When our children got engaged, we experienced both joy and concern. We observed the happy couple’s excitement as the wedding plans developed, and we hoped they were ready for what lay ahead of them.
Most couples begin marriage with confidence and high expectations, yet life together will present them with many challenges and conflicts. Marriage is risky. No couple can know what the future holds in the way of health, children, finances, and careers. They will have so many decisions to make, the most important of which is to decide to love each other and make their marriage and family a priority. We pray that they will turn to God to be their model for self-giving, generous love.
Marriage is the ultimate adventure in which every day offers new challenges and opportunities to grow both as individuals and as a couple. The way we approach the challenges and experiences we encounter determines our level of peace and happiness in our marriage.
A successful couple may say, “Many people tell us we are lucky, but we don’t believe it is luck that has strengthened our relationship over the years.” They have learned that they needed to grow closer to God over the years, to imitate God in faithfulness.
Although every couple is different, successful marriages have similar identifying marks. The fact that family life in the United States gives evidence of serious internal collapse ought to alert betrothed couples that successful marriages need careful and lifelong cultivation. In successful marriages, spouses genuinely enjoy each other’s company. They laugh a lot together. They take pride in each other’s achievements and encourage one another to undertake important life projects. They lovingly seek to meet each other’s sexual needs, and develop closeness in nonsexual ways as well. Successful couples regard marriage as a sacred religious commitment and share a similar vision of life. These couples love and delight in one another like God loves and delights in each one of us.
Consider these qualities of successful spouses and explore ways you can choose to continue to grow together and love one another. Reflect on your own marriage and on the marriages you know. If you sense a personal weakness in certain areas, don’t despair. This is the place to begin a new phase of your adventure with God’s help!
Dr. Lauri Przybsyz is the Coordinator for Marriage and Family Life for the Archdiocese of Baltimore.Sign Up for Our E-Newsletter!