I often anticipated passing the sacred torch of marriage on to my children. I never could have seen the battle of rhetorical arguments that would block my path during the handoff.
It’s a beat-up world and we’re living in it.
My husband and my marriage and that of our parents’ is what has dressed our children’s view of marriage. Television probably stitched and patched up the rest, which is a shame, but that’s not what I want to focus on.
It’s a beat-up world and I know that the rest of the world’s marriages are dressed in many sizes, shapes, and frames simply because there are so many of us out there who were created in so many different sizes, shapes, and frameworks. It just stands to reason.
But, despite the differences in families, the sacredness of marriage is something I think is so beautiful and blessed that I wanted to succeed at defining my marriage even if I failed at everything else. I can’t depend on or trust that the rest of society will define it for me.
Marriage does not a wedding make. Marriage is not a one-day act, but a lifetime of Dos. Marriage is not simple something you do, but something you are.
Marriage should define one because the two become one.
Some modern day people would snub at this and I hear the dry advice, “Get a life.”
This is my life. Sorry, modern world, but my marriage does define me. And to see other marriages fail so much in today’s world reassures me that what my husband and I have done and what our parents did before us is not something contrite. It’s serious business.
“Marriage is the greatest test in the world… But now I welcome the test instead of dreading it. It is much more than a test of sweetness of temper, as people sometimes think; it is a test of whole character and affects every action.” T.S. Elliot
All I have to do is click on today’s social media to see that we are living a battle that attempts to defeat and crunch and grind the very sacredness my husband and I believe to be the thing that defined generations of our family before us, continued to define us these past 26+ years, and will, hopefully, define the landscape of my grandchildren.
I’m not here to tell people how to live. I tend not to preach. People rebel against preaching. I’d rather people find out I’m Catholic after I’m dead. Sounds rather O’Conner-y and I probably read something by her that provoked that comment. But I won’t preach. I am here to show people that a good marriage is possible. That family life is a valuable resource. That peaceful living is worthwhile. If they make a different choice there is little I can say to change that, but please allow me the courtesy and respect to live my life adorned in a life that endorses its Creator and sings His praises.
Not long ago I ran into a childhood friend at the store. We grew up together when our older siblings attended Catholic school and we were still in potty-training school. We both married a month apart and had our children back-to-back. She is godmother to my oldest daughter and I am godmother to her oldest daughter. She sponsored me on my Cursillo. We not only grew up together, our lives have crossed paths and twined through life’s motions and ceremonies together.
Sheila and I met in the milk aisle on the eve of our silver wedding anniversaries and where two of us were gathered in His name. Our oldest children were venturing out into life; life congested with its burdens and blessings, its pains and praises, its hurts and healings. And we talked and talked. Milky condensation dripped with words full of worry.
I don’t remember the whole conversation but one thing stands out and I Moby-wrapped it in an attempt to carry it close to my heart always. I made the common comment of how necessary it was to keep all our growing children close in prayer, consecrated to Christ, dependent on His mercy. And the Holy Spirit dropped upon my friend and spoke Truth through her, “Not only pray for them and their future marriages, but pray for our marriages as well. We can never stop praying for our marriages.”
The sanctity of marriage needs many, so many, prayers. Prayers for those planning to wed. Prayers for those of us already married. Prayers even for those of us whose marriages have been measured in silver (25 years) and gold (50 years).
Prayers can never end. That’s where ideal meets reality.
The Church gives us the ideal. Society says it doesn’t exist. The reality is never the ideal yet the Church is the only thing in this world that even tells us the ideal is possible. The Church tells us this while holding up the crucifix. It repeatedly holds up the crucifix and admits that YES! life can be full of suffering. YES! life can be a sacrifice. The Church that looks life straight in the ugliness and glorifies suffering and sacrifice. No wonder people run for the hills.
But the Church also offers us hope and vision and an answer to resurrect and redeem the ugliness of the crucifixes in our daily lives. It shines a Light on the crucifix and says YES! there is something else to this. YES! there is an ideal to strive for. YES! there is redemption found in the quake of this ugliness and suffering.
We cannot have the Resurrection without the Cross. We cannot look away. Marriage is redemptive that way. We have to clean up the messes our sins make of life. Marriage is our chance to live the Paschal Mystery renewed every day of our lives in prayer. In constant prayer.
I am joining the Sistas by praying 40 Days for Sacred Matrimony, will you join us?
May 1st to June 9th
Copyright 2013 Cay Gibson