Picking the most beautiful parish, hiring the most talented musicians, the freshest flowers, bridesmaid dresses that reflect the color of the season, and of course the most important part…planning the party afterward. The food, the open bar, the band and dancing. Now that’s what going to a wedding is all about. After all, back in Jesus’s time in Jerusalem, the wedding feast would last seven days.
When we attend someone’s wedding, we are there to witness their sacrament; to be a part of this glorious lifelong celebration of marriage—YES—the joining of one man to one woman as a reflection of Christ the bridegroom and his love for his bride the Church. Our witness at the wedding says to the couple that when difficulty comes, we will be your support. When bad times shadow your marriage, we promise to encourage you. When things turn for the worse, we will be there to build you up and not tear your union down or apart. When one of the spouses gets sick, we commit to help carry the heavy load.
When couples struggle, and storms come, we should offer inspiration and not stay quiet. If there is talk of divorce, we should not choose sides, but pray deeply for them and offer words of healing.
Couples will come to us at Marriage Missionaries and say they are miserable. Little by little, they have reached the conclusion that they and their children would be better off if they just divorced and moved on. The hurt caused by the constant lying, arguing and disagreements on numerous issues shattered trust. Their communications are shredded, their finances are in shambles due to years of lies, and intimacy no longer exists.
Consider a married couple in crisis and how you might react in the circumstances below.
Ready to call a lawyer, the wife mentions to a good friend her feelings of hopelessness. Her friend listens with empathy and compassionately suggests that she seek counsel from their parish priest.
In the meantime, the husband tells his “best man” why he is ready to leave. This lifelong friend meets regularly with his struggling buddy to listen and help defuse the destruction of their marriage.
The wife’s father, who years before walked his daughter down the aisle, makes a phone call to his son-in-law to say, “We know that you guys are hurting. We are praying for you both.”
Struggling married couples must take courageous steps to seek guidance during troubled times. They need encouragement and the Godly support of the local Catholic community, friends and family members to seek Christ-centered help. May St. John Paul II’s anthem ring in our hearts to “Be Not Afraid” to offer support to family members and friends whose marriages need a boost. Say to them, “Did you know there is a better way?” Jesus was there to calm the storm. May we be an instrument that helps bring peace and helps marriages weather the storms joyfully.
A Prayer for Married Couples
St. John Paul II, through Jesus Christ, pray for all married couples; pray that all of us may call on Jesus Christ and invite him into the center of our marriages. Give us the words to speak to couples who find themselves amidst a storm.