“For Your Marriage” is an initiative by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to help strengthen marriages and families. #WhootWhoot #heckYEAH #HeavensYES
(Yes, that’s how nerdily PASSIONATE I am about strengthening the most simple cell of human society: the family. *cough* JP2! *cough*)
Anyway, today’s “Daily Marriage Tip” is this:
“When all else fails, WAIT. When things aren’t going well in your marriage – and there are bound to be those days – give it time. Sometimes we need to just separate, cool off, sleep on it and then come back with more positive feelings.”
It seems so simple, so commonsensical, but… now don’t laugh…
Why? Because I’m pretty sure I am a good illustration of the “women are more emotional than men” theory. Yep, to a tee.
Being in my first committed dating relationship– entered upon at a ripe age of 25 years!–I’ve been learning SO MUCH about how true love has nothing to do with #emotion, and everything to do with #decision.
Why am I in a courtship with my boyfriend?
THE (BEAUTIFUL) REASON
Because I have decided that I want to discern whether or not we are called to marriage together; and, moreover, I have decided that I want to help him to grow in holiness in the process.
Yep, you got it! MISSION: HOLINESS. Holiness is our shared objective! #cueEPICmusic (OK, OK, I’ll lay off on the hashtags now!)
What about happiness, you ask? The one way that we can give a soul everlasting happiness is by helping him/her to SEE God and by bringing him/her closer TO God (think: h o l i n e s s). This should be our mission in dating/courtship and marriage. Now, how beautiful is that?!
(Side note not to be taken lightly: Marriage is a demanding vocation that is to be taken just as seriously as religious life. Marriage VOWS are as SERIOUS as that FINAL vow that a sister / brother / nun / priest / etc. makes with GOD! To be a layperson is not to cop out on your call to holiness. If you’re called to marriage, you VOW to bring your spouse and your children to HEAVEN. God’s taking your promise seriously and waiting for their souls– and yours– in Heaven!! But anyway, I digresss… ;-))
THE (DARING) RISK
Sometimes, however, it’s hard to remember that the ultimate mission of a relationship is holiness– not happiness!– when we feel hurt.
And if we don’t communicate that hurt to one another and discuss it, it eventually morphs into anger, resentment, and pride. #Yikes! (OK, last hashtag, I swear!)
What do I really admire about my boyfriend, you ask? I admire how he always wants to talk about hurt before it turns into anger, resentment, and pride. (He’s not a Marriage and Family Therapist, but I sometimes think that he should be!)
And I truly appreciate my boyfriend’s more “manly” logical side— something that I think I, as a woman, throw out the window sometimes when my emotions get the best of me. If I seem hurt, these are always my boyfriend’s first words (or some variation of them): “Let’s talk about it.” How manly is that?! (I thank the LORD for gender complementarity.)
THE (EPIC) REALITY
As my boyfriend and I approach our one year anniversary of “officially” dating/courting, I can conclude a few things.
ONE] That crazy cosmic emotional connection you will feel, often likeable to what you see in the movies, is of infinite value and awesome, but it is still NOT enough for two people to “be in love” forever. If all one can think about is, “How happy can this person make me?”, he/she is setting the relationship up for disaster! You need a much stronger foundation to hold you together: the Holy Spirit. And you need a much stronger purpose for being together: bringing one another to the LORD! “How can I make him/her happy? How can I help him/her to be holy?” we should ask, and put our answers into loving action.
TWO] Love requires epic virtue. The bottom line: love demands selflessness and purity of heart. Think: Christ dying to Himself, that you may have life. That is how you are called to love your significant other, even when you feel like they are crucifying you. Oftentimes, you have to bite your tongue through misunderstandings, smile among tears, forgive, and forget.
But remember: the first thing you have to do before you can forgive and forget? TALK. Listen, validate, express yourself kindly (not self righteously), and compromise! In that order. 🙂
THREE] The #1 ingredient for love is PATIENCE. That @foryourmarriage “Daily Marriage Tip” was totally correct when it offered that one caveat: “WAIT.” Truly Christ-centered relationships are fueled by patience. Yes, even Saint Paul mentions it right off the bat in his letter to the Corinthians!
“ Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up;  Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil;  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth;  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Douay Rheims)
With its downs as well as its ups, dating/courtship has been a wild ride so far… and an equally beautiful one! And no, I wouldn’t trade those “downs” for anything, because truly, they have strengthened my relationship with my boyfriend. What can I conclude about this “wild ride”? Simply stated…
Love is HARD. Love is SACRIFICE. And love is AMAZING, truly, as it is inherently miraculous, for we are only capable of loving because He first loved us! (1 John 4:19.) Amen. Alleluia!