The Blessing of Married Couples

With two — count ’em — church annulment documents carefully stashed in a fireproof file box, I vowed I’d never get remarried. The annulment process revealed all that had been predictably wrong and I, for one, was not going to risk another messy marriage. We plan; God laughs.

A decade elapsed between my first and second marriages. I entered the second no better prepared than I was for the first, either emotionally or spiritually.  Thirteen years have passed since the second marriage crash-landed; much is different this (final, for sure) time around. I’m older. I’m clean and sober. I’m a Christian. I better understand the salvific power of sacraments. I’m older. Now I understand why Holy Matrimony is considered a Sacrament of Vocation and Service. Wait! There’s more . . .

During the past thirteen years I’ve been healed by the witness of several long-married couples. These couples invited me to family dinners, included me in carpools, sat with me during liturgy and helped me with household repairs — not as corporal acts of mercy per se, but as an extension of their own deeply embedded spirituality. People for others.

I’ve been healed by seeing friendship and mutual respect between spouses trump exasperation, disappointment, and soul-numbing bickering.  Over the years I’ve witnessed careers tank, kids arrested, financial well-being compromised, physical and mental health fall apart. More than one couple has gotten to the precipice without tumbling into the gulch of divorce.  In some instances I’ve been a confidante. In every instance I’ve been healed by observing what’s possible when God is at the center; what’s possible when prayer is considered a first rather than last resort.

God will be at the center of my third marriage. Very early on, I announced the hierarchy necessary for immediate and future existence. “God and then me, and then you,” I told Dan. “No God, no me and definitely no you,”  I explained. Dan was completely unfazed and, truth to tell, seemed relieved. Thanks be to God and the healing witness of married couples.

You can find more about this journey on my personal blog, More Meredith Gould.
About Meredith Gould 32 Articles
Meredith Gould, PhD, is the author of seven books, including The Catholic Home: Celebrations and Traditions for Holidays, Feast Days, and Every Day, Why Is There a Menorah on the Altar? Jewish Roots of Christian Worship, and The Word Made Fresh: Communicating Church and Faith Today. She serves on the team at The Virtual Abbey and founded the Twitter chat for church social media (#chsocm).

24 Comments on The Blessing of Married Couples

  1. You sound exactly like me right down to the two annulments. While I support and honour marriage as sacrament I prefer however to buy another writing notebook to investment in #3. The selection process for marriage (and notebook) is crucial.

  2. I am so grateful for your sharing the journey towards your marriage, here and at your own blogsite. I do believe I am almost as excited about November 5th as you are, and for sure I will be thinking of you all that day. I will have been married thirty-two years in December. I hope we are like one of those couples you describe. Lots of precipices for sure. Still firmly teetering by the grace of God.

  3. I’m not sure, really, what makes the difference. My husband and I (married 37 years) have a group of long-married friends. Some have been divorced and some are now unmarried due to death or divorce, but all of the long term marriages have weathered, where children are concerned – yes, arrests, unexpected pregnancies, illnesses, school disasters, sexual preference surprises, and death. Plus job loss and adult illness, big time. I’m sure that divorce has been considered many times but, for whatever reason,these couples have been unlikely to see that as the solution to crisis.

    As a family lawyer for many years, I often admired the courage and hope found in divorcing partners. But much more often, I wondered what it was that people imagined marriage to be, that they could set it aside over the trials and traumas of ordinary life.

    • I was blessed by a priest who, upon hearing my confession and pain about seeking a divorce said, “Do you have a good attorney?” Had he said, “the Church demands you to stay in abuse” I would’ve walked out and never come back. I’m sure others have, alas.

      • Well, yes. Words no divorce attorney wants to hear: “My pastor/priest says that I am obligated to submit . . . “.

        Often a departure from church is necessary before that kind of spiritual assault can be overcome.

    • Right on. I was married the first time thinking I was doing what was expected, after all, my family uplines were all married, right. I was expected to embroider and knit too but somehow managed to avoid those. Hmmm.

      Then I figured out after two marriages that this is a SACRAMENT, not just a lifestyle.

  4. Meridith, it is so true that it is healing to be with couples who put God first in their relationship and are then empowered to persevere together. On PFO this morning the Words of Wisdom advised: “To be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become.” God bless you and Dan as you begin a new life together.

  5. Nope. You make the celebrant steam clean your floors. Such dull left-brain activity causes the right brain to create inspiration like for instance where is the licence. Meanwhile you relax, see.

  6. Thank you for this witness of God’s humbling plan for our lives. Marriage is messy. Our vocations are anything but clear and consistent. Congratulations to you both!

  7. Well for the men and women out there that are married with a family were very Blessed and very Extremely Lucky to have one another since many of us are still Not unfortunately. Then again, God does love certain people. Why Not Us?

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