by Ken Rolheiser
The secret of a successful marriage

    A husband says, “I’m sorry dear, I wasn’t listening. Can you repeat everything you said after we were married?”
    The summer wedding season is upon us with a little more promise of post Covid-19 freedom. If you have ever been in love, you know the depth of feeling, the passion. You would be willing to give your life for your lover. Just hold that thought.
    In the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder the stage manager says to the audience that “m” marries “n”. There are many marriages. Once in 10,000 times it is interesting.
    Behind the apparent callous remark about the insignificance of the 9,999 marriages, there is a special message for the one in 10,000. I would even go farther and say one in a million. If you are not prepared to make your marriage one in a million, it won’t be.
    There is hope for the survival of great marriages. On Valentine’s Day 2011 United Families International released these reassuring statistics:
    Fifty percent of ALL marriages do end in divorce, but more than 70 percent of all first marriages succeed. Seventy percent of all people who have ever been married are still married to the same person! It is the lack of success of those who marry more than once that drives the overall statistic.
    Married people are more likely than those who are not married to be very happy. Forty-three percent of people who say they are very happy are married, whereas only twenty-four percent of unmarried people say they are very happy.
    People who are married report the highest levels of well-being, regardless of whether they are happily married or not.
    The greatest guarantee for success in marriage comes from a long-time participant in World Wide Marriage Encounter Father Wendelin Rolheiser who said, “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 1005.”
    My wife and I are strong believers that as long as we stand together before the altar of God on Sunday morning, our marriage will succeed. My personal challenge to those getting married has always been to make their marriage one in ten thousand.
    I have shared the story of the divorce-free city of Siroki-Brijeg, Bosnia. There has not been one divorce in the Catholic population of this city of 26,000. How is this possible?
    During their married life, the spouses find strength by praying together before the crucifix they held together during the religious wedding ceremony where the priest blesses the crucifix, places the bride’s right hand upon that of the groom, and covers them with a stole.     The couple then makes their vows with their hands clasping the crucifix.
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. Know how to appreciate it.”
    After kissing the cross, the spouses enthrone it in a place of honor in their homes, showing their profound belief that a family must be born of the cross. In difficult times or trials the couple kneels before the crucifix to ask for strength. Our Lord’s yoke “is easy, and his burden, light.” (Matthew 11:30).

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