Love, as it turns out, will not sustain your marriage. It isn’t even supposed to. In fact, just the opposite is true. Marriage is supposed to sustain your love.
This is one of several of lessons I learned in a brilliant little book called Marriage: The Mystery of Faithful Love, by Dietrich von Hildebrand. It is short (77 pages) but important.
I wrote about it for yesterday’s post on the Catholic Match Institute blog.
Marriage, I wrote, “is an environment provided to us in which we can maintain (and when necessary, fight for) the love that brought us together.” Then I elaborated:
Relationships are good but hard, and I know it because of personal experience and because of the emails I received throughout 2015 from readers whose requests best can be summed up with one word.
“HELP.” — as in, “Should I break up with her?” and “Why won’t he ask me out?” and “Should I pursue a relationship with her?” and “Is it ok to tell him that I like him?”
It is normal to desire to do relationships well and it is also normal to feel a lot like you have no idea what you are doing.
This weekend, I finished the book The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God, which issues this reminder: marriage will bring out the worst in you.
Which, to be clear, is a good thing. So is the book, which is by Protestant pastor Timothy Keller. It isn’t short but it’s easy to read and I actually implore you to read it if you intend to get married (or if you already are).
The book defines marriage as God designed it.
It equips readers to do marriage right in a culture that does it wrong. To pick a spouse wisely. To stick to our commitments. To create of our marriages occasions “for God’s presence on earth,” as St. Josemaria Escriva called it.
Sr. Helena Burns has written: “God did not command men to dominate women. He predicted it as the sad consequence of original sin.” So why do many cringe when Gen. 3:16 or Eph. 5:21-33 comes up?
Probably because lots of the people who discuss them don’t know what the Church actually says about women, men, and marriage. But Mulieris Dignitatem can fix that. It is a letter written by St. John Paul II to the Church, originally published on Aug. 15, 1988. It’s also known as On the Dignity and Vocation of Women.
3 Lessons and 2 Tips is a series of interviews in which some of my favorite people (and probably some of yours) share three lessons they’ve learned by being married, plus two tips for single people.
This edition features Chris Mueller, a youth minister and speaker from Murrieta, Calif., whose dynamic talks communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that resonates with teen and adult audiences.