Give 100 percent, ask for forgiveness, put God and others first

| Annamarie Adkins For The Catholic Spirit | May 11, 2011 | 0 Comments

Engaged couples spend hundreds of hours — and thousands of dollars — preparing for their wedding days, but what about preparing for their lifelong marriages?

Here are five things to keep in mind after your walk down the aisle to help you have a happy, holy union.

Pray for love. More than likely, your spouse (and your future children) will rely on you as a constant source of love and comfort. But without a good prayer life, you’ll probably be running on empty sooner rather than later.

The blessing of being a believer is that God has all the love you need to give to your loved one, if only you ask for it. So when you hit the bottom of your love tank, turn to God — who is love — and ask him to fill you with his perfect charity.

Forget “50-50.” God made women and men to be complementary, not interchangeable. Each of you will bring your own gifts to your union, but they will not be “equal.” And that’s OK.

So don’t rack up your contributions and compare them to your spouse’s contributions; the tally will never work out to be perfectly even. Sometimes you’ll need to give more; sometimes your spouse will. But it will only balance out if you both give 100 percent.

Banish divorce. Before you tie the knot, it’s imperative that you and your spouse agree that divorce is not an option and not in your vocabulary as a couple. It is not something you’d ever threaten in an argument; rather, it is unspeakable and to be avoided entirely.

Frankly discuss what situations might tempt you to consider divorce and what you can do beforehand to prevent them from happening.

Only death should do you part. God hates divorce.

Say “please forgive me” first. The best way to be the “winner” of any argument in God’s eyes is to say you’re sorry first — no matter who was right or wrong. This act of humility will save you and your spouse from hours — or days — of the silent treatment, stewing emotions and worse.

Remember how Jesus said to forgive seven times seven? Be prepared to forgive — and need to be forgiven — that much.

The best way to say it is: “Will you please forgive me?” That way, your spouse has to respond and a conversation of resolution will open up.

Prioritize — God, others, yourself. Most of us have gotten away with being pretty selfish for most of our formative years. But marriage — and children — puts an end to all of that immediately out of necessity.

Upon entering the state of marriage, your paradigm needs to shift to serve these three priorities in this order: God, others, yourself. You’re the last one on the list, but the good news is the last shall be first in the Kingdom of God.

Annamarie Adkins has been married for eight years. She is the mother of four children and a freelance journalist. Her husband, Jason Adkins, is executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference. They are parishioners at St. Agnes in St. Paul.

Celebrate Marriage Day at the cathedralArchbishop John Nienstedt will celebrate a 10 a.m. Mass for married couples on Saturday, June 11, at the Cathedral of St. Paul.

Couples will have the opportunity to renew their marriage vows. After Mass, there will be a reception to honor couples celebrating silver and golden anniversaries in 2011 and all couples married more than 50 years.

The event is sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Marriage, Family and Life..

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Category: Marriage