Getting to Know You: You Are The Love of My Life
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You Are The Love Of My Life- Dedicated to the new couple KC Concepcion and Piolo Pascual.
Congratulations on your engagement! Marriage, one of the biggest steps a person can even take, involves many changes and challenges. The path to a happy marriage requires preparation, openness and time. Marriage is…
- A spiritual union between a man and a woman before God.
- A journey through which couples can grow closer to one another and to God.
- A sacred promise of fidelity and loyalty.
- A personal commitment on many levels.
- A religious ceremony.
- A sexual union.
- A family-making bond.
- A financial partnership.
Since marriage is both a multidimensional bond and lifetime commitment, engagement is the opportunity to contemplate and prepare for this monumental event.
It Takes Work
The saying, “success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration,” is certainly true of a successful marriage. While mutual attraction plays a part, hard work, based on in-depth and frequent communication, is vital.
Delwin and Shelly used their engagement as a springboard for discussion. “Communication has definitely ‘stepped up’ for us, both due to necessity and from our conscious efforts to get to know each other,” says Shelly.
When Kathy Salvia reflects on the period before her now 24-year marriage to her husband John, she remembers that “from a spiritual perspective, being engaged means preparing to leave my home as I knew it and begin a journey with a man I loved… committing myself to him for the rest of my life and eternity.”
Engage couples need to prepare for a marriage, not just a wedding. Before saying “I do,” they need time to acknowledge the challenges of marriage and to prepare for them. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Eph 5:31).
Prepare for the Journey
The mysths of “happily-ever-after” or “love conquers all” can fade quickly after the wedding. The success of a marriage depends on how well the couple deals with such issues as: spirituality, religion, finances, sexuality, communication, conflict, parenting, in-laws, work, leisure time, families and friends, and expectations. So they need to start before the ceremony.
This is the time for couples to pursue the truth about each other – and themselves. Just as it is unrealistic to believe you can change your partner once you’re married, it’s equally important to avoid unrealistic expectations about yourself.
Said one man, “I thought being engaged meant getting to know my future wife. After we were married, I realized I hadn’t spent enough time getting to know myself.” Jennifer and Mark, a couple who sought marriage-preparation counselling, said “the most important thing we got out of (the counseling process) was that it’s okay that we’re not perfect.”
With any journey, there may be problems. But, the power of prayer and forgiveness is immeasurable.
Talk Together, Grow Together
Some couples feel a strong foundation from the start. In his book, A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken tells of his engagement and marriage to his beloved wife Jean, “We realized that our initial ‘fit’ had been quite close, but still, the process of becoming one was not without squeaks and howls, especially since we were both strong.”
During their engagement couples can develop their clear and comprehensive understanding of each person’s expectations, hopes and plans for marriage.
In his book, When Strangers Marry, Albert McDonnell writes that one of the major problems for couples who were considering annulment was a lack of intimacy. He found that “their period of engagement did not lead to more discussion or the deepening of their relationship prior to marriage.”
This reinforces the importance of a working engagement, since true intimacy is rooted in mutual honesty, openness and respect. In fact, studies on marriage indicate that the factors that precipitate the breakdown of a marriage were often present during the engagement. That’s a good reason to put communication at the top of the “to do” list: “Communication must begin with knowing that you are safe to share your feelings,” says one married man about his engagement to his wife of over 40 years. “We knew that we could discuss the negative, too; that often promotes the most growth.””A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt everyday” (Andre Maurois).
A Higher Calling
While a wedding last one day, a marriage is meant for a lifetime. The magnitude of this commitment includes its spiritual significance. Karen Manning sees the spiritual mission of marriage in the simple fact that two people form a union, and often, grow into a family. “I love the thought that God calls us into union with Him,” she says. “How we use our bodies in marriage is a tangible expression of the self-giving that brings us into union with God.”
Couples who travels together in faith discover that it makes everything else about marriage better – and life’s problems are less overwhelming. “I cannot imagine our marriage without spirituality,” Says Dick Mattan. “I doubt we would have made it through raising eight kids if it were not such a big part of our marriage. Before I married her, I prayed for my wife-to-be. When we married, I cherished Joyce as a gift from God. Now we pray together.” And “since we recognize that God is in control, we manage to forgive each other, and not dwell on blame.”
When a husband and wife experience God together on the deepest levels, spiritual intimacy provides a satisfying connectedness.
Rose Allen McCauley recalls that while her husband was in the Air Force, “Every day, we read our Bibles and prayed at the same time… Even though we were separated physically by 12,000 miles, we were joined spiritually.”
Two May Become One…
The unity and new creation that is formed when two become one is indisputable. However, the need to maintain and respect each other’s – and one’s own – individuality is also vital to developing intimacy.
According to Deb and Steve Hentges, one of the biggest challenges they faced preparing for and embarking on what is now their 15-year marriage was defining themselves as individuals. “There was a lot of negotiating and compromising about how our everyday life together would play out,” Deb Hentges admits.
