From my column this week “All Things New” …
“Beyond the sacramental grace involved—and grace and prayer do play a big part, I think—it’s a lot of talking, and a lot of listening, and a lot of patience, and a lot of persistence. It’s wanting this little partnership to hold together, in spite of all the temptations and opportunities to make it rupture. It’s realizing, day after day and year after year, that the strange and beautiful “something” that drew you to this other person still matters. It’s making the choice to stay married, every day, because you know in your gut and in your head that your life is infinitely better because this other person is a part of it.
It’s companionship and partnership. It’s trusting—not just in each other, but in God, to help you over the rough patches. (And let’s not fool ourselves: there are always rough patches.)
It’s understanding from Day One that marriage is a living, breathing thing that needs attention and nurturing, and you have to give it the time and love that it needs to grow.
It’s taking seriously the notion that in marriage you two become “one flesh.”
A smart man once put it to me this way:
“There are three parties in a marriage,” he said. “The husband, the wife, and the marriage itself. Sometimes, you have to put aside what the husband wants, or what the wife wants, and ask, ‘What does the marriage want?’”
He was an atheist, so he didn’t think in religious terms, but I think you could substitute “God” for “marriage” and gain an even deeper understanding of what this whole mystery of matrimony involves.