July 2, 2012

Catholic Marriage Series: Guest Post - Marriage as a Gift

I absolutely loved reading this post written by Mandi.  It's a beautiful reminder that as Catholics we are called to let our marriages be a positive example for all the world to see. 
Last month, my husband and I were both in his brother’s wedding.  As I sat down to sign the wedding card, I thought long and hard about what to write.  I don’t like to just sign a card, I like to write a personal message or a piece of advice, something to show the couple how much we care for them and our prayers for their marriage.  I started by writing about how blessed we felt to be part of their wedding and how happy we were to have a kind, beautiful, and faithful young woman join our family.  As I wrote this, I realized something that I hadn’t even thought of when I married my husband: that marriage is not only a gift the spouses give to one another and their future children, it is also a gift they give to all who surround them, their family, friends, community, society.  It is an example of self-giving, sacrificial (and sacramental) love.  So, of course, that’s what I wrote. 

Your marriage is a gift to your families. In addition to adding a wonderful new member to the family by marrying your spouse, you are also providing a fresh example of marriage for them.  I don’t just mean an example for those who will marry after you, but also for those that are older than you. If you come from families with traditions of divorce and little examples of marriage, yours can be the marriage that reverses that trend.  If you are one in a line of happy, loving marriages, take advantage of the wisdom you have before you, but don’t be afraid to forge your own way. Never underestimate the ability of newlywed love and sacrifice to reignite the marriages of your parents (or grandparents!).

Your marriage is a gift to your friends. Unless all your friends are already faithful Catholics, you have the opportunity to be a representation of the faith through the way you portray your marriage.  Most likely though, you have at least a few friends who see marriage in the way society represents it - as a contract that can easily be broken when things get difficult.  When you get together with your friends, be conscious of how you speak about your spouse.  If you discuss your spouse with love and charity, you give a positive example of marriage.  If you use time with friends to complain about your spouse, you are not only giving a negative representation of marriage, you are also betraying your spouse by airing your dirty laundry instead of keeping intimate problems within the marriage.  That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be authentic about the hardships of marriage, however, you should emphasize the benefits, explain the graces that help you and your husband work out your differences, and show that marriage is something that should continuously be evolving and growing.

Your marriage is a gift to your community. When two people marry, they bring together under one household various temperaments, experiences, and abilities.  The natural combination of these God-given gifts has a positive affect on the community the couple lives in.  Find ways that you can work together to benefit your community by combining  your gifts, or take turns working together on projects that one spouse naturally excels in order to broaden the abilities of the other.  By sharing a household (and all that goes into maintaining it), you might also give each other freedom to individually use your gifts to volunteer in the community. 

Your marriage is a gift to society.  The love between a husband and wife is a visible symbol of the love between Christ and his Bride, the Church.  In our modern society, marriage has all but lost it’s meaning in the face of quickie divorces and rampant cohabitation.  Yet this is only a reflection of a far greater problem: selflessness giving way to individualism and instant gratification.  It is in this hostile environment that we have the ability to let our marriages be a light to the world.  When make sacrifices for our spouses and our marriages, we are taking radical, countercultural actions.  I believe these little actions have the ability to change our world.

Mandi will be celebrating her two year anniversary this month to her husband, David.  Two years in, they are still learning the basics of married life (and still loving it!).  They have the ultimate reminder of the gift of marriage in their seven month old daughter, Lucia.  Their marriage will soon undergo the ultimate test: moving in with Mandi’s parents!  You can follow along with their adventures at Messy Wife, Blessed Life

Email me at catholiccookiejar@gmail.com if you'd like to write a post for the Catholic Marriage Series

1 comment:

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