Just a few days ago my husband and I celebrated our one year Anniversary and I have been filled with gratitude just thinking back to that day I stood before God and our loved ones as we entered into this beautiful Sacrament. I have also been reflecting on how humbling, joy-filled and challenging this first year has been. I have learned a lot about myself in the process of becoming a wife so I wanted to share a few of the things I learned this past year (and am still learning).
Growing in Holiness Doesn’t Always Feel “Holy”
Throughout this past year of being a wife, I have been confronted with many of the flaws that single Drewe wasn’t as aware of. I have seen how prideful, impatient and controlling I can be. It has been very humbling to confront some of these things on a daily basis. But as challenging as this past year has been in some ways, I am grateful that Jesus is teaching me that growing in holiness doesn’t always look as nice and clean as I am often tempted to think. When our flaws bubble up to surface and become exposed to ourselves and our spouse, we are presented with the opportunity to let God teach us how to mold our lives after His. This molding can hurt and be hard to embrace. The process of growing in holiness is often much messier than what we perceive “holiness” to look like. I don’t know about you, but whenever I’ve thought of “holiness”, I have never associated it with messiness.
I often think back on the years when I was on my own when I had this perception of myself as having it all together. I felt so patient, humble and easy going. My mom laughs at me when I share this because marriage has a way of bringing out those things that are often lying dormant when you are single. It is much easier to be patient when you have only yourself to worry about. It is much easier to be humble when you do not have another person who has their own way of doing things that contradicts your way. I have to remind myself that God designed marriage to help us grow in holiness-that is it’s foundational purpose. If we are seeing unflattering things within ourselves that we didn’t always see or feel when we were on our own, then we should thank God for allowing us to see this now and ask for the grace to allow us to be refined by His love.
“Marriage is to help married people sanctify themselves and others. For this reason they receive a special grace in the sacrament which Jesus Christ instituted. Those who are called to the married state will, with the grace of God, find within their state everything they need to be holy.” St. Josemaria Escriva
It is a Gift to Marry Someone Who Loves the Lord and Frequents the Sacraments
I literally cannot imagine navigating through marriage without a spouse that understands the power of prayer and has a devotion to the Sacraments. My husband continually walks beside me, praying with and for me, going to confession, adoration and Mass with me and I have no doubt that this has carried us through the different struggles we have faced in our first year of marriage. There have been countless times when I was struggling with something and I have walked out to see my husband silently praying the rosary for me. There have been moments where we both unknowingly offered our Masses for each other. My husband is my greatest intercessor and his prayers for me are so powerful because we share a spiritual bond that no one else on this planet shares with us. That is the power of the Sacrament that we entered into and it has been beautiful to see how the grace from our marriage, from the Eucharist, and from praying together continues to carry us through the unexpected pains and crosses of this life. When we are feeling most distant from each other, it is often because we are not taking enough time to pray with each other and connect spiritually and emotionally. This is the first thing the enemy tries to attack in our marriage when we are struggling, because he knows that this is the foundation for everything else. If there wasn’t such power in coming together in prayer, the enemy wouldn’t try to keep us from doing it. Without prayer and the grace from the Sacraments, we would be left defenseless. There have been many nights where we have driven silently (and angrily) to adoration and as we sat with our Lord together, we both experienced the anger and resentment melting away. Only Jesus can do that and, when we let Him into our marriages, He shows up in a big way for us. That is the power of His presence and it has blessed our marriage more than I could have prayed for.
“The love of husband and wife is the force that welds society together.” St. John Chrysostom
Make Room for Mother Mary
We got married last February 11th on the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes. Leading up to our marriage we did a 33 day consecration to our Blessed Mother and we consecrated our marriage to her. During the wedding mass, as we took flowers to Mother Mary, we prayed our final prayer to finish our consecration. It was so powerful and very symbolic as we entrusted ourselves and each other to her. I have no doubt that she has had her hand in our marriage, especially on the days when our marriage is getting spiritually attacked. She goes to battle for us, just as any good Mother would do for her children in their hour of greatest need. Even when we don’t see it or feel it, she’s there protecting us and reassuring us that her son’s grace is sufficient for us. She is the answer to so many of the struggles that I face as a wife. Her purity of heart, patience, humility, and complete abandonment to God’s will is what I need when my virtue is lacking and my pride and controllingness surface. When we are tempted to despair of our shortcomings as a spouse, she offers us the hope that she will make sure her son completes the work in us that He has already begun, by leading us to Him and interceding for us. She is the perfect spouse and she will help perfect us to be better spouses to one another. When I am receptive to her help, I am a better wife to my husband. When I am closed off and trying to do things on my own, I fail miserably. We were not meant to walk through our marriages alone or to rely on our own strength, which is good news for those of us (like myself) who tend to make a mess out of things when we attempt to follow our own will. Thankfully, we have a Heavenly Father, a Heavenly Mother and the entire communion of Saints to turn to for wisdom, guidance and prayer. As I write this, I am reminded of my own need to actively live out my consecration prayer and to daily re-commit myself to our Blessed Mother.
“Mary, Our Mother, sustain us in moments of darkness, difficulty and apparent defeat.” Pope Francis
Count Your Blessings
The last year I have come to appreciate that marriage is both a gift and a great responsibility. Entrusting your heart to someone and allowing that person to be your battle partner, your intercessor and your companion in journeying to Heaven is an amazing blessing that not everyone has. As with all blessings, we need to cherish them and praise God for them. I pray often for those who have lost their spouses or have been left alone in their marriages and I can only imagine the pain they feel with their spouse’s absence. Even on the days when marriage gets hard, it is important for us to be grateful to have one another and to cherish every day with each other, because we never know when one of us will be called home. For however long we have, let us love our spouses well.
To my husband Kyle, you are my gift and my answered prayer. I couldn’t ask for a better man to live out this vocation with. Thank you for loving me so well and for leading me. I love you always. Happy Anniversary my love! 🙂
© 2018 Drewe DeJesus
Photo from our wedding by Kali Mathews Photography
Video from our wedding by El Nido Productions