Marriage: Total SurrenderThe definition of the sacrament of marriage, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is “the covenant ... by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a communion of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring.” (#1601) From the expression “a communion of the whole life” we can understand that marriage is irrevocable and requires total surrender from one spouse to another, without which communion is impossible. Nowadays it is very difficult for people to understand this concept of total surrender, because we live in a selfish society where the “self” is first. But for a happy marriage to be possible, it is important that both husband and wife are willing to give themselves totally to each other and do this exercise throughout their marriage life. Without demanding anything in return, trying every day to give a little more of themselves, for that is what they promised each other at the altar before God. On the wedding day, in fact, we give nothing to the other, we just promise to be faithful in joy and sadness, in health or sickness, in all circumstances that life presents, until death. You must take this promise seriously, for your own happiness, the happiness of the other, and especially the happiness of your children, the fruits of this conjugal love. Love is not a feeling, but a commitment to work and care for others; it is like a bonfire that needs to be continually fed with small twigs, otherwise it goes out. And these twigs are the sacrifices we make for the good of the other, killing our selfishness to make the other happy. As we promise total surrender, we cannot place any conditions on it. The conditions that usually appear and tempt us are as follows: - Time conditions: I don't have time to dedicate to my spouse, there is always something more important to do, such as taking care of the children, the house, the extended family, the work. I need to be aware that my husband (my wife) is my first priority. If you don't take care of it, everything else falls apart. - Conditions of disposition: “Now I cannot, because I am tired.” That is, I only do something to please or take care of the other when I am willing. This condition also reveals that the "I" comes before the "you" and does not help build a healthy marriage. - Taste conditions: “I don't do it because I don't like it” is another expression of selfishness that kills love. I must try to do what pleases the other, even if it is not pleasant to me. - Conditions on forgiveness: “I only forgive if you apologize” or “I only forgive if you do this or that.” Forgiveness must always be unconditional. I forgive because I love, and that's it! I forgive because I also need forgiveness. I need to seek self-knowledge to see that I also have defects that the other ends up bearing. Those who realize personal misery have more mercy on the faults of others. This total surrender is not possible if we rely solely on our own strengths. Our nature is selfish because of the stain of original sin, so only with the grace of God and the specific grace we receive on the day of the sacrament of marriage can we be victorious in this struggle. When we get married, the covenant is not just between husband and wife, but between both and God. So we must always turn to this essential partner of our marriage covenant for all the graces needed to live the sacrament as it was dreamed for us. We can always count on the help of Our Lady, who, since the wedding at Cana, helps spouses so that nothing is missing, especially the wine of true love.
Copyright 2019 Flávia Ghelardi
About the Author
Flávia Ghelardi is the mom of four, a former lawyer already "promoted" to full time mom. Flávia published her first book FORTALECENDO SUA FAMÍLIA and is a member of Schoenstatt´s Apostolic Movement. Flávia loves to speak about motherhood and the important role of women, as desired by God, for our society. She blogs at www.fortalecendosuafamilia.blogspot.com.