I’ve been witnessing young couples getting married for 37 years. At an average of say, 7 a year, that’s over 250 weddings. I really have lost count. Most of these couples have moved on in their lives, and I have no contact with them.
Sometimes they will surprise me with their children at mass or come to another wedding or baptism where we
re-acquaint ourselves. I have no idea as to the success of the marriages I’ve witnessed. I do know some of them are going strong. I also know that some have failed.
I wish I had known some things back then that the following years have taught me. Herein a list of points that I’ve come to know about marriage:
True Friendship. Your spouse needs to be your dear-est friend. You need to admire them for the good qualities they possess and feel privileged that, for all the people they know, they offered them to you.
Respect. Treating your spouse as Number 1 in your life. (Not Number 1a or 2). Allow yourself to be conquered by your spouse. Their wishes are usually your interests.
Happiness. It comes in making him/her happy.
Have some children. What else are you two going to leave behind? Children are here because you love your spouse. They will teach you how to love even more.
Trust. A basic belief that (because you know the goodness of your spouse) together you can solve the problems of life.
Faith. To truly know you are not alone. To know that God wants the two of you to love each other till the end and . . . He will give you the graces you need to be there for each other.
Forgiveness. You both are going to mess up. Be quick to acknowledge what you’ve done wrong (selfishness, impatience, rash judgement, etc.)
Caring for one another’s needs. Your spouse is not you. They have a unique way about themselves and some-times require some special TLC for something they find difficult. “What do you need dear?” is a great question.
Hard work. Sometimes marriage is like peddling up-hill. The legs can burn and the lungs hurt. Keep peddling! Something permanent is being built. Your house is set on rock.
Physical Fitness. Your spouse fell in love with all of you. Your body is a gift you give to them. Keep it well and fit.
Don’t Freak Out. There will be some scary times. You’re going to run out of gas. Yes you will. Reject the thought that it’s all been a mistake. It hasn’t. God wanted this. And you will see how the very problems that frighten you, if honestly acknowledged and courageously dealt with, can become, in time, your marriage’s “Finest Hour”.
Fun. Sooner or later you gotta have some fun. Take her dancing, watch his stupid football . . . . you’ll know what to do!
A long time ago I asked my mother, “How did you and dad make it through all these years together?” (Like every marriage they had their ups and downs). She said with great wisdom and simplicity, “It was never a matter of asking, “can” we do this. It was always the question, “how” will we do this.
In other words — “We’re going to make it. How? I don’t know . . . but we’ll figure it out.”
Wives. Husbands. Hip Hip Hooray!!