5 Keys to Celebrate Blessings in Your Marriage

5 Keys to Celebrate Blessings in Your Marriage December 12, 2023

God wants us to be happy. This is why he sends us his blessings. A synonym for happiness within Christianity is holiness. God calls us all to be holy, which is to be ultimately happy. So, it makes sense that the Bible speaks about several life situations that are very relatable to our final happiness. Marriage is a basic human experience and figures largely in the Bible. “I don’t believe the Bible was ever intended to be a marriage book, but it is a beautiful love story—a story about a God in pursuit of His bride.” (Sanderfer & Johnson, Created for Connection, p. 15)

Often in the Old Testament, the story is a marriage story. We begin with the story of Adam and Eve. Abraham and Sarah come to mind. We look at Isaac and Rebecca. There is the story of Tobiah and Sarah. There are a lot of marriage stories in the Old Testament. The first sign that Jesus chose to perform in the Gospel in John was turning the water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana. Marriage is very present in the Bible. Marriage can be a wonderful way to reflect on the blessings that God gives us in life and help us reflect the love of Christ. What are the 5 keys to celebrate blessings in your marriage?

God’s Plan for Marriage: Celebrating Blessings and Reflecting the Love of Christ

“The biblical Word of God several times urges the betrothed and the married to nourish and develop their wedlock by pure conjugal love and undivided affection.” (Gaudium et Spes, 48) Marriage is meant to be an exclusive love. Conjugal love is something so strong and powerful, that it has to be exclusive to meet its full potential. Some people will argue that in the Old Testament there are several examples of polygamy. This may be true, but each time that sexuality comes forth outside of marriage, some type of drama or disaster ensues. Plus, we all know the penalty for polygamy: “Poly-mothers-in-law.”

1. Celebrate your blessings

God wants us to discover the many blessings that He gives us in life. If we grow up in a structured environment where love is modeled well, everything prepares us for a loving, fulfilling relationship in the context of marriage.

Christ the Lord abundantly blessed this many-faceted love, welling up as it does from the fountain of divine love and structured as it is on the model of His union with His Church. For as God of old made Himself present to His people through a covenant of love and fidelity, so now the Savior of men and the Spouse of the Church comes into the lives of married Christians through the sacrament of matrimony. (Gaudium et Spes, 48)

At a wedding, the bride and groom pledge their love and their lives to one another. The rest of us are all witnesses to this swearing of their love. This love pales in comparison, however, with the love of God that is pledged to us each day. This comes out most fully in the reception of the Eucharist. Just as a man and woman are called to enter into communion with one another through the sacrament of matrimony, we are all called to enter into communion with Christ the Lord through the reception of the sacrament of the Eucharist. And, different from matrimony, this is a sacrament we can receive every day.

2. Commit To Reflect His Love

Authentic married love is caught up into divine love and is governed and enriched by Christ’s redeeming power and the saving activity of the Church, so that this love may lead the spouses to God with powerful effect and may aid and strengthen them in sublime office of being a father or a mother. (Gaudium et Spes, 48)

We are called to live in the reflection of Christ’s love. Marriage is an excellent opportunity for this.

Our call to communion comes out clearly from the very story of Creation. Woman is described as being wrought from the rib of man. To look at this in terms of submission seems to be somewhat childish and simplistic. Rather, it echoes the call to communion that both man and woman answer through the institution of marriage.

Gen. 2:22-24

The LORD God then built the rib that he had taken from the man into a woman. When he brought her to the man, the man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of man this one has been taken.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.

A marriage forms a new family. Through the blessing of God and generosity of the spouses, life comes forth. The spouses form a new community of life and love. This prepares us to better understand the greatness of God’s love.

3. Recognize a call to exclusive love

God calls us to communion, but not with just anyone. Love is by its nature exclusive.

