Marriage is worth it

By Mary Bruno

Chris and I watched our wedding video with our daughter on our qnniversary or “mersary,” as she calls it, a few weeks ago. We can’t relive the joys of that special day enough.

We were completely unaware at the time, but the challenges that followed would also, surprisingly, greatly enrich our marriage. As I watched us dancing together at our reception – happy as can be – it hit me like a ton of bricks that I had no idea of the long list of struggles to come.

I couldn’t have imagined how bad the physical pain from a late endometriosis diagnosis would get. I never anticipated how sad and isolated infertility would make me feel. I had no idea I would rack up 12 surgeries. Even though I had reason to, I never imagined we would go eight years without a single pregnancy.

But we exchanged “yeses” at the altar together, promising to choose love, no matter what the other side of that reception was going to look like.

Boy, have we failed many times, but, the beauty of it is that there is always another opportunity. Love is a choice that every single one of us can make daily – no matter what we did or didn’t do yesterday or how much we screwed up previously. Love is a choice that we get a new opportunity to make every single morning. It never goes out of style or becomes wasted; it only bears fruit.

And that is what has made marriage so sweet – not perfection or a life together without difficulty, but a willingness to forgive and a willingness to never stop trying.

Because I also had no idea how beautifully Chris would serve me when the pain became unbearable; how rich emotional intimacy would prove to be; how sweet suffering together could be; how many of my gifts infertility would cultivate or and how much we would love our adopted daughter as our own. It turns out that that goofy smile still applies!

As a marriage prep mentor couple, one of my favorite pieces of knowledge to impart upon each of our engaged couples is not to worry too much about the challenges that life will bring, but to use each as an opportunity to grow closer to God and to each other.

It may be hard as ever. But our relationships get the chance to grow tremendously with each struggle as we learn to rely more and more on God’s love. We can’t do any of it without his grace, which is fully available to us through the sacrament or marriage. It is a great mixture of happiness, difficulties and unknowns, but it is worth every moment.

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