Marriage, a Gift

In a culture where the sacrament and sacredness of marriage are no longer valued, respected or upheld, it is important to take time this week to reflect on the beauty and gift that married life truly is. A gift not just for the spouses or the children, but a gift for the entire community, world and Church. A gift that should be protected and celebrated. This week is National Marriage Week with World Marriage Day on Sunday, February 13.

How appropriate that it falls right before St. Valentine’s Day, which our culture most often celebrates as a day of hearts, flowers and chocolates. A day to celebrate the feeling of love, but we all know that marriage requires much more than just feelings. Love is a choice when the sacrifices are hard and cupid’s arrow disappears.

“Love between man and woman cannot be built without sacrifices and self-denial.” St. John Paul II, Love and Responsibility

When we stood at the altar saying, “I do” there is no way that any of us was fully able to comprehend what God was asking. The reality of the covenant we were entering into, the complete giving of oneself that it requires, or the unfathomable joy that accompanies it all. We promised to be faithful, to have and to hold in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad till death do us part. To lovingly accept children from God and to raise them in the faith.

Infertility, miscarriage or the loss of a child. Unemployment or the loss of a job. Cancer, disease or illness. Seeing a child suffer or struggle to find their way. The estrangement of an adult child or one that leaves the faith. Walking hand in hand as the health of a spouse declines and being there in those final breaths and moments. We said yes to it all, not knowing what crosses we would carry. Not knowing how Christ would draw us closer to each other and ultimately to closer to himself.

The beauty is we didn’t say yes alone. When we entered into Christian marriage we entered into a covenant, not merely a contract or an agreement between two people. A covenant of three people, with God at the center. God at the center pouring out grace upon grace. God at the center binding the couple in his perfect love and providing true strength for the journey. God at the center as the ultimate end and goal of married life, heaven forever with our Creator.

Marriage is a gift to the spouses as a way to work out their salvation, to encourage each one in holiness and sanctification. It is love that mirrors that of the Holy Trinity. It is love so real, that nine months later you have to give it a name. It is a gift to the world to see the tangible love of God alive and lived out.

“Marriage is an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls, with whom they make up a sole family – a domestic church.” St. John Paul II, Love and Responsibility

This week is our Give from the Heart Pledge Drive. As we spend this marriage week contemplating the ways in which we can build a culture founded upon Christ’s love, we ask that you prayerfully consider giving what you can to support Relevant Radio and its mission of bringing Christ to the world through the media. Give today!

Cassie Everts serves as Contributing Writer at Relevant Radio. She is a wife, mother, author and speaker. She is the co-author of Nursery of Heaven and blogs at Everyday Ann. She holds degrees in Theology and Communication Arts from Franciscan University of Steubenville.