BEGINNING YOUR MARRIAGE, 1957, BY THE CANA CONFERENCE OF CHICAGO
“Why do you want to get married?”
“Because we are in love, of course!”
“Of course! But just what are you looking forward to in marriage?”
“Yes, that makes sense. Now tell me, how would you define happiness? What does it mean to you?”
“Mm, that’s not so easy to answer!”
“All right, let’s take just your happiness in marriage. What do you expect? Have you thought very much about what it means to you?”
“Well, it means that somebody loves me more than anybody else in the world–and I feel the same about that person. It means we are going to form a special partnership, a ‘twosome,’ with a unity and ‘oneness’ in which there will be affection, companionship, security, mutual understanding and support.
It means we feel a need for each other, a desire to give ourselves to each other as man and woman. It means we want to go through life together, sharing its joys and its hardships. It means we feel we’re ‘good’ for each other in the sense that together we can better realize our purpose in life as we see it.”
Most people about to get married have something like this in mind. They want to get married because they are in love. They expect that life together will bring them happiness. But there is something very special about love and happiness in marriage.
Whether you think about it or not, marriage is for children. The partnership you are about to form is reproductive. The love which draws you together as man and woman is necessarily creative. The happiness you hope for is family happiness, the happiness of parenthood. Babies may not be uppermost in your thinking right now, yet normal marriage means children.
In marriage you dedicate yourself to the service of new life. Your love and happiness are so important because only if you love each other and are happy together can you provide the kind of home which children need.
This dedication to a purpose which extends beyond yourselves is not a loss but a natural fulfillment. Married love means dedication. Like all love, it grows through giving.
There is truth in the old saying that “marriage is what you make it,” but to make anything you must first understand what it is. If you are as wise as you are willing, you will want to spend some time thinking about what makes marriage a success. Because getting married is so “natural,” it is easy to assume that we know what married life implies. The crowds at our divorce courts suggest that this may not be the case.
The degree of love and happiness you find in marriage will depend upon how successful you are as marriage partners.
MARRIAGE is a way of life. It is not your final purpose in life, nor the only way to achieve this final purpose. Although it is a way of life followed by most people, marriage is only one way.
When you enter marriage, then, you freely choose the way of life you wish to follow in attaining your final purpose. Hence, to get the right view of marriage, to understand its place in your lives, you must first understand the purpose of life itself.
A way of life has meaning only if it leads somewhere. Marriage is a good way to the extent that it helps you fulfill the purpose for which you were made.
Now that you are approaching marriage, you are in a better position to recognize the connection between the purpose of life and the purpose of marriage. To see the full picture, we must consider our origin, our nature, and our destiny.
We are not our own makers. We have not come into existence through some accident of evolution. In the beginning, God created man. Although we do not know how He did this, we are certain of the fact.
We know also that at the time of conception in our mother’s womb, God created our immortal souls. We come from God. Further, we depend on Him for our existence at every moment. Our dependence is so complete that if God did not constantly sustain us, we would simply cease to exist.
It is easy to forget our dependence on God in this modern, man-made world. Yet experience tells us that whenever we come face to face with the stark realities of suffering, sorrow, and death, we quickly realize our helplessness and our weakness. We are all in the hands of God.
He has breathed an immortal soul into each of us. He has fashioned our human nature according to His divine plan. Even if we try, we cannot undo this basic dependence upon Him.
Further, the God who created us is infinitely wise and infinitely good. He must have made us for a purpose. This purpose is our happiness with Him.
Because He has fashioned our hearts with a desire for infinite happiness, we can find fulfillment and peace only in Him. All other things which give us happiness are reflections of His goodness and beauty. They are meant to lead us to Him.
Our human loves, wonderful as they may seem, are short-lived and shallow unless they are rooted in Him.
Marriage is a life partnership. Your love must be such that it fits into the meaning of life or it cannot last.
Marriage is a life companionship. The happiness which you seek from your togetherness can be satisfying and enduring only to the extent that you are really “good” for each other, that is, only to the extent that you support and help each other in attaining that happiness for which you were created.
It is easy in your new-found love to separate marriage from the purpose of life. But marriage is only a way of life. As a way, it has meaning only in terms of its destination. Either it will offer you an opportunity for the growth and development of yourselves as followers of Christ, or it will prove an empty, frustrating experience.
There are many types of “love” and “happiness” between the sexes. Some are shallow, some are counterfeit, and some are little more than thinly disguised selfishness. True love and happiness are rooted in life. They are developmental. They are aids to personal perfection, not distractions or positive hindrances.
In this special month dedicated to Our Lady and her Rosary, let us keep the Blessed Mother’s statue or her picture in the living room daily decorated with fresh flowers and candles.
We can add one or the other prayer, mornings and nights, such as the “Salve Regina “or the “Memorare” or the “Magnificat.” It is traditional throughout the Catholic world to sing hymns in honor of Mary the Mother of God. -Maria von Trapp http://amzn.to/2xI9Osf (afflink)
These lovely ladder rosaries have a chain running on both sides of each of the beads. This has a beautiful look to it and also makes the rosary more durable than a regular rosary.
You will be happy to pray on these beautiful rosaries! 🙂