I was reading an article about the actress Susan Sullivan having lung cancer (even though she was not a smoker.) I have appreciated her acting talent over the years (too many roles to mention here.)
The article mentioned that Sullivan is 81, and her partner of 35 years, is 85. That "partner" mention caught my attention. She's been with him a long time.
I have no idea why they never married each other, but like me, I'm sure you have heard people say over the years "I don't need a piece of paper to know he/she loves me," etc., etc.
Goldie Hawn has said, about her partnership with Kurt Russell, "I like the idea that I can wake up in the morning and make decisions every day if I want to be here," she said. "Ultimately, staying independent with independent thinking is important. So you can hold on to yourself and you're going to actually have that feeling." (usatoday.com)
That's right, I said it. Hogwash.
Why are some people who are living together, unmarried, so set on reducing marriage to "a piece of paper?" You might say that it is the paper that makes them stay together, but it has to be more than a piece of paper.
Getting back to Goldie. Would you want to be with someone who has to think about whether they want to stay with you every day? Saying "I do" should take that daily question off the table.
Is it assumed that you lose your independence once you marry? She's got that wrong too. Yes, you enjoy a healthy interdependence, but "losing yourself" or your independence has no place in a healthy marriage.
Healthy marriages last because of the covenant they make with each other in God. .
Healthy marriages have room for individuals to grow independently, and alongside each other, with each encouraging the other, supporting and lifting up the other.
Their vow keeps them together (among so many other things.)
And, they live out the faith they profess, together.
Future spouses need to be honest with each other. They need to see the other person for who they are. They need to know they are not going to fix someone and those faults are not going to magically disappear.
They really need to listen to their family and friends' warnings or affirmations.
The picture I am offering is a full, complete, joy-filled marriage that is all it is meant to be. It is a marriage in which spouses help each other grow in holiness and get to heaven.
That doesn't mean marriage can't exist if every piece is not in place, but these things make a marriage strong and lasting. They really do.
It isn't that some people just get lucky and marry the right person. God brings people together and this allows for them to be a valuable witness. Start by asking God if this is the person he wants you to marry. Too many times, people skip this step.
Let's pray for those who do not have this. Let's pray for those whose spouse has let them down and failed to live up to what they promised, and let's also pray that we never lose sight of what a beautiful gift the sacrament of marriage is.
Now, just for fun, I'm including this VIDEO about the questions to ask before you marry someone. He might be a little utilitarian in his approach, but hopefully you'll enjoy it anyway.
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