A Day of Romance
Last night I gave a talk to over 80 married couples at Christ the King parish in Dallas, Texas. Here is my talk.
First of all, I would like to thank all the husbands this evening for dragging their wives to this talk on Valentine’s Day. [laughter.]
Well, in order to prepare for this talk, I researched extensively on what others have said about love and marriage. I found on the Internet [laughter.] an article entitled: “Five Reasons Why People Should Get Married.” The first reason just blew me away: “To spend the rest of your life with the person you love.” Oh, boy. That’s not a very good reason at all. We all know what happens when we spend more time with someone. We end up hating them! [laughter.] It’s true! The more you know someone, the less patient, compassionate, understanding and loving you are to them. [laughter and some nodding.]
The second reason why people should get married is supposedly for “Financial Stability.”
So the first reason to get married is to follow your heart. The second is to follow their wallet.
Oh my, I really don’t like these reasons at all.
I think the first and best and only reason why anyone should ever get married is to follow the Lord. I think that sums it up much better.
To follow the Lord means (1) never a dull moment; (2) getting the best out of life; (3) never growing old. Three in one!, just like God.
Go with God. Marriage, like life and love, is a paradox; that is, a truth standing on its head in order to get our attention. Marriage was never meant to be boring. How could it be? It’s a huge challenge. And challenges are never boring.
What makes marriage so great is what makes it so difficult: the vows, the commitment, the trust, the challenges.
Nobody likes a challenge. And we try very hard to avoid them in life. But challenges help us to grow and mature, and they allow us to get the most, the best, out of our life. Taking marriage vows means embracing some of life’s greatest challenges: “For better, for worse. In sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.” Wow! This is a challenge worth taking. It means never a dull moment. Life’s circumstances would never permit it. It means constant growth, personal growth.
It is common knowledge that opposites attract. But what is not very well known is how his strengths are her weaknesses and her strengths are his weaknesses. Once this becomes common knowledge, among the couple, then love is released to grow. Of course, this also means accepting the challenge of acknowledging one’s imperfections. Nobody likes to do this, but once we do…WATCH OUT! There’s no stopping you now.
You’re only going to grow.
Marriage allows us to get the best out of life. It never gets old. It’s constantly changing and challenging us.
When you first started off, you were boyfriend and girlfriend. Then marriage took you to the next level: husband and wife. Then, it brought you to father and mother. Finally, it gave you grandchildren, and you became grandpa and grandma. What else is there to life? What else could be more meaningful, more lovable, more loving, amazing, exciting, enriching and rewarding then that? Our career? Hahahahahahaha!!! Don’t worry. The day after you retire, resign or die, your boss will have a replacement. Life goes on, with or without you.
But through it all; that is, marriage, you never lose anything. You simply continue gaining more and more. You never stop being a husband or wife, father or mother, grandpa or grandma.
You should also never stop being a boyfriend or girlfriend.
I can only think of one negative to getting married, and that is taking your spouse for granted. That is a big danger, for it takes the paradox out of marriage.
The paradox of marriage. As I mentioned before, like life and love, marriage is a paradox. What makes marriage so great is what makes it so difficult: the vows, the challenges and the crosses (i.e. children) we carry throughout our lives. Relationships would be so much easier without commitments, but it would also be less exciting, enriching and rewarding. For example, life would be so much easier without children (Think of all the cars you could buy and all the trips you could take with the money you spent on private Catholic education!), and yet children bring a lot of excitement, adventure and fulfillment to life and marriage.
We just need to remember this. We can’t take them for granted. But what we should never take for granted are our spouses. And far too often we do.
Marriage should never be boring. Holiness should never be boring. It should be all very exciting. We should all be holy and exciting; fashionable and doctrinal; wild and moral; playful and respectful; funny and faithful; crazy and obedient. This is what all the saints are. This is what all spouses should be.
Like life, marriage comes from God, and nothing from God is boring, not even a sunrise or sunset.
P.S. Pope Francis talks language of love with couples on Valentine’s Day.
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