When it’s not Valentine’s Day

The other day a friend shared his daughter’s wedding video with me. It was extraordinary. Every detail was exquisitely captured, every frame was packed with emotion, and each image showed a couple who were loved and in love.
Watching it made me smile—and tear up a little, as weddings always do. Weddings often present marriage as a fairy tale. And I’m a fairy tale kind of person. Marrying my husband was the best decision I ever made, and saying yes to his proposal on Valentine’s Day 13 years ago is one of my most treasured memories. We have enjoyed 12 beautiful years of marriage, and I look forward to all the future brings for us together.
But watching that couple vow to love each other also left me thinking about marriage and that leap of faith couples take.

For better or for worse.
For richer, for poorer.
In sickness and in health.
What optimists we are to believe that with this one person by our side, we will be strong enough to navigate whatever life might bring, no matter the challenge, no matter the trial.
After all, not every day is Valentine’s Day. Life isn’t all boxes of chocolates and beautiful cards and bouquets of roses. Most of the days are ordinary. Some are tense or difficult. Some are heartbreaking. The unexpected twists and turns can be difficult to navigate, even with the best partner pulling for and with you.
That’s where the sacrament comes in. That’s where that third person in marriage lends a hand—or holds you in His hands. That’s when you discover you—or your spouse—have an even deeper capacity for courage or talents or strength than you realized because you are not alone.
That’s when you see God’s hand in your lives in a remarkable way. That’s when you realize the depth and breadth of the love within a marriage.
God is love.
Love is a baby born in a stable. Love is also death on a cross.
Marriage doesn’t always come with lovely background music, and there aren’t always chocolates or flowers. But with God walking with you through your marriage, you will have all that you need.
Even when it’s not Valentine’s Day.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.