On 5 May 2010, after 30 years of marriage, my husband and I re-married in the Catholic Church; we were given a "consecrated marriage," meaning "the dedication of a thing or person to divine service by a prayer or blessing." Now any marriage occurring within the Catholic Church is considered "consecrated," but since neither of us were Catholics when we first married thirty years before, we wanted God's best. Has a consecrated marriage been worth it? Has it made our marriage better? Let's find out.
Michael and Martha on their wedding day 1980
1) Married Life Before Consecration
I'd been divorced for seven years when Michael and I met in 1979, and we were married in 1980. As Protestants, and in both of our cases 'born again Christians,' we practiced our faith each Sunday, and I strove to be subject to Michael as unto The Lord. But even back then, I liked the idea of Catholicism because of what I had learned through The Natural Family Planning Newsletter, but my husband said he married a Protestant and remain one I must. So when God intervened, and Michael came into the Catholic Church a year after I did at the Easter Vigil in 2010, Father Carroll said, "It was time to get married in The Catholic Church!”
My annulment, which had taken a year, was granted the week before Michael was confirmed; thus, I had my First Communion the same night as he did. By getting married in the Catholic Church, our marriage became a Sacrament meant to draw us more fully into Christ’s grace and strength.
2) Married Life Nearing Consecration
Before our Catholic wedding Mass on the morning of 5 May 2010, I'd laid out a few items on the table to take with me. Something old–an antique locket I wore for my first marriage and the pearl earrings I wore when I married Michael in 1980. Something new-- was a silver bracelet my husband had just given me. Something borrowed–a white rosary from my youngest daughter. Something blue– was the blue garter from my marriage to Michael in 1980. And a penny for your shoe– was a 1980 penny for when we were first married and a shiny 2009 penny for when I came into the Catholic Church.
Besides, we also brought our Guest Book dating back to 1980, our first marriage, for all to sign. Yet the little miracle in all of this preparation was of my simple wedding bouquet. I'd forgotten about that bunch of flowers, but God hadn't.
While sitting in a Catholics Come Home seminar the night before, I'd heard a woman in her 70's state that she felt that she couldn’t go to Confession anymore since her first marriage had never been annulled. Afterward, I shared with her that my first marriage was annulled, and I would enter into a "consecrated marriage" the next day. If I had been able to go through with the rigors of annulment, she could too.
And then, when her marriage had been annulled, she could go back to Confession, which she longed for, which is such a huge help. She looked at me and said, "Do you have a wedding bouquet for tomorrow's ceremony?" I answered, "No." She said, "You do now." And the next morning, in front of the church's doors, was a Ball canning jar, full of water and fresh garden flowers. She hadn't forgotten. Nor had God.
3) Married Life After Consecration
Since this entry was initially written in May 2012 and it's now April 2020, this blog has taken ten years to confirm what Michael and I have experienced from a consecrated marriage. Check out our thoughts below.
Martha: "I would have to say that we've grown into a 'better team.' For example, we've gone through many family issues in these ten years, and we've been unified because God's grace has been there in even larger quantities. Also, Michael has done work on himself to become more mindful. Financially, I've worked harder about staying within my side of the budget and not overspending. He has really liked that. With emergencies, which occur in any marriage, we've enacted the RED ALERT, which means that if either of us yells that phrase, the other drops everything and comes. Aging together makes that urgent expression very important. Although, the first time I yelled it, he questioned after he arrived, "Are you sure?" I gave him a look that could have cut glass; thus, he hasn't asked that since! And finally, our communication has improved because if something is bothering me, he listens better and really tries to correct it. Overall, I'd say getting a consecrated marriage in The Catholic Church was definitely worth it!"
Michael: "To me, what has changed in our marriage over the last several years has been a proactive approach to managing the health of our relationship. To be proactive in a marriage versus reactive requires lots of work and understanding your spouse's wants, needs, and hot buttons. Now that our children are on their own, the stress that comes with raising kids has diminished. This has allowed us to focus more on each other. We have several friends who have lost their marriages, and in each case, they have told us they weren't "proactive" in staying connected as husband and wife. Our faith as Christians and recently Catholic Christians has been a glue that has held us together through some extreme challenges. The fruit to be born in consecrating a marriage is a stronger marriage and one that is honored by God through His Grace."
Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska said in her (Diary, 1208), “May You be blessed, O God, for everything You send me. Nothing under the sun happens without Your will.”
Martha Wild King, M. Ed., Author
The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.