I was at a wedding this past weekend and was reminded of my own wedding day about 5 months ago. That was probably one of my easiest days of marriage, looking back, before all the trials ensued!
As an older Catholic who was set in her ways and didn’t live with her spouse prior to marriage, it’s definitely been a journey of learning how to live peacefully with one another’s lifestyle habits and all the trials of life from taking care of a home, trying to build a family, managing two demanding careers, and making room for and balancing varying hobbies and interests.. In the words of an acquaintance describing her first year of marriage, “it has its ups and downs.”
I was also reminded that the goal of marriage is not being happy (although hopefully, that is actually one of the outcomes), but to lay down one’s life in love for another each and every day. To be humble, merciful, willing to serve, persevering in the race, and willing to hear and respond to the needs of your spouse in front of you. The messages in today’s readings.
That sounds all good and holy on paper, right? The vows seem noble and easy on your wedding day. But if you’re a married person, you know how incredibly challenging living this out is. The stresses and demands of daily life take over, conflicts ensue, your habits start grating on one another’s nerves, you can act self-serving at times, and your less than best and holy self comes out.
It happens to us all. The fact is, we don’t always want to lay down our lives for each other when we’re tired, cranky, stressed out, and seeking our happiness. This is the hard work of day to day love.
I think one of the beautiful things about the Sacrament of Marriage is that when we’re at that wedding, witnessing the love of two people coming together, we’re reminded of what this vocation is all about and we hear the call again, to love and honor our beloved all the days of our lives. To let go of our pride, and lay down our lives again and again, day after day, year after year.
To be humble and merciful, as the Lord calls us to today.