It Takes Three To Get Married
I wasn’t always the Church going type. I had many relationships throughout my life, each one lasting three years at most. Following what close family members and now distant friends would call a “radical conversion”, I’d met someone new who’d change this short relationship status into the long term.
Our marriage was so fast; we made those who marry overnight in Las Vegas look like they’d waited too long to tie the knot. Everyone was against our marrying one another. Her mother and father couldn’t understand how two people could meet on the internet, no job or ambitious prospects in life and tie the knot. Financial status was one of the critical components of a successful marriage.
I know finance is one of the building blocks of any organization never mind Marriage. Monks need it to run a monastery just as much as we do a household. The problem is It’s something not only seen as essential but the critical component for a successful marriage. In the modern world today, there’s a widespread belief that a good bank account is what holds a marriage together. Watch how people behave towards you when you’ve got money. You realize money comes first, love second, treated like the icing on the wedding cake and not its foundation.
Even the priest was against our marriage. He enforced the rule that I obtain a letter from her mother to approve of the marriage. It was no easy task and resistance was paramount, but eventually, with much prayer, she caved in, wrote the letter and disappeared.
At the wedding, only my father gave my wife away down the aisle as her Father, Mother and entire family did not attend the wedding. There were only about 20 people in attendance. The priest in his homily decided he would criticize us even further and said, “I feel like I’m at an arranged marriage.” He was so convinced that what we were doing was wrong. The irony here was he had just read the Gospel reading where Christ spoke of those being blessed who suffer persecution. Being persecuted was how we felt at the time. With the world against us, we soldiered on in this conviction of love for God and one another.
Today on the way home from church, we wondered ourselves at the length of our marriage and how it lasted so long. Most people are together for 5 years, get married and then break up a few years later. Everyone’s situation is so unique to that of ours that it’s simply impossible to draw comparisons.
We saw many people who were in great financial comfort whose marriages broke up rather quickly or following a lengthy period. We knew that it was the grace of Jesus Christ that was holding us together. It was our weak love for Christ that kept the relationship burning like an eternal candle before the Blessed Sacrament of God Himself.
Without that third person in our marriage, we’d most likely have only lasted 1-2 years. Our previous relationships excluded God. They were mostly about excitement and sex, after which boredom set in because God was not at the centre of it all. What was at the centre of it all one might ask?
It was our pleasure-seeking wills that sought only to use the other for our gratification. Relationships built only on the foundations of the satisfaction of one’s lusts never last. People become the bigger version of the toy you once owned as a child, fun for a while but forgotten about sooner or later in search of a new toy.
When God is at the head of the relationship, only then can clarity towards the dignity of the other reign in the hearts of both spouses. When we give ourselves to God, ceasing to look at God as someone from whom we receive, only then can we honestly give ourselves to another person. It is in light of this understanding that humans cease to become toys, used only at one’s disposal.
We don’t claim to love God more perfectly than anyone else but do attribute our long-lasting marriage to him. Every day is a hill we climb with no shoes on, and It hurts. The Catholic journey, although having its moments of peace and tranquility, is mostly a battle in which it would seem, wounds are in abundance. However, The Lord, as we know, has taken more blows than we could ever imagine and so we look to Him for further inspiration.
In our marriage, we recognize that it is through the Cross we die, (that is to our old self) and through the Cross that we come to live (having become a new person). Every day we are dying and being reborn again until we one day separate and through His grace, become enjoined to Him in heaven singing his praises.
The world was against our marriage. We cared little about that. Instead, we have submitted ourselves to the divine plan for our lives which is all that matters.