Marriages are usually not ruined overnight. One or the other usually does not wake up one morning and say, “I am miserable in this marriage and I want a divorce.” It occurs little by little over time. Little by little, we can begin to avoid certain topics of conversation (since the last time that topic came up, it led to a fight). Little by little, we disagree on how to handle disciplining the children. Little by little, we argue over finances, whether to change jobs, sex, household chores, the kids, love, respect; the list goes on. Little by little, our hearts become hardened and our minds start wandering to thoughts of, “I don’t know why I married this person. I don’t deserve to live like this. I wonder what life would be like if things were different?”
What I think most couples do not realize is that we all struggle with many of the same topics, maybe to varying degrees. We look at the other couples in the pews and think, “They are so happy; what is wrong with us?”
Just because we are in full-time Marriage Missionaries work doesn’t mean that we have it all figured out and neither do most couples that we know. Our world tells us that we should have the perfect job, the perfect spouse, the amazing children; and what happens is a little curve in the road comes upon us and it blows our perfect plan to pieces. Sharing our curves in the road with other couples who have been there; seeking their wisdom and guidance can help minimize the damage.
Our origin as man, male and female, is from a communion of persons; the blessed Trinity Father Son and Holy Spirit. As husband and wife we are made for communion and our destiny is the communion of Saints where we will be in joyous communion with God for eternity. Consider looking around at your community and pray about having a group of couples coming together on a regular basis, to share hospitality and the beauty of our faith. Sharing both our struggles and joys, gaining confidence with each other so as to build each other up as married couples raising Godly children and grandchildren.
Somehow God works through the struggles. When our younger four children were ages 10, 9, 7 and a newborn, it was quite the task getting ourselves and the other three children up and ready for 8:30 Mass, but especially the younger four. I always woke them in what I felt was plenty of time to go to the bathroom, get dressed, brush their teeth, fix their hair, get shoes tied and loaded in the SUV. Five minutes before it was time to leave, Katie was missing a shoe, Julianna still had her PJs on and Joseph thought this would be the perfect time to work on his jump shot on the indoor plastic basketball hoop. Things escalated and the yelling started; such as “Hurry up, we are going to be late” or “Stop touching your brother,” “Leave her alone!”; “Do that one more time……”
Somehow we made it to Mass with a couple of minutes to spare; filed in the pew in the correct order (certain children can’t sit by certain children….. if you know what I mean); I took a deep breath, tried to appear as though all was wonderful, knelt down to pray, when the usher walked up to us, leaned over and said, “You guys look like the perfect family to bring up the gifts.” (“You have got to be kidding me” was the thought I had in my mind.) But instead, we smiled and said, “Sure, we would be glad to.”