Fonticulus Fides

Friday, April 02, 2004

Heavy hearts...

My husband and I are troubled to hear that another couple we know is facing serious marriage problems and might not make it.

My husband said, with all the couples he is hearing about who are in crisis, he'd like to punch somebody. Of course, there's nobody to punch. At least, nobody who is punchable. And so prayer must become the only means of defense.

We both have this sense that it's not marriages that are in trouble so much as Marriage, the Sacrament.

We've been married almost ten years, and we've only been Catholic since last Easter. When we got married, we didn't think of marriage as a Sacrament, really. Or maybe we did. Somehow, we had all these ideas about marriage that are exactly what the Church says marriage is supposed to be. Maybe we were just lucky, I guess. I would have thought my brother-in-law and his wife had the same ideas, but that hasn't turned out to be true. Same for this other couple.

My husband and I have faced a lot of trials these past ten years. Money trouble, family trouble, infertility, depression, job stress, lack-of-job stress, his turbulant reunion with his birth mother, spiritual doubt, two unexpected pregnancies (the last two), and so forth. At one point, we vehemently disagreed on where we should be spiritually -- I wanted to become Eastern Orthodox and he wanted to become Anglican. And that's on top of all the little disagreements we've had about how the bed should be made or where the toothbrushes should be stored.

So why are we still together?

The Grace of God, I think. And a goodly portion of forgiveness.

Dare I confess it? Once, before the children were born, we were having a heated argument in the car. My husband decided the discussion was over, whipped into the parking spot behind our duplex, then jumped out of the car and kicked over a trash can. I yelled at him to pick it up but he ignored me, storming into the house. And I -- I can't believe I actually did this -- I lugged that can of trash into the house and dumped it all over him while he sat on the sofa.

He gave me a look filled with such venom, I have never forgotten it. Then he walked out of the house. And I have to tell you, I was pretty sure he was never coming back. Who would come back to a wife that had thrown garbage all over him?

I was sorry -- very, very sorry -- but I didn't know if I would ever get a chance to say so. He did come home, only a few hours later. He said he was only coming back to make plans, collect his things and leave, but he didn't leave. Somehow, he found the grace to forgive me and to keep working at this marriage of ours.

We're two stubborn, strong-willed, opinionated people. On paper, I'm sure the odds would have been far against our contiuing success. But I'm still madly in love with the guy. I thank God for him every day. I would lay down my life for him, and I know he would do the same for me. We're more "together" now than we've ever been before, and I imagine that we'll continue to grow more together as long as we live.

At least, that's what we're working for.

Pray for the hurting couples you know today. Pray for the Sacrament of Marriage. Please.



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