“Love should make easier to give to the other everything that is dear to us.”
Every couple who struggles to have a happy marriage should remember every day this sentence by Fr. Jose Kentenich, founder of the Schoenstatt Apostolic Movement. Our commitment as wives, as husbands, is to make the other happy. Love took us to the altar, where we promised to be faithful to this vow, no matter what life may bring to us from that day on.
We all know that is not easy. The greatest enemy of our happiness is my happiness. Yes, the opposite of love is not hate, but it is selfishness. Every time I put my personal realization, my will, my projects above what is best for our family, I am undermining our happiness.
Since the foundation of our family, we need to struggle day by day to change “mine” for “ours.” It is a long and painful process; after all we are all born selfish, thinking about ourselves, our pleasure, our well-being, our survival. It is a part of human development to go from a child’s immature mentality that wants everything for herself to the adult maturation that knows we live in community and we need to seek the common good.
So there should not exist my car, but our car, which will be used for the good of our family. There isn’t my salary, but our salary that will be used in the best way that suits the family needs. There isn’t also your child (yes, when the child misbehaves, he isn’t mine, he is yours), he is our child that needs to be educated as much by his father as his mother.
The problems aren’t mine either; they are ours. The achievements aren’t mine; they are ours. The promotion is also ours. The disease is ours too; even though the treatment is done only on one of us, we both suffer together. The decision to buy or sell is ours. And that boring relative? She is ours.
So you are saying that I will need to annul myself to happy marriage? Of course!! That is exactly what I am saying. I will try to annul, every day, that part of me that wants to satisfy myself first, annul all those imperfections that bother my spouse so much, annul the will to do everything my way, not worrying about whether that is the best for our family.
Being a parent helps a lot in this process of maturing love. When the child arrives, a small being so helpless that he needs us for absolutely everything, we experience in the practice of what it means to annul oneself for the good of the other. And the more children we have, the faster we grow up in the building of our happiness.
Alone, it is very difficult to manage to give up what is mine to the good of what is ours, but the graces we receive through the Sacrament of Matrimony will help us in this journey. We should always ask God to help us learn to love as he loves us: he gave his own life for our salvation.