I married my wife Margy because I loved her. I love her 25 years later because I married her.
She doesn’t have to “prove” anything to me. She doesn’t have to “earn” it or “deserve” it or feel pressure to “keep it fresh” or anything like that. This life together isn’t until we grow tired of each other. It isn’t conditional. It doesn’t mean that we always have to “get along” perfectly or “have a spark” or constantly feel warm affection towards each other. Those things are very good and highly desirable but they are not absolutely essential.
I made a simple and permanent vow to Margy 25 years ago:
“…I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. I shall love you and honor you all the days of my life.”
Jesus taught, “Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. Anything else comes from the evil one.” (Mt 5:37) Margy (and now also our children) is counting on me to be a man of my word. I pray to God every single day that I faithfully uphold this sacred vow. To break this vow would mean not only that I lied to her, but also that I lied to her Heavenly Father, God Almighty, in whose presence I took it. His love for each of us is absolutely unconditional and we, being made in His image and likeness, are called to strive for the same kind of love.
Marriage is not always fun and it’s not always “fair.” It’s not a 50-50 deal like a contract. Christian marriage is a covenant. It’s 100%-100%.
Margy and I don’t have the same temperament. We don’t often finish each other’s sentences. We don’t have all the same interests. We don’t have the the same talents or capabilities. We’re not always “on the same page.” We both have strengths and weaknesses. We both have annoyed and embarrassed each other. I’ve been chronically ill and she’s a picture of health. But we’re not keeping score about health or good deeds or who got the better deal in our life together. Her 100% effort may look very different than mine. We are different people. And that’s okay.
When St. Paul tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church (Eph 5:25) – I must listen carefully and realize the profundity of what this means. It means I must be willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of my wife. I must be willing to lay down my life for her. That is exactly what Christ did for his bride, the Church. For me as a Christian husband to do anything less would be hypocritical.
My walk in the spiritual life is not a solitary endeavor. It’s not just for my own personal fulfillment. It has everything to do with my relationships, with my vocation as a husband and a father and a friend. In my marriage, the closer I get to Christ, the closer I get to Margy. In reality, that’s how it actually works.
Margy, thank you for the past 25 years. I know many of them have been difficult for you. Thank you for standing with me even when you didn’t “feel” it. Thank you for being faithful to me. Thank you for loving me. I love you too and I always will!