by Ken Rolheiser
Wedding thoughts for the long haul

After putting her children to bed, a mother changed into old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. At last she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she heard her three-year-old say with a trembling voice, "Who was that?"

In an internet story a man asks his wife for a divorce. He has lost his heart to Jane, and ignores all other consequences. At first his wife is silent, then there is the expected outburst.

He draws up an amicable divorce settlement where she gets the house, the car and 30% of his business. She tears up the paper. The next day she makes this proposal: she doesn’t want anything, but needs a month’s notice before the divorce. She requests that in that one month they both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons are simple: their son has his exams in a month’s time and she doesn’t want to disrupt him with their broken marriage.

This was agreeable to the husband, who continues this story: “But she had something more; she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day. She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

“When I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don’t tell our son about the divorce.”

One morning as his wife is trying to decide what to wear, he notices that she has lost a lot of weight. He thinks that maybe he is just getting used to carrying her. As his wife leans on his chest he starts to notice things. First it’s the wrinkles, then the graying hair. A sense of intimacy returns. She had given ten years of her life to him. 

A strong bond reasserts itself and the man makes a resolve. He drives to the office and breaks up with Jane. He picks up some flowers and the floral shop lady asks what message he wants to include. He says, “I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us part.” At day’s end he returns home to find his wife dead. She had been dying of cancer.

To all those married or contemplating marriage this year I will leave this simple advice in a short blessing written by Emily Jennings:

Here’s to the home that ___N___  and __N__ shall build.
It shall have a kitchen on the first floor,
A bar on the second floor,
A bedroom on the third floor,
And a cathedral on the fourth.

So they can eat when they are hungry,
drink when they are dry,
make love when they are lonely,
and have salvation when they die.

The message the cathedral conveys is simply: the family that prays together stays together.

(580 words)