Firstly, before I begin, Happy easter! It has been a great one for me; I am relieved that Lent has ended, and also just so joyous after Easter Sunday.
Now, on to what I was really going to unload about…
LJ and I have recently begun reading this book together, called ‘Marriage: A Path to Sanctity’, written by Javier Abad and Eugenio Fenoy.
I cannot begin to say what a joy this has become for both of us. We have only begun about 3 or 4 days ago, and we only read a few pages at a time, but I cannot describe already how this has changed us. When I say we read it together, we actually plonk ourselves down somewhere and take turns reading aloud. We were very privileged this past long weekend to have been able to do so; finding time to spend with each other is sometimes difficult enough during the week.
I cannot recommend this any more highly than to say: Read it! Both of us, only two chapters in, have felt so changed and closer by our reading experience together already.
Let me start by clarifying - it may be weird for many dating couples today to even approach the topic. Marriage is for the weak, or for the clingy and for people who need reassurance of commitment/a sign of commitment? I beg to differ. Marriage is for the very, very strong and determined. It is not easy. And to people who run away from the commitments and the self sacrifice that it demands - that is the easier option. There is no out in marriage - it is indissoluble, and it is very admirable that two people enter into it willingly and with full knowledge that once done, it cannot be undone.
Where do I start? Marriage is not easy. The book never minces its words and says it is all about pain and sacrifice. Don’t get me wrong - pain can be joyful (you say what?!) - this happens when sacrifice is done out of love. Then it redeems the self sacrifice into something beautiful.
It also states from the very start that marriage is a religious vocation, not any easier or any lesser than any other religious vocation e.g. religious life etc. In fact, with the demands of communal life, and having children - it doesn’t make it a walk in the park.
To those who have disagreements about marriage, that’s fine. I myself saw my parents divorce. But as I said before, two chapters into the book, and I already see, so clearly, that marriage is so important in society and in the world. I see so clearly that it is very needed, and very called for, especially in today’s world.
I myself cannot believe I am writing these words. Trust me, it makes me feel like a fuddy duddy, but I assure you, I feel strangely confident about these thoughts.
What you make of your future family will shape your children, and you go on to form a very important building block of society. You are not just responsible for yourself and your spouse, but for the connections you make around you. It was a slap to my face that marriage and love are not just about my self fulfillment, but ALL about other people. ALL about them.
The book goes on to explain a lot of other things that many other married people today may not necessarily agree with, like contraception, co-habitation before marriage, and openness to children. Let me first say that these are very, very, contentious issues and I started out wondering and sharing the very same prefaces to the big debate arguments surrounding these:
- If we’re already going to get married, we can live together, it’s like ‘trying it out’, isn’t it?
-It’s my body, I can choose whether to have an abortion or not if we get pregnant (Okay the issue of abortion is actually something I have strong opinions on - yes it’s your body, but when your right intervenes on the unborn’s right to live, your right stops there. You cannot remove the right to live from just the unborn without hurting the whole society’s right to live. A right to live is a right for everybody. And biology has never refuted that life begins at conception. It may not survive outside the womb, and it may look like a ball of cells, but neither would you have survived without your mother’s care and milk or looked like yourself even when you were two weeks old. In other words, a lack of biological maturity does not make it fair to kill a person. Now back to the issue of marriage.)
- We are married (Christians) but we don’t want to have children yet, so we’ll wait a few years and use birth control in the meantime…
Trust me when I say I used to understand these and when thinking about these (or really, should I say, not thinking maturely and deeply enough about these issues yet) I thought I shared the same sentiment.
With the last question on contraception use in married couples, I think I will come back and divulge more after we have read a lot more…
I think I shall step away from the lectern now and just say I highly recommend it. Now I will probably wait to herald the judgement that I am some traditional, backward thinking person living in today’s society. A bit proudly and with more importantly, with more understanding of why.