My husband and I just celebrated our 2 year wedding Anniversary, on February 11th, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. In some ways it feels like it was literally just yesterday that we were walking down the aisle- nervous, excited and uncertain of all that marriage would entail. On other days it feels like we’re just a couple of old souls that have been married for years.
Two years ago we stood on the altar before God and proclaimed our vows to each other, “I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love and honor you all the days of my life.” Little did we know that so shortly after, those words would be immediately tested, and we would come to understand the vast difference between speaking those words and living them out. Three months into our marriage, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I cried almost daily, as my husband held me tight. A few months after, I began experiencing my own health problems, had to have surgery, and discovered we would struggle with infertility (something we are still coping with). We moved into a different house, my husband changed jobs twice and we watched our best friends divorce after three years of marriage. There were days when I felt we kind of got “robbed” from the initial “honeymoon phase” that I thought we were entitled to. So much for eating our leftover wedding cake, riding off into the sunset and gazing into each other’s eyes in marital bliss…
Through the tears, stress and grief, my husband and I have continually reminded each other that this was exactly what we said “I do” to. When suffering comes in life and in marriage, the world tries to convince us that “this isn’t what you signed up for.” Who walks down the aisle and pictures the moments of struggle, or the aches that come with navigating through the trials? We can never foreshadow the specific crosses that Jesus might ask us to carry at times throughout our marriage or over the course of our life, but as Catholics, we shouldn’t be surprised that there will always be crosses. Every couple, every marriage will experience moments of tribulation. To have an enduring, life-long marriage, there has to be moments of suffering. Love has to be tested, purified and made resilient. The one constant for me, through all the ups and downs over the past two years, is the assurance that I married the man that God chose to get my crazy butt to heaven.
I chose someone that understood what he was signing up for; that knew, just like I did, that marriage is not some fantasy, feel-good journey that will fill our every need and satisfy our every desire. If we had entered into marriage believing what the world tells young people, about the individual pursuit of happiness, we would’ve been horribly disappointed and disillusioned by now. The destination for both of us has always been clear in our minds: Heaven. The goal of our marriage: getting each other there. Nothing else matters if we fail to help each other grow in holiness and reach our eternal home.
In between all the craziness and trials of life, there has been so much fruitfulness, blessings and joy. We traveled to Rome where we had our marriage blessed by Pope Francis, an experience I will remember forever. We started serving engaged couples through the marriage prep program at our Parish which has brought so much life into our own marriage. We joined Teams of Our Lady, a movement of married couples dedicated to deepening the graces of their sacrament, so that we could continue to nourish our own marriage, and walk alongside other Catholic couples who desire the same vision for theirs. We’ve been on multiple retreats together, we continue to go to marriage counseling to build upon the foundation we’ve developed. We continue visiting our Lord weekly in the Blessed Sacrament, together. Our weekly date nights with Jesus have truly been the glue to our marriage, along with frequently dragging our butts to confession, which keeps us humbly aware of our shortcomings as husband and wife. The fruits and joys of the sacramental graces we have experienced within this vocation so far have been endless, and we truly thank God for each day together.
As imperfect as we both are, I am genuinely grateful that my husband is just as committed as I am to remaining open to what God wants to do in and through our marriage. We have no idea what surprises and future sufferings God has in store for us, but we really do believe, that every blessing and every trial is all part of God’s divine plan. We don’t always understand the trials and sometimes we beg God to relieve us from them. But nonetheless, we try to be receptive to the ways we need to be emptied, so that we can love God and one another in a deeper way. The past two years have been a gift. It has been difficult and it has been beautiful all in one. That’s real life.
I love my husband more today than I could’ve ever imagined I would two years ago. He is even more patient, gentle, kind, strong, and selfless than I even thought he was the day I married him (to maintain that kind of virtue, day in and day out while living with me, is nothing short of miraculous). I am convinced more than ever that there is nothing more fulfilling than walking side by side with someone who loves Jesus as much as you do. My husband, being the amazing man he is, has written me many love letters since we married and in his most recent letter he wrote about the trials we’ve endured the past year. Something he said really touched me and I wanted to share it:
With all the trials that we go through, especially the past year, we can still say that God has been so good to us! The Lord has been so faithful and as long as we continue to give our hearts to Him each day we’ll always be okay.
“With all the trials that we go through…we can still say that God has been so good to us.” Amen, my love. He has indeed, been SO good to us. I love you Kyle! 🙂
2019 Drewe DeJesus
Photo from Drewe