PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: Love and marriage

By FATHER JIM

A devoted husband produced a little book drawing from his wife’s journal during a long illness that claimed her life.

She struggled mightily those final months. Her illness tested the faith and devotion of the couple.

Father Jim

He said in the book, “Only two kinds of people think that love is easy — saints who through long times of self-sacrifice have perfected virtue, and naïve persons who don’t know what they’re talking about!”

Love in marriage is not easy. The old saying, “love works only if you work at love,” is so very true.

Married love was, and still is, a challenge when couples follow the “old ways” — that is get your education, get a blessed marriage, then children and the family get going.

Now, love, commitment and long-term success and happiness are even more difficult because of the modern “churning up” of things.

No marriage, blessed or civil, not even long-term living together (shorter hit-and-miss-playing-house-for-awhile experiences are more popular for many) all adds to more frequent separations, moving out and moving apart.

Having children first, trying to catch up later with education, wondering if some day the love might be sealed in a blessed, or at least, legal way, contributes to stress, uncertainty and even a suspicion if true love is possible.

Although many sacramental marriages will take place in Catholic parishes this spring and summer, still many young, good and gifted couples sit on the fence figuring out if they found the perfect partner.

Our older married couples carrying the Sacrament of Marriage for 40, 50, 60 years and more, will say no partner is perfect. But marriage made holy, enjoying the practice and support of faith, certainly can help and hold and sometimes even save the commitment of love.

Why is it that for couples who cohabitate for a significant period, their rate of splitting up is triple than those who wait until marriage to move in? Your guess is as good as any. But the statistics remain.

Spring is a good time to encourage blessed marriage in the church. Some qualities of our God are beautifully and best revealed in marriage — faithfulness, forgiveness, trust, sacrifice, joy and dignity.

Whether we are married or not, love is our constant calling, our origin and our fulfillment in that kingdom for which we long.