A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Being Married

By Fr Kevin Bates SM

Holding another person’s heart in your hands, promising to care for this special one for the rest of your life, must be the most precious privilege, deep comfort and the greatest of challenges.

Being married means that there is somewhere you belong and that this will always be there no matter how many times you change addresses!

Here is the place where you can express your love in the most intimate ways, share your fears without fear of rejection and even unleash your anger, knowing that love will be waiting for you when your ranting is done.

You have the possibility of bringing new life into the world and overseeing and protecting new generations as they emerge. In time, the joy that grandchildren bring you will serve to deepen your married love with thankfulness.

Being married, you make present the face of God. Here in the depth of your home, you share God’s passionate love and mercy. These then spill over into the lives of your children and the lives of all others who share your life. You speak, with or without words, of God’s faithful love for us all and for this, we owe you great thanks.

In your marriage, you provide the solid foundation for our whole society. Without you and your enduring love, society would surely lose direction, identity, and would fall apart.

Your Sacrament is the sacred gift that sustains you and all of us as we toil our way through the challenges of life. It is no wonder, then, that in the Church, we say that marriage is for keeps and that its sacred bond must not be broken. Maintaining this bond through thick and thin needs the best of your courage and faith. In your marriage you are a Sacrament, a revealing of God’s self-emptying love.

It is probably true to say that in most families somewhere, we have a marriage or two that has not survived. Separation, divorce, suffering and re-building have impacted most of us. Perhaps there have been betrayal, health issues, or personal limitations which meant that marriages simply could not survive. Sometimes great courage is required in order to take the step towards separation for the good of all concerned.

Our hearts go out to those we love who face these fractured times and we learn to love them with perhaps new understanding and compassion. Somewhere in this time of suffering and separation, God’s faithful love also plays its part, sustaining, healing and teaching us all.

No human circumstance is beyond the reach of God’s mercy, and this mercy we surely owe each other. In your marriage you have the unique opportunity to make this mercy present in your home, your wider family and beyond.

This is easy to talk and write about, but in real life it involves taking the hard yards, doing the heavy lifting, releasing ourselves from rigid ideas and practices and from the many temptations that wounded egos put in our way.

You sacrifice much for your other half, your children and grandchildren. When love is at the centre of your relationships with them, you don’t count the cost, even though you are often aware of the burden and the cost involved.

In a society which values the quick fix, the easy way out and the needs of one’s self above all, the witness of a selfless, joyful, faith-fuelled marriage is a prophetic and joyful challenge to us all.

When work, Church, sport, economics or other distractions come between you and your marriage, warning signals sound and alert you to what is of most enduring value and what it is that needs protecting.

May God bless you in your marriages with all the courage, patience and selflessness that you need. May you continue to show the face of God’s faithful loving through your joys and your struggles. In turn, relying on God’s love for you, know you are in good hands.


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