Married For Life

"So how did ya'll stay married so long?" 
We get funny looks and comments about being married 36 years ago when people learn we started as high school sweethearts. But there's no secret about the longevity of our marriage; it's pretty simple and highly intentional. 
My wife and I are Catholic and believe that marriage is a gift rooted in authentic love. Love's full expression is experienced through the teachings and practices of the Church. Don't get me wrong, we don't just follow the rules. That would be moralism, meaning our marriage is about doing good things because we want to "get to heaven". On the contrary, we live a very fluid life with misadventures.  
How do we remain in these teachings and practices?  First, understand that we have a purpose union in which love is the core.  A purpose union can be defined in four ways: 
  • Marriage unites a couple in faithful and mutual love.
  • Marriage opens a couple to give life.
  • Marriage is a way to respond to God’s call to holiness (open to personal change).
  • Marriage calls the couple a sign of Christ’s love in the world. 

Second, marriage takes work, and there are heavy contenders that we deal with. For example, how we change as individuals, work schedules, raising adult children, and the ever-changing meaning of marriage in our lives, all compete with our focus on each other.
Third, our vows proclaimed longevity from the start. These vows guide us to be better people for and with each other.  We couldn't do this on the fly. Egocentric and self-centered values have always kept us disunited.  Our vows are the compass that keeps us on a trajectory that binds and offers a sacrificial practice of love.
Finally, marriage is NOT happiness, like two turtle doves in a pear tree. It consists of looking outward together in the same direction, finding *J.O.Y. in our life, and being with each other. 
The dimensions of Catholic marriage: Video


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