Shelly Henley Kelly considers the importance of the Holy Spirit's gift of Courage (Fortitude) in strengthening our marriage during difficult times.
Two months before our wedding, my fiancé delivered the news that he'd left his job because of its toxic environment. A few days later, I talked to my grandmother on the phone, brooding, “Why? What is going to happen to us now?” Surprisingly, she confided to me that when she and Grandpa married, he didn’t have a job either.
“Honey,” she said, “you’re going to face much worse things together than losing a job. There’s a whole life for you to live, and you’ll be strong because you’re facing it together.”
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. ( Marriage Vows)
When a couple exchanges their wedding vows, they’re usually focused on the day’s happiness. Future troubles, bad times and sickness, are in a distant future.
Until it happens.
Car trouble. Job loss. Uncertainty. Anxiety. The unexpected death of a parent. Or a child. Numbing grief.
These, among others, are the trials that threaten to shake our faith, both in each other and in God. And it is in these moments, we turn to the Holy Spirit, seeking the gift of Courage or Fortitude.
Fortitude … strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. [It] enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. (CCC 1808)
Building a marriage on a strong foundation of faith in a Covenant with God and your spouse means you have something and someone to hold onto during times of affliction. The gift of courage shows itself in moral strength, determination, patient endurance, long suffering, a resolute spirit, stamina, and resiliency.
Affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Romans 5:3c-5)
With Courage, we are able to face any trial and suffering, no matter how mundane or overwhelming. Marriage is a partnership of the whole of life, the good times and the bad.
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Building a marriage on a strong foundation of faith in a Covenant with God and your spouse means you have something and someone to hold onto during times of affliction. #catholicmom
Looking back after 26 years of marriage, I thank God every day for the gift of courage. Today, examine your marriage and see where God, the Holy Spirit, was present in the trials of your life. See where the gift of Courage (or Fortitude) empowered you to persevere.
Copyright 2022 Shelly Henley Kelly
About the Author
Shelly Henley Kelly
Shelly Henley Kelly is a daughter of God, a Martha who strives to be Mary, living in the world, but not of the world, perpetually busy as breadwinner, wife, mother, catechist, and ACTS sister. A published author, Shelly writes about being a working mom and catechist at SoundMindAndSpirit.com and can be heard on various podcasts at SQPN.com.