For better or for worse, till death do us part. The proper marriage vow, a decision to unify a lifetime commitment between wife and husband. There are many good marriages out there that have abided by this vow, and they have become heart-warming testimonies of true love. A love that conquered seemingly insurmountable challenges and form the solid foundation of good family life. Children and youths thrive and grow in life to contribute to make the world a better place.
“Your wife like a fruitful vine in the heart of your house; your children like shoots of the olive, around your table. May the Lord bless us all the days of our life.” (Today’s Psalm)
For some though this has become an old-fashioned romantic idea. It is more necessary to enter a prenuptial agreement than to solemnly vow before God to love one another, whatever happens. This love is the complete, mutual giving of oneself to the other, where two shall become one. “As long as we love one another God will live in us, and his love will be complete in us”. (Acclamation)
“This is why a man must leave father and mother, and the two become one body. They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.” (Today’s Gospel)
This vow is far from being a legal agreement but an invitation to God to be present in our marriage. We must surely understand that we cannot control every event that will happen in our shared life. This is an invitation to God in faith that his love will be with us through these many unexpected occurrences. Lasting the course often see adversities turning into joy.
However, one of such unexpected occurrences is that marriages do break up for a variety of unfortunate reasons. Although the commitment is broken between the two, the vow made before the altar of God remains. God remains faithful and does not judge nor condemn. He continues to be present to the couple through the next chapters of their life. Unseen, even misunderstood, his door is never shut.
Marriage is brave commitment, perhaps too brave without the help of God. It demands great human strength to be true to our words. We need that help. It is both spiritual and psychological. This is simplified: It is two people entering a room and closing its door accepting that there is no exit. An option to divorce is to leave that exit door ajar. A prenuptial agreement pushes that opening a little wider. We will always encounter disagreements. It is completely natural. When we are locked in that room with God, we know that working out an agreement is the only way. When we do, our giving to the other increases and love grows. A door ajar can often be the easier way out especially in the midst of anger and hurt. Closing that door should be that prenuptial agreement.
Simplified, yes. Marriage can still be a romantic, fairy tale full of love with a happy ending. Children believe in those. It will happen when we enter marriage innocent and child-like, giving without calculating, not knowing where the exit door is.
“‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. I tell you solemnly, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’”
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time