The scriptures speak of marriages occurring even till the end of time. Most of us want someone to share our life with, but too often, such unions fail. Why? I asked my daughter Hannah Eaton, who recently married as a newly-confirmed Catholic. Here is her heartfelt answer worth reading.
The Frugal Catholic--What have you noticed is diffenent about your marriage versus the marriages of your non-Catholic friends?
Hannah Eaton--When Albert and I met, we both had the standard order of faith that adults our age do: we believed in God, as long as it didn't get in the way of Sunday football. It was more profound than being spiritual, yet very far from being devoted or committed.
Skip ahead a couple of years--one fat black lab, living in a tiny home that never stops smelling like pasta sauce, a wicker basket of clean laundry, and another for almost clean laundry--you'll find us both at mass, every Sunday. EVERY Sunday. However, it was a long road to get here.
Our actual wedding day was an absolute mess. The photographer, whom I had hired through Facebook, didn't show up. A relative dropped out of the wedding party just days before, and the baker for the red-velvet wedding cake either forgot or decided not to put sugar into the mixture. A limited number of family and friends came because of COVID. And the number of religious affiliations from those who attended spanned from Wiccan to whatever it is Justin Bieber keeps singing about in his faith journey. It felt like chaos, and it was. Until we were there at the altar, and then it was the closest thing I have felt to peace.
This is why. When we took our vows, God was there. The Holy Spirit was there. Jesus was there. It wasn't an "I do contract." It was a "we do contract."
You can feel that kind of contract love from the photos I have seen on Facebook of our friends kissing in tuxedos and white dresses against a mountaintop backdrop. That wasn't what happened with us. It was faith because it wasn't love we were committing ourselves to.
Here we are six months later. After we miscarried our first child in the summer, it wasn't love for each other we held onto to understand why our baby went to Heaven before us: it was faith that we clung to. Even cried out to. Love did not help me survive that because love is for me, BUT faith is for three.
So, we miss out on many things from being a devout Catholic couple: Such activities as skiing on the weekends, vacations, even little things like catching up on sleep or getting the laundry from the clean basket folded. I see other couples our age or in the same state in their marriage showcasing their love by what they're doing. When I see those photos now, they make me feel tired. To trade faith for love would be exhausting because love takes ugly turns; it runs out; it lets you down. Belief in a marriage stays, grows, survives, holds you both when neither can hold each other.
I want three in our marriage. I need three in our marriage. That is what being a Catholic couple has given us.
Hannah and Albert Eaton
Martha Wild King, M.Ed., Author
The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.