Tears ran down my face as I stood frustrated in our little apartment kitchen not sure what to say. I had already said too much. The dark thought flitted into my mind. Why did I even get married to him if it was going to be like this?
I don’t even remember what that argument was about those long years ago when we were so young, money was so tight, and our future was not sure—we were still trying to get my husband through grad school and the job market in his field was tenuous.
Yet, we had freely entered into the Sacrament of Matrimony with the proper intentions, knowing that it was for life with the intention of being open to having children—for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sickness, and in health.
For poorer and for worse was not exactly easy—Why were we doing this difficult thing? Why did we strive to work it out?
The apostles in today’s Gospel find the teaching of Jesus on lifelong marriage difficult. They exclaim after His teaching on divorce, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” (Matthew 19:10)
And Jesus responds that, “Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted.” (Matthew 19:11)
We might ask: to whom is it granted?
From the beginning it was not so, but then man and woman sinned. Moses’ command allowing divorce was to a hardhearted, fallen chosen people awaiting the atonement of a savior. The Apostles, before the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, could not understand.
We fell from grace, but grace restored all things to us. Christ, when He established the Church, raised God’s creation of marriage up to the level of a Sacrament. Because of grace, marriage can be what it was meant to be: a lifelong covenant for the sanctification of the couple and the filling of the world with more beautiful humans created in the image of God.
But in the midst of this messy life, it is easy to forget that God takes care of us no matter how hard it is to be married. Sometimes we forget that the seemingly impossible vocation we are living is possible because it is a Sacrament, a sign Christ established through which we can receive His grace and become holy.
His grace is just waiting for us to ask. God has joined you together, and God will see you through to eternity.
If you are married, turn to Him, the creator of marriage whether you are struggling or things are going well, and He will give you His help to live more fully as two become one. If you are single, place your future in His hands and ask Him for a vocation, a calling, that will truly bring you closer to Him—for ultimately that is what our life is for.
Susanna Spencer once studied theology and philosophy, but now happily cares for her three adorable little girls, toddler boy, and her dear husband in Saint Paul. She loves beautiful liturgies, cooking delicious meals, baking amazing sweets, reading good books, raising her children, casually following baseball, and talking to her philosopher husband. You can find out more about her here.