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“Strong marriages—marriages in which a man and a woman stay together for their entire lives—are good for society as well as for the couple themselves. They serve as examples to the community of the virtues of love, fidelity, and perseverance. They demonstrate the capacity of the human being to live up to his or her promises.” — Made for a Reason Retreat Day Six—Marriage: Made for the Common Good
I see Susan Quinn has beat me to the topic of marriage today, and that we share a wedding anniversary. My husband and I have been married 32 years today, slightly more than half my life. I’ll go ahead and publish this post and make this wedding reflection day on Ricochet.
In casting about for an appropriate quote on marriage, I came upon many that would work well on a greeting card or in a stand-up routine but didn’t offer any useful insight. I saw the one above on a website focused on Catholic marriage and was struck by the fact that we talk a lot about love these days, but not so much about fidelity, perseverance, and promises. The latter are at least as important for a long and happy marriage, but they’re not exactly sexy, and they go against the obsession with individual desire and destiny that so many consider the greatest good for society these days.
My daughter is now at an age when marriage is much on her mind but feels like something that may never happen for her. She’s yet to take that step that I think is crucial in finding your partner in life, where you move past crushing on the most handsome and the most sparkling and seek out your personal puzzle piece, the one that just fits, someone with whom you can imagine not only love but fidelity and perseverance.
It’s particularly hard to make that transition in a culture that looks down on compromise and commitment. Babies are such an imposition that they should be killed before they ruin their mother’s lives. Celebrity marriages fall apart spectacularly for our entertainment. Sexuality and gender are so fluid that relationships can surely only be transitory, since both partners might shape-shift into something else tomorrow.
Add all this to the ordinary angst about finding the right one, and I can see how it would be easy to just opt out. I hope my daughter doesn’t—and if she does, it won’t be for lack of me nagging her to get out there! meet people! Amazon Prime is not going to deliver a husband! I hope her dad and I have been a good model for the happiness and satisfaction of one of those strong marriages, and not just a source of embarrassing PDAs.
Beyond that, I pray that we will once again get to that place where society values examples of love, fidelity, perseverance, and promise-keeping. And I thank God that I am no longer in that life phase of finding and well into the phase of being found.Published in