Marriage

Let's look at the option of the Vocation to Marriage.

Marriage is a way of life through which a person lives out his/her Baptismal Commitment.

So we are talking here about Christian Marriage. This commitment is just as demanding (maybe even more so!) than religious life...but the demands are different!



The first step is to ask yourself "is married life where I can best be my true self?" 

A piece of wisdom to ponder is that a wedding is an event; while a marriage is a process (a way of life).

Within our Catholic Tradition the Sacrament of Marriage is one that is ministered, not by the priest, but by the couple to each other.

 

 

What is involved in a Christian Marriage?

Christ: It is important that Christ is the third person long before there are children. The couple need to work at their relationship with Jesus Christ, not just individually but as a couple. So praying together in their home and in the community is vital.

Am I ready and willing to make the effort to pray with my spouse both privately in our home and publicly at the celebration of the Eucharist each week?

Am I committed to bring up any children in the footsteps of Jesus, not just by words but by the way I live and act?

 

Togetherness: In marriage I am no longer just an individual. I am part of "two becoming one". It is a known fact that you must be able to love yourself before you can have a mature love for another. This is not the selfish love of a child but the growing unconditional love that Christ speaks of. You need to really believe that you are lovable.

Am I happy about who I am?

Am I able to spend time comfortably with another person, to do things together, to go places together, to plan holidays together? (this does not mean that there is no place for the individual, or space and time for being along, but MOSTLY it is about togetherness.)

Can I be me and still be in  relationship with you?

 

Love and respect: Life has its up and downs. There will be times when all goes well and time when things are pretty low. All marriages have rocky spells. It is in such times that the couple have to work hard at being married.

Am I willing and able to work with another on most things?

Am I able to name my needs and wants in an adult way?

Am I willing to let go some of my own wants and desires to adjust to the needs of my spouse?

Am I willing and able to put myself and my needs in second place if this is needed?

Am I ready to acknowledge that I may be wrong?

Am I willing to change my behaviour to accommodate my spouse?

Can I say sorry and mean it? 

Trust and fidelity: "For the rest of my life...." Those who take vows as Religious have a number of years before they make the promise. "For the rest of my life". Married couples make this promise on their wedding day. Fidelity implies being true to who you say you are. You do not keep part of your life hidden from your spouse. Fidelity is not limited to sexual fidelity. it is much more. It is about the ability to let the other know who you really are and not pretending. It is about being true to your best self as well as to your spouse.

Am I able to be hones in what I say and do?

Do I tell lies to get out of predicaments, to save face, to make myself look good?

Am I willing to acknowledge my faults and failings to myself first as well as to my spouse?

Am I willing to work on these areas of my life that are underdeveloped, immature or annoying to my spouse?

Children: These are part of a Christian marriage. Children do not detract from the love of the spouses. But children do demand time and energy. Parenting needs to be done as a unit. Rules that you decided together need to be adhered too

 

Am I able to stick to the rules?

Have I the ability to say 'no' to another?

Can I cope with conflict and anger in a mature way?

Am I ready to be the first educator of the faith for my children?

 

Naturally there is a lot more to marriage than what is listed here. But if you believe that God is calling you to such a way of life then look at how you answered the questions. If you have a lot of "no's" in your responses to the questions, you need to seriously ask yourself if you are ready for marriage. If you have only a few "no's" then, seek some help to enable you to grow in those areas. All of us need to grow in some areas of our lives.  Remember you will not change much after marriage and neither will your partner.

Do you have someone in mind?

If you are disagreeing on a lot of issues, if one person is just agreeing with the other, if one person is really dominant, then face the fact that you too may not be meant to marry each other. Find someone more compatible! If you can't, then ask yourself if marriage is really for you. Information on the website: For Your Marriage might be useful.  You might also like to reflect on the question:  Is God calling you elsewhere?

If you feel you do get on but you are not sure if this person is the right one for you, remember that Faith is part of marriage just as it is part of religious life. You will never be absolutely certain. But believe in yourself, trust in your discernment and believe in the other. Then just do it! It is an act of faith in God's call for you.

Catholic Vocations Ministry Australia © 2017