Remembering the Marriage

Human nature is fickle. One day, we love something; the next day, we hightail away from our initial pleasure, dreading another reminder of that particular love.

As I consider our fickle nature, and how quickly and easily we run hot and cold, I am absolutely amazed by God.

God knew we were fickle creatures when He created us. He knew that one day we would embrace Him, and the next, we would want to run away, muttering how difficult He is being by placing rules and restrictions on “our” free will.

As Ginny asserted last spring, we live in a hook-up culture, a culture which is more focused on the individual, rather than the lasting quality of togetherness. And, a hook-up culture can be lonely – as much for those looking to hook up, as it is for those struggling to make lasting commitments. We live in a time where we are quick to toss away something when we no longer see the use of the item.

God has created some pretty fantastic things in His existence.

He’s created our world, the angels, animals, even fickle humans. He’s also given us a list of rules which, contrary to popular belief, are not merely suggested guidelines.

He’s also given us some pretty wonderful and lasting institutions.

Consider the Catholic Church.  Although it is not a perfect institution (since it is run by fickle humans), it has stood the test of time since the time of Christ.

He’s also given us lasting vocations, or callings in life – like, Holy Orders or religious life…

… like marriage.

G.K. Chesterton is credited with saying,

to-love-means-loving-the-unlovable

This phrase goes against the grain. It should force us to analyze our marriages which may be faltering. It encourages us to do better – to do what we need to do to give our marriages the utmost attention it deserves.

Recently, my husband and I were discussing our marriage and what drew us to each other as potential spouses. I shared with him that, while I am most definitely not perfect, my husband was the first person to ever challenge me to be the best version of myself. His love and encouragement made me want to be a better person – for him, for the people around me, and more importantly, for myself.

When I entered my marriage, I knew it was a commitment for life. I recognized at the time our marriage would not be without struggle, because anything worth doing is worth doing right – which means elbow grease and commitment would need to be applied before running for the hills. In fact, running for the hills is simply not an option.

Looking around, more marriages end in divorce than I care to consider. Perhaps worse,  couples are simply choosing to refrain from the commitment that comes with marriage. Couples shy away from the notion of “happily ever after” as an antiquated institution. Or, they throw in the towel when they realize that forever is a really long time!

But, I am going to challenge all of us – whether we are in solid or rocky marriages – to remember the bright eyed dreams as we approached our wedding days.

Take a moment to recall what drew you to your spouse in the first place.

Think about the reason you entered in to your vows – the commitment between you and your spouse, and the third party of your marriage – God.

Remind yourself what you were hoping to see come to fruition in your marriage, how those ideas may have shifted, and which ones are important enough to get back in the forefront of helping mold your union.

Because you, and your spouse, are beautifully, wonderfully, fearfully made – and, you are both made in the image and likeness of God. 

Your marriage – the two of you, and God Himself – deserves to know every hill, valley, ravine, and peak of your journey as a couple. Your marriage deserves to have the opportunity to withstand the test of time, and to shine as a bright example in the face of our current hook-up or toss-away culture.

So, this weekend, take some time to reflect on your marriage. And, let your spouse know how much they mean to you – whether in person, over the phone, an old-fashioned love letter, or via e-mail. Shower your marriage with some attention.

Because your marriage is worth it!

**This piece does not account for unhealthy, abusive marriages – the Catholic Church does not condone those relationships, nor do they require an abused spouse to remain married or together with an abusive spouse. Instead, this post is addressing the normal, healthy marriage. The one on the brink of separation, not by abuse or neglect, but rather the one succumbing to the prevalent hook-up mentality.**

19 thoughts on “Remembering the Marriage

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  1. I think part of the problem with the hook-up culture is the instant gratification and the notion that we are always supposed to do what makes us happy and those things that feel good. “Happily ever after” – on earth is not the goal, contrary to popular belief. Happy is an emotion. We are taught as Catholics to love beyond emotion – to love when we aren’t happy, to love in spite of sadness. How often do you think God looks down on us with sadness, over our sin and distance from him, yet his love preserves? We are called to love our spouses in the same way. There will be ups and downs because like you said, we are fickle but we need to follow the example of Jesus, always loving. I love this post – thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are *so* correct… so, so correct about the “instant gratification” and how we, as a culture, are seeking what makes us happy, without an eye toward the true “ever after”.

