What is the fundamental attitude in married life order to achieve sanctity? What can motivate us to become saints within marriage?
I think the
secret is this: to be always there for your spouse!
When someone becomes a Franciscan,
the person embraces poverty. When someone becomes a Jesuit, he embraces obedience. When someone
becomes a Schoenstatt Father, he embraces the Marian apostolate, and when people marry, what do they
embrace? Their spouse, they are to embrace each other for eternity.
Being there for the
other, although it may seem beautiful, is most difficult in life. To be there for the other means
that I no longer have the right to think of my comfort, that I have to forget myself, that I have to
be there for the other just as Christ is there for the Church.
My mission is, then, to
support my spouse, to complement my spouse, to lead my spouse to heaven. This is not easy –
you know it better than I do – because we are often selfish and narrow-minded.
someone is able to maintain this attitude throughout one’s married life, “I am only
there for the other,” this person becomes a saint. If it deals with canonizing a married
spouse, then it will always be looked into if he/she was there for the other.
there as Christ is for the Church is to be there with noble and transparent love, not with love
which asks that the other be there for me but that I may be there in return. The marriage will be a
happy one according to the measure in which spouses live out this norm.
I should then
know how to limit myself in my likes for my spouse. What if I like noodles and my spouse likes
French fries? Am I condemned to eat French fries all my life!
I will bear it for one
week. But will I bear it for 20 years, 30 years? What if God has given me the joy of 60 years of
marriage? Perhaps you are laughing, nevertheless, here is the key to marital happiness or to marital
See the positive qualities always
Being there for the
spouse means to always be disposed, to always be conscious of the other, of the good qualities the
spouse has. Never become accustomed to your spouse’s qualities however.
accustomed to many things, but you must not become accustomed to the good qualities of your spouse.
On the contrary, every day you should learn to appreciate them more. I think this must be something
which makes sanctity in marriage so difficult. One soon becomes accustomed to the good qualities the
spouse has, and later only focuses on the bad qualities. It seems that the bad qualities increase
and the good qualities decrease.
Therefore, marital happiness depends on the spirit of
sacrifice, on the ability of letting oneself be crucified for the other. It is the way of true love
which is really what is most difficult in this human existence. The German poet, Rilke, said it:
“The most difficult, the most difficult task man has to learn is love.” Why? Because the
hardest thing we can do is to forget ourselves and to seek the other’s best interest.
Questions for Meditation
1. Do I often sacrifice my likes, or do I
insist on them?
2. Do I continue to see the qualities of my spouse or have I become accustomed
3. Is it easier for me to see the short comes or the virtues of the other?
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