Happy Catholic Relationships That Lead To Happy Catholic Marriages
by Marcus and Dianne Guevara
Protecting Your Future Marriage From Divorce
Imagine one day God took you by the hand and said “I want to show you something”. He proceeds to show you a glimpse of your future five years from now. You find out that you have been married for three years. In the present time you and your significant other are engaged.
But there’s something wrong…She (or he) is handing you divorce papers.
Your throat sinks in to your chest. Divorce? What happened? We’ve only been married a few years and already we are getting a divorce? Do we have children? What’s going to happen to them? You try to search through the divorce papers for answers but before you can find anything you are brought back to the present moment.
Imagine you were given this glimpse. How would it change your current behavior? If you were determined to change that future – where would you start?
I’m not trying to scare you and we shouldn’t make our decisions based on the fear that something bad might come from them. However, we also need to pay attention to the direction we are driving and be aware of where we might end up if we continue on that road. We’re going to approach this topic from the perspective that choosing the right road (and staying on that road) is how we ensure we end up at the destination we are going for. In this case we are talking about ending up in happy marriages that last forever.
I’m a firm believer that dreaming is one of the most important things anyone can do. Dreams are the conception of a great story and everyone wants to have a great story. We want to have a story that is interesting, exciting, emotional, inspirational and if you’re like me you want some comedy in there as well.
We want a story that people would want to read. Lucky for us we were created for just that.
The first step to have a happy marriage is to dream big.
Dreaming is like setting the destination for where you want to be but we still need to choose the right roads that will eventually get us to our desired destination. We call choosing those roads “setting standards and goals”.
Set Standards and Goals
So many people end up in bad relationships simply because they fail to look ahead and plan for the future. I believe that everyone who dates should be dating with the intention of working toward a potential marriage. Randomly dating – just for fun – is like taking random college courses for fun. If you aren’t working toward something, like a degree to build a career, you’re just wasting time and money. If you aren’t trying to find a good marriage partner than you are wasting valuable time and effort. You don’t get those weeks, months, or years, back.
Dating without thinking about marriage is a recipe for disaster. Think about it. A person who says “I want to date you but I don’t want to even think about marriage right now” is saying “I just want to have some fun” or “I’m just attracted to you right now”. What happens when that person stops having fun or starts becoming attracted to someone else?
I’m not saying that two people who are attracted to each other should say “I want to date you but you have to be willing to marry me first”. What I am saying is from the very beginning two dating persons should be open to the idea of marriage and should be working to answer two questions: 1) Is this person someone I would want to spend the rest of my life with? 2) Is God calling me to marriage?
These questions will not be answered easily but they will be impossible to answer confidently unless the couple sets standards and goals for their relationship. Setting standards helps to reveal true intentions. My wife set very high standards for me before we could start dating. I had to ask her dad’s permission to date her, read a book and respect a promise that she made to God to not kiss until marriage! Talk about setting the bar high. That standard kept me in check and forced me to respect her dignity.
A lot of guys walked away from her after hearing about her promise but I stuck around and now she’s forever my bride.
I talked earlier about our desire to have a great story. In this case our idea of a great story is a strong, Catholic, marriage that lasts forever. So what does it take to make your story great?
It starts with a willingness to sacrifice. You see, another word for sacrifice is love. Sacrifice is loving another more than yourself. Self-sacrificial love inspires us to want to be better and it is the ultimate witness of real and authentic love. Everyone wants that great story but how many of us are willing to make the decision to sacrifice everything for the good of another?
Many of us say we are willing to do anything for the person(s) we love but how do we know we will be strong enough to do so when we are faced with the decision? That’s the power of Chastity. Chastity is exercise of the will. It’s sacrificing little things everyday in preparation for the big sacrifice. If you exercise your self-sacrificial muscles enough than your will be strong enough when the time comes to make that decision.
Here is a short video of how Chastity and high standards helped make our story great
Happy, Catholic relationships that lead to Happy, Catholic Marriages may be a misleading goal. We don’t simply want to be “happy”. We want an authentically Catholic marriage. That means we want more than just a temporary happiness. We want marriages that fulfill the very purpose for which marriage was designed. For those of you who have heard of the Theology of the Body you know that through marriage we can image the eternal loving God who is family.
Marriage is not just for our own happiness. It is a vocation, a calling, to spread the Kingdom of God. It is how we witness to the world that there truly is a loving God.
Jesus said “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Think about that. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Flip that, reverse it, and you have “The impure of heart will be unable to see God”. In a society where pornography is prevalant Atheism is common. In a society where children grow up without Fathers the evangelistic phrase “God is your Father” carries a negative connotation.
That’s why it is so important that we strive for more than just happy marriages. We want happy, Catholic, marriages because it is the Catholic part – the Christian part – of that equation that makes for a powerful story. That is the story that God had in mind for you when in Matthew 5 he said “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”.
Now, here is your opportunity. What are you willing to do to make your story great and build a happy, Catholic, marriage that lasts forever? Are you willing to sacrifice your first, or your next kiss for the altar?
Tell us what you think in the comments section below.