Forever and Ever, Amen — Part I


wedding“I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”

Poetic words, wouldn’t you agree? These simple, straightforward promises made at the altar by a man and a woman “seal the deal” so-to-speak. The two become one, exclusively, for life, depending on and lifting up each other, until death do they part.

Yet to some, they are nothing more than pretty words and empty promises. Something said in the anticlimax after all the planning, partying, and pay outs. It’s almost robotic — a means to the reception at the end of the day.

I sit here at my computer, sipping homemade peach sangria and eating Bridge Mix, a unique self-help concoction used to dull an ache. It’s been a long heart-breaking couple of weeks. I am trying to wrap my head around the impending demise of two marriages. Both less than ten years, both with young children, both were “church weddings” and both have husbands who have chosen the path of infidelity.

I was made aware of these marriages via phone calls from confused and distraught women. Young mothers who were abandoned, betrayed and seeking help.

These were not marriages from the new expanded preparation policy, which has been in place almost five years in the Diocese of Phoenix. No, the preparation these couples received was minimal, inconsistent and inadequate. I am not aware if they cohabitated, or if they were sexually active. Those are awkward questions to ask a stranger who is desperate for answers as to why she and her children have been abandoned and replaced by cheap, uncommitted sex.

Shame on the women who knew these men were married. Shame on the men who lied on their wedding day.

There was a time when marriage meant someone was “off-limits.”  Even when some men didn’t seem to respect that, at least other women did. Those days are over. No, women of the feminist enculturation see another woman’s husband as nothing more than a challenge or conquest. Another notch in the “I am woman, hear me roar” manifesto.

I am happy to report that I know of marriages that have survived worse and gone on to become beautiful witnesses to redeeming love and mutual forgiveness. I realize it can be so difficult to see past a crushing betrayal by our so-called beloved and partner for life. It’s easy to put the self, first — my needs, my happiness, my wants. Putting ourselves first is not love at all. Placing ourselves not only before our spouse, but further dismissing the welfare of our own children is mind-bogglingly selfish. Both men have said “the kids will be fine, we just have to love them.”

Love them? Don’t get me started.

I will share with you an incredibly stupid and prideful thought I had a number of years back, that points to an immature ignorance I have happily resolved. I used to think that Archbishop Fulton Sheen was a relic of the past who had no relevant or practical advice for today’s Catholic. I hear your collective gasps echoing through the atmosphere!

Yes, shockingly, I had this ludicrous thought without so much as listening to a single talk he had given nor read a single paragraph of one of his books. Bishop Sheen, if you are reading this from heaven, I beg your forgiveness and I am forever making reparation by spreading the good news to the contrary.

Three to Get Married, is sheer genius. Page one, chapter one, “The Difference Between Sex and Love” is absolute brilliance! I offer you now a delightful morsel of the extraordinary dish that is this book.

The pleasure associated with love, or what is today called “sex,” is the frosting on the cake; its purpose is to make us love the cake, not ignore it. The greatest illusion of lovers is to believe that the intensity of their sexual attraction is the guarantee of the perpetuity of their love.

Can I get a collective wow!! I have since downloaded the app for my phone and tap into every time I get a free minute. Reread his statement above, written in 1951. Eight years before I breathed oxygen, this wise Bishop was a mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit in matters of culture, faith and morals.

So diverse. Entertaining, yet provocative and enlightening. It was as if it was in anticipation and preparation for where we find ourselves today. Here in the land where “frosting” rules and the cake is optional and disposable, lies the rotten fruit of the sexual revolution.

The thing about too much frosting is that it rots your teeth, makes you fat and can eventually numb your senses to what is true and good and beautiful.

In upcoming articles I would like to ask you to ponder out loud with me, as we dig a little deeper into the timeless wisdom that is Bishop Sheen on matters of sex and marriage. I look forward to your comments, and please, please join me, through the intercession of Bishop Sheen, to pray for all marriages, especially those in danger of divorce.


About Author

Blessed daughter, sister, wife and mother. Married to my darling husband Mark for 32 years, loved and challenged by our five young adult children. Working full time in the Diocese of Phoenix as a youth and marriage minister for over ten years. Writing for me is a means of sharing my observations of the Lord's work and Presence in everything from the smallest to the most obvious moments.