Fifteen years ago I said, “I do” to my wonderful husband. We were just 23 years old, but we knew that our lives were meant to be joined to each other in Holy Matrimony. We started dating the summer before our junior year in college when we were just 19 years old. It was only a few months into our relationship that we knew we were going to get married. I know every young romance thinks of marriage, but I knew, and he knew. The only problem was we were 19 and still needed to finish college.
It was a wonderful courtship. We both attended the Catholic Church on campus and became involved in the Neumann Center . My future husband sang in the choir at mass and the college chaplain was our mentor. It really was an ideal place to meet, fall in love and get married. We still see and keep in touch with many friends we made during this time. They continue to bless our lives today as many are also married with children, living holy single lives, or were called to the priesthood or religious life.
When we decided to get married there were plenty of people who thought we were too young. Many people thought we needed to travel the world or settle into careers before getting married. I heard what they were saying, but there was nothing more I wanted in life to be married to my love. You see, this relationship was different. We weren’t just dating each other and seeking our own pleasures in life. We were striving to be close to God and to be holy. I know it is not what most young couples think about these days or even 15 years ago. That was our focus then and now. We had dated each other for almost 4 years before our wedding day. It was a long 4 years of being faithful to God and each other. We knew we were young, but we were putting God at the center of our lives. We trusted that God would see us through.
Oh, the eye rolls we encountered. People doubted us. Nobody wanted to hear about God being at the center of our life. No wanted to hear that we were ready to build our lives together. No one wanted to hear that we loved each other and were striving to be holy. Sometimes it was hard to get excited ourselves, but like I said, we just knew it was right.
Now, 15 years and 4 children later, do I regret our decision? NO WAY!!! It was the best decision of my life (and his too I believe). I would not change anything over the last 15 years. We supported each other in our careers. We worked hard together to have the material things we have. We became parents together. We have mourned the loss of many loved ones. We grew up and made sure we grew together. We have traveled together and with children. We have changed physically and emotionally. Yet there is one thing that has remained the same, God comes first in our life.
We have had our share of hard times, but it is Christ who has shown us how to get through them. We have learned love is not a feeling, but an action that we choose. There are days that we have to force ourselves to be loving while other days love flows much easier. Having 4 children is time consuming, but we make the time for each other. Sometimes our only moment is at 3 am after a nighttime feeding. There are times when the most loving act we can offer is a clean kitchen. We choose to recognize these treasures and know it is the season of our lives right now.
I love him more now than the day I married him. Marriage is difficult. I understand the loving concern of those who doubted us back then. Society doesn’t help the cause of Holy Matrimony. Love can be a fleeting emotion, but when you turn it into a verb it is the most powerful action, 1 Corinthian 13:8 Love never fails!!!!
So to my love, my partner, my husband, the father of my children, thank you for the most amazing 15 years of my life. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I look forward to many more years as your wife. May God continue to bless our marriage today and everyday. I love you!! Fran