. In a Christian marriage there is no such thing as “falling in love” (Donald Cardinal Wuerl – Archbishop of Washington). It has only the concept of “entering into a love relationship” in marriage to a man or a woman chosen by God. The Bible only says, “Husbands love your wives…” (Eph. 5:25), and not “Boys love your girlfriends” or vice versa. It is true that love is needed even to choose the life partner. But what kind of a love should it be? It should be a pure, mature love from God for our future marriage partner and it should be out of respect for the partner’s devotion and commitment to Christ. This love should not be mixed with emotions of the flesh. It is a two-way process and both partners should experience this kind of love and be equally guided by the Lord towards each other.
When we respond to God’s call, as a husband or wife, as a single person, or as a religious, a deacon or a priest, we give witness to the great paradox of our faith — that we gain our life when we give it away. At the core of every vocation is prayer. Young people can only learn God’s plan for them in prayer. The grace to joyfully persevere in one’s calling comes from prayer.
Although priests and religious, single, and married people also share their common joys, the married life offers unique joys. For instance; selflessly giving yourself to another person every day, pouring yourself into the lives of your children, sharing your children with your brothers, sisters and your parents, watching your children grow up, growing older with a friend among others.
It is my desire to get married someday.It is my desire still to have a glamorous wedding; not in the material sense, in the covenanted sense. I would love to abide by the following words that Donald Cardinal Wuerl the Archbishop of Washington once wrote;
Marriage unites a couple in faithful and mutual love;
Marriage opens a couple to giving life;
Marriage is a way to respond to God’s call to holiness;
Marriage calls the couple to be a sign of Christ’s love in the world.
I want to be united with him in mutual love and faithfulness, I want to be open to the life giving nature of marriage, the act of being co-creators with God, I want to respond to God’s call to the vocation of Holy matrimony, but more so I want my marriage to reflect the love of God to the world… So help me God.