In my line of work, I attend a lot of weddings. After all, my job involves preparing couples for the Sacrament of Matrimony. Each engaged couple is unique in their story. How they met, their family of origin, past relationships, and the baggage acquired thus far play a part in how they view and live out their vows. Some have storybook beginnings. Others, after cohabitating, decide marriage is the next step. Still, others know they want a committed relationship after moving past a bad relationship. They all have in common the desire to find happiness and fulfillment in a life-long marriage. They believe this is the very person in which it is possible.
After a recent wedding, I was racking my brain, hoping to remember if we were given any sage words of wisdom at our Nuptial Mass over 42 years ago. Nothing came to mind. I give you this disclaimer; however, I barely remember what day of the week it is or what tomorrow brings without first consulting my calendar. With that said, I thought it would be a great little walk down memory lane to see if anyone else received useful or not so helpful information on that blessed first day of the rest of their lives together. (Share below, please)
We recently offered a mini marriage retreat at the parish, and one of the sessions had us break into separate groups as husbands and wives. This proved to be very eye-opening and helpful. One woman opened up by stating that the “worst advice” they ever received on their wedding day was, “Don’t ever go to bed angry at one another.” She went on to say, “that advice almost cost us our marriage.” Many women agreed with her, including me. How is arguing into the night a worthwhile endeavor as sleep-deprived and angry are a dangerous combination? I recall teaching a marriage class to engaged couples a few years ago, and my husband proudly stood there and confidently proclaimed, “we’ve never gone to bed angry in over forty years.” If the shocked look on my face didn’t say it all, what came out of my mouth clarified. I stared at him in disbelief at such a ludicrous statement in front of sixty strangers and flatly replied, “Perhaps you may have never gone to bed angry, but there were times that I sure did!”
Other poor advice includes something about the woman always being right. We are not. Any marriage built on that selfishness is not a partnership.
The kind of marriage preparation our couples receive is invaluable. Had we had the same in-depth opportunity, it would have saved us years of misunderstandings and miscommunication. We really are wired so differently as men and women. Gasp! There’s a difference between men and women? Ignoring that crucial component in your partnership for life will likely play a part in many disagreements. It took me over thirty-five years to realize that Mark could not read my mind and did not know without being asked what I needed to be done. Women are more apt to look around the home and quickly conclude the necessary tasks that require attention.
On the other hand, changing the oil, keeping the license plate tags up to date, and a balanced checkbook came quickly to Mark. None of those things even register a blip on my radar screen. I have come to rely entirely on him in these areas of our marriage. There is a beautiful complementarity in the differences between the sexes.
So back to my original question. What advice, helpful or unhelpful, did you receive on your wedding day or since that has helped your marriage thrive? I invite you to please share with us that we can benefit from this wisdom.
I leave you with this gem we had to learn the hard way. Love does not quit, measure or keep track. It is patient and forgiving and keeps on giving, even if it is the only one doing so for a time.
I welcome your marriage wisdom.