      And, so correct that God’s love perseveres, and even when He dislikes our choices, He still loves us, and waits patiently for us to come to our senses.

      Thank you! I’m glad you loved this piece!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your points of view are interesting. Having been married for just shy of 45 years, I see my peers differently. As I look at all of my college and high school friends who have married partners that I also know, we are all still together….except for a very few here and there. Only death or severe abuse have ended those marriages. The rest of us have all been married to the same spouse for 40-50+ years. What is the difference, what has made our marriages long term? We have had to work harder b/c nothing was easy. We were committed to marriage not to the idea of marriage, we went through a lot and figured out that two working together is easier than one selfish person. We accepted what came with marriage- all of it. We respected each other as we would like to be respected ourselves. We didn’t overanalyze everything and knit-pick. We worked for a goal- making happiness and love for two. We never imagined nor dwelled on leaving and making life alone or with any other. For military families, we didn’t have internet or Skype to keep in touch. We waited every moment sometimes for 12 weeks for mail from our spouse to make it to our mailbox from overseas….waited and hoped everyday to feel special when that loving letter arrived. We didn’t feel sorry for ourselves…..we took every day one at a time, focusing on what we needed to do, never feeling sorry for ourselves or feeling neglected. Because we knew that that same pain was being felt by our loved one so far away. We didn’t have everything, so we made each other our everything. And then there were children. The babies of BOTH spouses together. Today, the children have come second to our own individual selfish desires. We grew up, pulled our pants up a little higher and worked at our marriage. We realized that in pleasing our significant other, we made ourselves happy. And they were happy that we were happy. Happy isn’t a gift…it is the result of a lot of hard work and effort. Imagine that!!!! We don’t feel the need to re-examine our marriage together. We are on the right path and it works. No one is to blame if the marriage is less than we thought, we are both to blame….so fix it. Magnifying glasses show things we can’t see with the naked eye. if we didn’t see them with our own eyes, then let them go. If they were important we would see them.. Don’t go looking for what you can’t see. Don’t stop the “flow” to look for issues, there are enough real ones. Consider this every day: what can I do to make US happy, not me, not you, just US. And leave others out of your marriage. What they have and what they do, the places they travel, the “things” they have, are theirs. Make your own way, on your own terms. Compare yourselves to no one. You married only one. If two cannot do that, don’t bring anyone else into it….you can’t handle it. You just make yourself miserable and unhappy. Don’t be miserable and unhappy, marriage is supposed to be a joy. I wish you joy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perhaps there is a huge gap between generations. As I mention in my piece, my peers are either choosing to not get married, or they are choosing to end the marriage when it is no longer meeting the individuals’ needs.

      I agree with you – marriage isn’t about a “you or me” mentality, it’s about an “us.” But, sometimes I think it’s a good thing to analyze your marriage, and figure out how you (as a spouse) can do your part of the marriage better.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Like

  3. Thanks for the reminder! A healthy marriage is one of the biggest blessings in my life. It’s worth it to work to keep it healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was just talking about something similar to this yesterday!!!! Great minds!!! Very well written and insightful, and a good reminder that marriage is hard work and it’s worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the reminder to nourish our marriages. I know I need to do this more! I am so lucky to have the husband God gave me! Thank you for the truth and the reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This couldn’t come at a better time. Thank you for reminding me of WHY , my husband and I got married. Its not easy being married but having someone like you to lean on and learn from is a gift from God.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so correct!! It is definitely a journey, and sometimes the travels are easier than other times. But, knowing there was a “why” behind it all, and reminding ourselves of that why occasionally is so very important! Glad you enjoyed the article!

      Like

  7. Well said, and true. I suspect, strongly, that learning to distinguish between unalterable laws established by God – cultural norms – and habits established by personal preference – has been a challenge. At least in American culture.

    That suspicion comes from remembering my youth, when some loudly-religious folks seemed incapable of telling the difference between the Decalogue and their personal preferences in music and fashion. On the plus side, they unintentionally helped start me on a search for something that makes sense: which eventually led me to become a Catholic.

    Excellent post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really do think American culture bristles at the notion that we have someone other than ourselves to consider – and that Someone is a little more important than ourselves as individuals. It’s a pretty humbling thought, actually.

      And, I love hearing stories about how we find our ways either to the Church, or in my case, back to the Church!

      Thank you for your kind comment!

      Like

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