Recently, I had the joyful opportunity of attending the wedding Mass of my son’s teacher and her (now) husband. It had been a long time since I attended a Nuptial Mass, because I have been out of the wedding season for a while. You know, the season where everyone you know seems to be getting married?
Typically, the wedding season is followed by the baby shower season. After being married for more than twenty years, I am now in the high school graduation season. But that’s a story for another day.
At this beautiful wedding, which occurred in the midst of the Christmas Octave, my thoughts naturally reflected back to the day when I walked down the aisle to join my husband in Holy Matrimony. Time is funny, because I got married a long time ago: twenty-one years at the time of writing this blog post. And yet, there are many days when it seems like it was yesterday.
Questions Worth Contemplating
- How have twenty years gone by in a flash?
- How are things so different and still the same simultaneously?
- If a young bride asked me what I’ve learned in the last twenty years, what would I say to her? More importantly, what will I say to my own daughters, as they enter young womanhood?
- Contemplating these questions prompted me to really consider what the Lord has been teaching me throughout my two decades of marriage: about myself, about relationship, about openness to life, about surrendering to His will.
- What have I gotten right? What lessons still need quite a bit of work?
Seven Lessons I’ve Learned in Marriage
Below are seven lessons I have learned (or am still learning) in my twenty-one years of marriage.
It’s Good to Not Know //
When I stood in St. Olaf Catholic Church, facing my husband and professing my vows to him and to God, I had no idea what I was getting into. And that was a very good thing.
My marriage has been beautiful and blessed, but it also has included the unexpected and seemingly impossible.
Because of this, I am grateful that God chooses to reveal His plans to us gradually, rather than all at once. He unfolds and reveals various circumstances slowly and carefully. He gives and takes away, but He prepares us in ways that allow us to accept and endure.
This has taught me to open my heart wider and trust Him more fully. This has shown me how carefully He cares for me, my husband, and our family, in everything that has come our way.
Be His Ideal Wife //
Early on in my marriage, I felt like I would never live up to the wife described in Proverbs 31. I feared disappointing my husband with my shortcomings. But over time, I realized that my husband did not choose the ideal wife; he chose his ideal wife.
He chose me, because he loved me.
In me, he saw the best woman to help him to Heaven: “… the heart of [my] husband trusts in [me]” (Proverbs 31:11). And this realization allowed me to see Proverbs 31 in a new light: as a passage that encourages me to strive to be the best version of myself.
I may not spin wool or buy fields. But in my own unique way, I look well to the ways of my household, open my mouth in wisdom, and strive to be a woman who fears the Lord.
Trust God’s Plan for Marriage //
Ephesians 5:21-33 often receives a bad rap. However, it is a beautiful meditation on God’s divine plan for marriage. It invites us to rise above our cloudy judgments and misconceptions and strive to put on the mind of Christ (see Philippians 2:5). And when we do, we realize God’s plan for marriage asks both husband and wife to “be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Loving and respecting one another with the same love and respect Christ has for us. Is this easy? No. But God’s plan is always the ideal one, worth seeking and fulfilling.
Tough Times are Better Together //
On the hardest day of my life, the birthdate of our twins, I needed an emergency cesarean for my daughter. (My son was already born.)
As activity swirled around me, my husband remained as steady and strong as a rock. I can’t imagine enduring that day without him.
Throughout the years, we have been through so much—joy and sorrow, plans and surprises, peace and uncertainty, health and illness, life and death—and everything is better with him by my side.
My Husband is More Important Than My Children //
This lesson is easy to accept in theory, but it is much more difficult to practice. And yet, it is essential. And when it is compromised, nothing seems to run smoothly, and I get hung up on trivial things.
That is why my husband and I constantly have to remember to kiss each other goodnight, go on dates, and plan getaways. Sometimes, we are better at this than others, but we agree that it is vital to constantly work on this—not only for our marriage, but for our children, too.
Spend Time Reminiscing //
What sparked interest in my husband all those years ago? How did we fall in love? What was it like when we would talk on the phone for hours, getting to know each other?
Every now and then, it is important to reminisce, to look at old photos, to visit that favorite restaurant, or even talk on the phone when one of us is out of town.
These things renew the spark and keep us lighthearted, especially when life feels overwhelming and busy.
Listen to Mary //
Faith has been the foundation of our marriage, and over time, our devotion to Mary has grown to be a vital part of it, too.
In John 2:1-2, we hear about a wedding, and “the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.” This passage teaches us the importance of inviting Jesus and Mary into our marriage. It also encourages us to listen to Our Blessed Mother, because she always points us to her Son: “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5).
This lesson has helped us trust the Lord during difficult times, and it has invited us to join in Mary’s Magnificat when our prayers are answered.
What lessons have you learned in your marriage? What treasured wisdom can you share with us?
This was originally published on the Blessed Is She blog.