Do you agree that marriage should be taken seriously? In the modern world where many are afraid of life-long commitments, Michelle and Symon’s preparation for marriage is one overflowing with courage and dedication. Here is a couple with great faith and love for each other that is rooted in Christ.
Discernment was key to what helped us decide that we were called to married life. As marriage is a Holy Sacrament and must be taken seriously, we first considered the obligations and duties that came with it and made certain that our intentions were clear throughout our relationship. Preparation which involved spiritual and intellectual reading was necessary as we had to be clear that our souls were prepared to receive the graces that Christ wanted to pour out upon us. We prayed together and individually as much as possible, including the daily Rosary and we both frequented Adoration, Confession and Holy Mass.
Our relationship with God has grown considerably given that we set ourselves the task of not only growing in love and friendship with one another, but also ensuring that we grew in our faith. We read solid Catholic literature such as, ‘Three to get Married’ by Ven. Fulton Sheen and we practised traditional Catholic devotions such as the ‘Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary’ of St Louis de Montfort and most importantly, as much as possible, we would pray together.
Through it all, one thing became very clear to us both, it is not sufficient to know our faith well or to have a ‘personal relationship’ with Christ, it is also necessary to grow in Virtue and follow Christ in our daily lives, regardless of our state in life or other commitments.
Our preparation had to be both of an intellectual and spiritual kind. We had to come to a realistic consideration that our lives were leading up to this Sacrament and that we needed to prepare for it well. The Sacrament that Christ would use to bind our lives together and to pour out His graces upon us needed solemn and prayerful preparation. This entailed knowing what we were ‘signing up’ for, in that we would share our lives together until death. This is no small matter!
The Sacrament of Marriage required of us to consider whether we were willing to live in accordance with the Word of God. As stated in Holy Scripture: “Husbands should love their wives just as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her to make her holy” (Eph 5:25). It is of paramount importance when discerning Marriage to consider whether one could live by these words. Similarly for wives: “Wives should regard their husbands as they regard the Lord, since as Christ is head of the Church and saves the whole body, so is a husband the head of his wife; and as the Church submits to Christ, so should wives to their husbands, in everything” (Eph 5:21-25).
Can we live our lives according to the inspired, inerrant Word of God on the very subject we were discerning? By the grace of God, all these things are possible; the Sacrament provides all these graces.
Our preparation also had to consider our own intentions for entering the Married state. This included being open to fruitfulness in Marriage, i.e. children and family, not simply getting married because of the image and prestige it gives.
Our Lord says in Luke 9:23, “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me”, so it is with any relationship, and especially Marriage. Sacrifice, humility and putting your spouse first are paramount in an ordered relationship. The world in which we live constantly wants us to put our own satisfaction and happiness first whilst putting others second. It can’t be this way with us if we are to follow Christ.
In this way then, bearing patiently and lovingly one another is both the toughest challenge and the sweetest burden of Marriage.
First, consider the obligations and duties of Marriage. It is a very serious responsibility, one which is filled with joy and grace, but at times, demands a solemn and prayerful attitude. Do not underestimate the importance of prayer and the Sacraments. If at all possible, attend daily Mass together. If this is not possible, try attending daily Mass individually and pray for your future spouse and for God’s will to be done. The daily recitation of the Holy Rosary is a source of many graces and should especially be prayed by couples and indeed by all Catholics regardless of their state in life. Our Lady of Fatima stated to the three seers that we must pray the Rosary every day, and who are we to deny such a request?
Second, understand and grow in Humility. Our Lord states: “Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart…” (Matthew 11:29). Marriage requires the humility of both spouses to one another and to what God is calling them to do and to be. This humility is important in growing in love for one another in good and bad times. Reading good Catholic literature on this subject and praying for this grace is necessary. God will not answer your prayers if you don’t ask Him!
Interviewed by Matt Lim
If you enjoyed this article, check out our upcoming Jason Evert Event on March 22 on “How to save your marriage…before you get married!“