I am joining along with the other bloggers on From Mrs. to Mama on the topic of marriage.
In today's age, marriage is hot topic. As a lawyer who does pro bono domestic relations cases for a volunteer lawyer organization, I struggle with assisting others in terminating what should be a lifetime commitment. All too often, my clients unfortunately have very real reasons for seeking a dissolution of marriage.
Unfortunately, when people bring up marriage as a sacrament, many people respond that marriage is no longer important. Celebrity marriages that, despite television cameras and lavish events, are seen as a temporal situation. Marriages can be celebrated in a drive-thru or a cemetery.
Horn and I dated for FIVE, yes 5, years before he proposed. We married 6 years after our first date. When Horn (or I) mention this when he (I) teach the chapter in our Ethics book on marriage and family, most of our students are shocked. He (I) frequently hear comments about how they would never put up with that; you should be ready to commit after a year.
Our relationship weathered more than a few storms before Horn decided that he was ready to marry. He had unresolved issues with an ex-girlfriend. It killed me to support him through it but he and I needed to have that put to rest before he could more forward.
Horn became terribly ill in 2006. He suffered from debilitating cluster headaches, often called suicide headaches because apparently all you want to do is carve out the part of your head that is causing you pain. Luckily, after 5 months, a doctor finally realized that he was a diabetic and the headaches were caused by excessive triglycerides that were a result from his liver overworking with his pancreas to control his insulin levels. Because his liver wasn't working to decrease his triglycerides, they were literally popping out along his joints (xanthomas) and causing blockage of blood vessels near his trigeminal nerve. His mother blamed me.
These are just two turning points in our relationship that we worked through. We made a choice to work together and overcome doubts and fears together. Each day, we renew our commitment together. Sometimes it is in a morning, "God bless you," a simple "I love," or in evening family prayer.
As Catholics, we didn't have much choice in our vows. We spoke the words of commitment that hundreds of thousands of couples had spoken before us. As we married in our church, before our family and friends, we were asking them to help us remain faithful in our commitment to each other and to God.
To us, while the vows we took during our Marriage Mass, were extremely important as a publish statement of our commitment to each other, our more important vows were the ones we wrote to each other during our Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend.
For anyone who is engaged and needs to fulfill an marriage/engagement obligations, I strongly urge you to do the weekend retreat. No television, no phones, just the two of you, away from distractions. We didn't have doubts about each other but it did make us more resolute in our decision.
When times get hard, and they do, I revisit our Engaged Encounter workbook (Horn insisted we keep them) and look at all reasons we committed to each other. Our wedding was more than a party (my team did win at flip cups), it was a public commitment that, it was a promise that we will stay by each other through sickness and health, feasts and famines, and to love each other all the days of our lives.