A few weeks ago, I was sitting around talking with my sisters and our husbands, asking each other what we had in common as married couples. What started as a pretty funny, light-hearted discussion brought us to the realization that our shared Catholic faith had a lot to do with why we married each other and stay committed – through good times and bad. The girls’ interests are different from the guys’ interests…they love sports, we don’t…they have their own music interests, we have ours…etc. etc. etc. So at first we were laughing because we’d ask each other, “So what do you guys have in common?” and the wife would answer, “Uhhh…we’re Catholic?” because she couldn’t think of anything else on the spot. And the one question that was running through my mind was: How is it that we got married with only one thing in common?
It’s not that we really don’t have other things in common and don’t appreciate the fact that we have our faith as the center of our relationships. After thinking about it, Gary and I both like a lot of the same things…and I know it’s true for my sisters and their husbands. Robby brought up the fact that he and my sister Emeline both love their son Jacob. Shared love for our children is a wonderful plus to add to the relationship because as a couple, it takes definite teamwork to raise a child in this world. Our personalities also go really well together, so we see each other as a great complement to who we are as individuals, as opposed to being exactly the same. Mike made a really good point: “If you have everything in common, then it can get kinda boring.” I personally love the fact that my own husband loves to cook (so I can learn how) and sprinkles my day with fun factoids (or new dance moves!).
But what I’m trying to say is that I think it was really awesome that we could all say that being able to live out our Catholic faith in our marriages is No.1 for us. We all go to Mass with our spouses, pray with them, talk about Scripture with them, serve the Church alongside them, and ground our values in the teachings of Jesus Christ. What we teach our children and how we discipline them are also guided by our beliefs, and we try our best to be good witnesses to our families, friends, and other people we meet. It’s HUGE.
So praise God for that conversation because I know that none of us would choose anything else to rank above. Every once in awhile, I’ll feel bad that I’m so NOT a sports freakazoid like Gary is because he’s all about any and every sport out there. He listens to sports, watches sports, plays sports, talks about sports, works sports, and he LOVES his Frisco teams. Me? I tolerate it. =) But what good would it do if we both loved sports that much but didn’t have a common faith?
I don’t mean to downplay the commitment other couples may have who don’t happen to associate themselves with a particular religion or spirituality. There are people out there as such who have no problem staying married to someone for the rest of their lives. I just can’t imagine (for ourselves) how things would have turned out if we couldn’t fall back on the Word of God and the moral compass given to us by Mother Church. As my mom always says, even being married to a wonderful husband or wife can get difficult. Life is full of joys and sorrows, hopes and disappointments. The graces given to us through the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and the oneness of faith we have in our marriages have sustained us through miscarriages, major financial decisions, illnesses, and other unexpected stressors.
Besides all this, it’s nice to know that on very ordinary days when we are tempted to take our spouses for granted, we can think back and remember…”This is the gift God wanted to give me to show how much He loves me.”