Two Become One – By Colleen Gerke

‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? – Matthew 19:5

This may seem strange, but it is a very vivid memory for me before marriage and during engagement. When we embraced, I wanted to be physically part of my fiancé. I wanted to “melt” into him. I even told him I wanted us to “melt” together. I know that sounds like romantic gush, but it was my experience.

I was so in love. I knew that marriage was part of God’s plan for me, a vocation. Even though I had some fear of not having all the necessary tools or role models teaching me how to live a healthy marriage, I knew my love to be true, beautiful and good; from God. I knew that if my marriage was of God, it had the potential to grow and endure.

My desire to “melt”, become “one flesh” with my husband, led us on a journey to form a family, a desire to have children, a need to engage with other families, a longing to create a future of hope for our children. This Journey is a participation in the Church’s desire for families that St. John Paul II expressed in Familiaris Consortio: Apostolic Exhortation on the Family. When we married we became a Domestic Church; a holy family. We were a Domestic Church from the beginning when were a family of two, and as we grew. In our desire to have children and share the Good News of Jesus’ love and forgiveness with others, we are church. When we sacrifice for each other, our children, and others, we are church. When we work to make the community in which we live a place of hope and healing for our children and our children’s children, we are church. When this desire goes beyond our own children to a desire for all children of the world, we are church. In our struggle to do what is right, even when we fail, we are a sign of Jesus’ love and forgiveness. We are church. We are holy. We witness to our children and community resilience through knowing we are loved and forgiven by Jesus.

Do you remember the desires of your courtship? Do you remember the longings and hopes of early marriage? How have these desires and longings, or how can these desires and longings, with Jesus’ love and forgiveness give you resilience in marriage? In your vocation?

Colleen has been married to husband John for 33 years; they have 5 children. She is beginning her sixth year as Director of the Family and Respect Life Office in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

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