by Ken Rolheiser
June and forever weddings

Your grandfather proposed to me with a piece of candy. We had nothing. He knelt down and told me: I have nothing now, just a piece of candy, but if you want, we can build everything together.

I opened the candy, divided it in two and we ate it. From that moment we divided and shared everything. We fell, we got up and we built. All together. We have experienced difficult moments, tiredness, but we have always been there for each other. Until the last breath.

This grandmother’s message goes on to explain that time does not change the way of loving. Today some no longer have beautiful examples to follow. They are afraid. As soon as they fight, they leave, hoping to find a better situation. 

They buy thousand-dollar rings, over-the-top videos for marriage proposals, and then they miss the moment. With a candy, love and courage, you have what you need for a life together this grandmother says.

I would add we need to consider the sacramental aspect of marriage. Ideally, Marriage is an outward sign, instituted by Jesus Christ to give us grace. Marriage is a commitment made in the Christian community, in the presence of God.

In “Everyday life as a Sacrament”, author Ron Rolheiser says: “For Christians, ultimately, the whole world is holy and everything in it, especially the physical, is potential material for sacrament.” Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit; the food we eat is sacramental, and in our work and in our sexual embrace we are co-creators with God.

God’s entry into the physical world makes everything potentially sacramental. We are standing on holy ground. We can use prayer to reconnect our actions of eating, working, and making love to their sacred origins, Father Rolheiser says.

Every marriage is extraordinary, a sacrament. God’s blessings and power supply the grace which is there for the asking. How is this possible? In Bosnia there is a divorce free city of 26,000. In the collective memory of all there has never been a single divorce among the Croatian Catholics of the city.” 

Through the blessings of Holy Mother Church, the marriage is united to the Cross of Christ. During the wedding ceremony, the priest says, “You have found your cross! It is a cross that you must love and take with you every day of your lives.” 

After kissing the cross, the spouses enthrone it in a place of honor in their homes. “During their married lives the couple finds strength by praying together before the crucifix they held together during the wedding ceremony.”

We can build the faith in the family unit, the domestic church, with the rituals of family prayer that strengthen and protect the faith. The family that prays together, stays together. And it is worth it. Married people report the highest levels of well-being, whether happily married or not.

Even two-thirds of unhappily married spouses who stayed married reported that their marriages improved within five years. In unhappy marriages, almost eight out of ten who avoided divorce were happily married five years later.

The secret to a happy marriage is out. World Wide Marriage Encounter reports: “If the couple is married in church and continues to go to church, only one in fifty fails; but where the couple is married in church, continues to go to church and has a prayer life together, the failure is one in one thousand and five.

(577 words)