Prov. 5:15-20

Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your water sources be dispersed abroad,streams of water in the streets? Let them be yours alone, not shared with outsiders; Let your fountain be blessed and have joy of the wife of your youth, your lovely hind, your graceful doe. Of whose love you will ever have your fill, and by her ardor always be intoxicated. Why then, my son, should you be intoxicated with a stranger, and embrace another woman?

4. Choose love over lust

The total love that is recommended in marriage is a love that is exclusive. It is easy to fall in love. The tough thing is to stay in love. This is the challenge that each married couple is to face courageously. One of the stories that I love discussing with young people preparing to get married is the story from the book of Tobit. Tobiah and Sarah trust in the Lord and it changes everything in their lives. They choose love over lust and God credits it to them as righteousness. The climax of their story comes when they pray before entering the marriage bed.

Tob. 8:4-8

When Sarah’s parents left the bedroom and closed the door behind them, Tobiah rose from bed and said to his wife, “My sister, come, let us pray and beg our Lord to grant us mercy and protection.” She got up, and they started to pray and beg that they might be protected. He began with these words: “Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors; blessed be your name forever and ever! Let the heavens and all your creation bless you forever. You made Adam, and you made his wife Eve to be his helper and support; and from these two the human race has come. You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a helper like himself.’ Now, not with lust, but with fidelity I take this kinswoman as my wife. Send down your mercy on me and on her, and grant that we may grow old together. Bless us with children.” They said together, “Amen, amen!”

Couple exchanging wedding rings
A couple exchanges wedding vow | Courtesy of Pixels

5. Give yourself totally

Our world teaches us to be selfish. This is a direct effect of original sin. Marriage offers so many opportunities to overcome our tendency to selfishness. It is wonderful to see how people are able to change and develop over time in marriage, if they choose to be generous. I remember one young man, who always focused on himself. But I have seen how marriage and fatherhood has changed him. He gives of himself and serve those around him. He impresses me by how he organizes family trips and vacations. When he gets home, he cleans out the van the same day, making sure that it will be serviceable for his family already the next day. God expects marriage to be mutually beneficial for the spouses.

1 Cor. 7:3-6

The husband should fulfill his duty toward his wife, and likewise the wife toward her husband. A wife does not have authority over her own body, but rather her husband, and similarly a husband does not have authority over his own body, but rather his wife. Do not deprive each other, except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, to be free for prayer, but then return to one another, so that Satan may not tempt you through your lack of self-control. This I say by way of concession, however, not as a command.

Intimacy

The problem that many spouses experience is that there is an over-emphasis on physical intimacy, forgetting about emotional, intellectual, and spiritual intimacy. This is why when Paul suggests abstaining for a time from physical intimacy, he is inviting them to grow in spiritual intimacy. I remember one couple that always received communion side-by-side at mass. I know that it is one way that they tried to unite their spiritual lives.

Human love will transform our hearts if we let it, because it is ultimate a reflection of God’s love.

This love is an eminently human one since it is directed from one person to another through an affection of the will; it involves the good of the whole person, and therefore can enrich the expressions of body and mind with a unique dignity, ennobling these expressions as special ingredients and signs of the friendship distinctive of marriage. (Gaudium et Spes, 49) 

Questions for reflection

As a couple, do you reflect on the blessings you have received?

Do you respect the different areas of intimacy, fostering a growing together in your relationship?

Marriage Series

Parenting Style

Temperament and How It Can Make Your Marriage Flourish

5 Keys to Celebrate Blessings in Your Marriage

God’s Plan for Marriage

Love Builds Security: God’s Plan for Marriage

About Fr. Nicholas Sheehy, LC
Fr. Nicholas Sheehy was ordained a Catholic priest in 2013 for the Legionaries of Christ. He has been involved in youth work including missions, retreats and apostolic outreach in Germany, Italy, the United States and Central America. He is passionate about the New Evangelization and formation for young adults and married couples. He is a spiritual director and retreat director, offering marriage preparation and marriage counseling through the Divine Mercy Clinic and Family Center. He is currently Executive Director and Chaplain of the Newman Center at St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Pasadena, California. You can read more about the author here.
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