I’ve always remembered a piece of advice my father gave me: “Marriage is the hardest work you’ll ever do.”
It was unusual for my Dad to voice his exasperation with my Mom. He worshipped the ground she walked on from the moment they wed until the day he passed in March 2014. With that long-ago remark, however, he showed me that even the best, strongest marriages are indeed built on extremely hard work.
Mom and Dad married in a Catholic church in Baltimore, Maryland, the evening of June 29, 1957. Dad was a cradle Catholic and Mom was Methodist. At that time, being married to a non-Catholic in a Catholic ceremony was somewhat unusual. I’m sure my parents received strict warnings from the priest who married them than they would encounter serious difficulties as they hailed from different faith traditions. Against the odds, my parents enjoyed a long, happy, and successful marriage.
Like my Dad, I was raised Catholic. I attended Holy Family School for eight years followed by four years at the now-defunct all-girls’ Marywood High School.
Also, like Dad, I married a non-Catholic on June 29, 1985. I am fortunate to be celebrating the 34th year of a happy marriage to my husband, Les. We have raised three happy, healthy and successful children – Ben, 28, a writer; Sean, 24, a high-tech salesman; and Emma Rose, 21, a college student – all of whom were baptized in the Catholic Church.
I agree with Dad that marriage takes commitment, patience, a lot of love, and a tremendous amount of work. It also requires the strength and endurance of two people who share the belief in marriage as a holy sacrament and a precious gift from God.
He and Mom showed me every day by example how two people deeply committed to each other could rise above their differences to make a marriage thrive and create a loving, Christ-filled home. I often think of their union, their happy times and hard times, and how they successfully navigated the 24/7 demands of being married.
I know that both Dad and I married our best friends and our soul mates. Les is my favorite person in the world and has been since we met in 1978. I love talking to him, watching movies with him, traveling with him, sitting quietly with him, caring for his needs, and raising our children with him.
Yes, there have been hard times. There are days when I dislike him intensely – and I know he feels the same about me. There were lean years when we barely had enough money to pay rent, and there are now thankfully more fortunate times. Through it all, happy, sad, mournful or joyful, we have kept our commitment to each other.
I hope to enjoy many more years of happily-ever-after with my husband. I pray that Les and I continue to provide our kids with the best example of how a committed marriage – between loving partners, Catholic or non-Catholic – can thrive for a lifetime. And I eagerly await the time when we can share all these things, together, with our future grandchildren.