“Marriage is holy not only because it is a precious and revered way of forming human lives, but also because it is … a special way in which spirituality pours into life” (Thomas Moore).
It takes more than talking about how to foster independence and interdependence in the upcoming marriage. Prayer and reliance on God is essential.
“The self-confidence necessary for such revelation comes with knowing that God’s lvoe always supports us when our hearts are open to receive it,” says therapist Martha Beveridge.
“Calling upon our spiritual resources helps us nurture and accept ourselves,” she continues. “Having a sense of conneciton with a reality that is greater than your immediate circumstances seems to provide an inner strength that will support you when things are difficult with your partner.”
Couples may benefit from viewing their upcoming marriage as the beginning of a lifelong process, not the end of an engagement. Alison and Bocar Kane viewed their engagement and eventual marriage as a lifetime of discovery, understanding and awareness. “When we first me, neither one of us spoke the same language fluently,” explains Alison. “We could ‘get by’ at first, but as our relationship deepened, we spent a great deal of time and conscious effort learning about one another.”
The Kanes did not share the same religion either. “We discussed this topic extensively during our engagement,” she says. “We both had to learn to understand the views of the other person.”
Alison Kane believes that their engagement period “helped us prepare ourselves for the major life change that was coming,” she says.
For all of its challenges, marriage remains something wonderful and awe-inspiring in the human experience. In her book, Men and Women are from Eden, Mary Healy states, “Human freedom finds its deepest realization in the marriage covenant. The world tells us that freedom means avoiding all commitment, but the truth is the opposite! True freedom is the ability to unite your whole being in choosing what is good, without any restraint.”
“Lord, inspire those men and women who desire to bear the titles “Husband” and “Wife.” Help them to look to You, to themselves and to one another to discover the fullness and mystery of their union. Help them, together, to examine their commitment in the light of Your love – willingly, openly, compassionately. Help them together, to believe how fragile, yet powerful – how weak, yet how strong – how impossible, yet attainable – their love can be.”
Promises and Problems
Counselling and programs specifically for engaged couples are available through churches or other community organizations. These can help men and womenf ace the reality of married life. Some couples decide that although they may love each other, they are not ready to get married. It is better to put things on hold than to go ahead when one or both parties are unsure.
Although breaking an engagement or delaying a wedding is difficult, it is less painful to call off the wedding now than to seek an annulment or file for divorce later. Take the time to pray and to seek the advice and counsel you need to discover the path God has in mind for you, whatever it may be.
“To Do” List for Engaged Couples
Most marriage experts agree that taking a “marriage inventory” before the wedding ceremony is essential.
Consider the following questions to prompt deeper discussions:
- Why are we getting married?
- As a couple, what do we want out of life?
- What do the roles of husband and wife mean?
- What are our expectations about physical, psychological and spiritual intimacy?
- What were our childhoods like?
- How do we relate to family and friends?
- How are we going to divide up household chores?
- How do our work and careers fit into our marriage?
- What are our spending and saving habits?
- Do we want to have children if possible?
- Does religion play an important part of our lives?
- What are our images of God?
(Source: Christopher News Notes No. 482, 5 Hanover Square, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10004; www.christophers.org ).
Read the Other Related Articles, please click the links below:
- The Vocation of Marriage: http://foryourmarriage.org/the-vocation-of-marriage/
- Marriage as a Covenant: http://foryourmarriage.org/marriage-as-covenant/
- Why are Married Parents are Important to Children?: http://foryourmarriage.org/married-parents-are-important-for-children/
- Do Children Really Make a Marriage Less Happy?: http://foryourmarriage.org/do-children-really-make-a-marriage-less-happy/
- Marriage: The Later Years: http://foryourmarriage.org/marriage-the-later-years/
- Humility: Foundation for Marital Happiness: http://foryourmarriage.org/humility-foundation-for-marital-happiness/
- Gratitude: Foundation for Marriage: http://foryourmarriage.org/virtue-of-gratitude/
- In Marriage: Four Elements of Conflict Resolution: http://foryourmarriage.org/four-elements-of-conflict-resolution/
- Overcoming Obstacles on Pornography: http://foryourmarriage.org/everymarriage/overcoming-obstacles/pornography/
- Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and Marriage. To watch, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2273
- Please click this link: The True Meaning of Marriage
Here-under are some articles about marriage for you to read or watch:
- Getting to know you, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=284
- Be Positive, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=288
- Love and Marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=292
- Endless Love – Marriage after all, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=294
- Say it with love, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=298
- Quality family moments, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=300
- Secret of successful marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=302
- The vocation of marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1968
- Marriage as Covenant, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1974
- Humility: Foundation for Marital Happiness, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1986
- Gratitude: Foundation for marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1980
- True Meaning of marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1972
- Marriage and incompatibility, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2112
- Love is a garden, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2116
- Three kinds of love, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2095
“God himself is the author of marriage” (GS 48:1). The vocation of marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes (CCC:1603)