Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Celebrating 26 Years of Marriage

Today Eileen and I celebrate 26 years of marriage. The collage shows us in our wedding picture (1996) and today (2022) after so many years of married and family life, and raising kids to adulthood and to the beginning of the next generation

Eileen and I have passed through so many wonders and challenges and difficulties and all kinds of circumstances beyond anything we ever imagined when we committed our lives to each other on that hot day of June 22, 1996. We have both changed so much since that day, and yet our love has grown stronger through the years. Yes, it has taken hard work, mutual sacrifice, and continual openness to reconciliation. But married love depends on more than these things.

Marriage is a mystery that is beyond our power to control. It takes us beyond ourselves, only to enable us to find ourselves and one another ever more deeply. Marriage is in fact a gift of God’s grace.

This gift of grace is abundant. Grace is at the center of marriage. It's not "magic.” It doesn't "fix" the problems of spouses or the circumstances in such a way that everything becomes easy. Rather, it generates the possibility of love, even in the most difficult circumstances, and it builds (slowly, day by day) new ways of looking at everything: the trials and also the joys, the past, the present, and the future.

Of course, so often we forget about grace. But marriage is a sacrament, and the bond that unites and sustains us is the redemptive love of Jesus who never abandons us. It is His fidelity to us that enables us to be faithful to each other, to love each other and help each other, to forgive each other over and over again.

We thank the Lord for the moments that we remember His constant redeeming and transforming presence, and ask that those moments of memory and gratitude might increase. In spite of how it may seem at the beginning, the grace that builds up married life is not a great wind or a roaring fire. It is the sound of the breeze, and the still, small voice.

A wedding day is a wonderful day, well worth celebrating year after year. The joy glimpsed by newlyweds united in Christ is vindicated, enriched, refined, and empowered to endure and be renewed again and again through the years, as we journey together on the road toward the fulfillment of eternal life.