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Fifty Questions on Love and Life

Remaining Faithful: How Can I Remain Faithful All My Life?

The question is not whether I can remain faithful all my life when I get married, but rather whether I am determined to stay with the person I marry for life. Every day, we are called to renew the commitment we made in Church on our wedding day; to say Ďyesí in our everyday acts. I give myself to you and I receive you. To be faithful is to grow together in this mutual gift that began the day we got married and that will flourish more and more through the years. This gift needs time to grow. It is a life project to be pursued together. It is being able to say to the other: Whatever happens Iíll be with you, in good times and in bad. It is a commitment worked at together day by day.

An example of faithfulness is the woman who lost her husband after fifty years of marriage who said: We still had so many things to say to each other! To believe in the other, to hope in him or her, to be open to him or her everyday, is the road to fidelity: a road that is at times difficult, at times demanding, but also a source of great happiness and growth.

However, this state of fidelity is not safe from temptation. Indifference kills fidelity: I donít have time for you now, my career, my personal growth, my sports, my music....my friends come first. After all Iím free, I want to hold on to my freedom, etc. Little by little, communication fades away and each one lives for himself instead of for and with the other. Then a dissatisfaction arises and when faced with the tribulations of life, we are tempted to break our promise of fidelity.

We need to keep a guard on our heart, our eyes, our body and our language in order to preserve and protect our fidelity just as we would preserve something precious. The temptations of the world are strong: pornography, trivializing the sexual act, seeking my own pleasures, provocative fashion, movies that promote infidelity, etc. So many things can undermine our fidelity. It seems pretty brave to risk a promise of faithfulness, and only God can help us to keep it. The more we are helped by Godís love to stay open to each other, the stronger our fidelity will become.

The Sacrament of Marriage is the never-ending spring which we can draw from every day to nurture our faithfulness to each other. The love that has its source in God can win the gamble of fidelity. Remember the words Jesus addresses to each one of us: Do not be afraid, I am with you always, to the end of time. (Matthew 28:20)

Personal Experience

Sitting side by side on top of the mountain, we silently contemplated the valley and the magnificent panorama surrounding us. These hours of walking together are a good illustration of our growth as a couple. The mountain has been for us a school of life ever since our honeymoon when you brought me to the hills. And our chances to getaway to the glaciers give us the opportunity to assess when we need to take another step in life. Looking back, I recall our years together: we have travelled quite a way since the time of our first dreams and projects!

At the beginning, I wanted to possess you, to transform you, to shape you to my liking so that I could be one with you. It took years of arguments and conflicts before I understood that you were not me. Then I started to accept that you were different and I learned to love you for who you are.

I was bothered by your cleverness. I wasnít able to understand why we couldnít think in the same way and whenever we had discussions with friends, I never agreed with you. Then, little by little, I started to listen to you and I discovered that we really suited one another. Together, we can have a richer and fuller expression of truth.

When we first got married, I would clam up as soon as you didnít understand how I felt. I lacked a sense of humour and I didnít appreciate your awkwardness. I had to learn to express my needs more clearly... Now, we do not let a week go by without taking some time to talk and share together.

When we got married, we specifically asked God to grant us the grace to stay faithful to one another. And one day, when I stopped feeling the excitement of the beginning, I thought that I did not love you anymore. My heart started beating for someone else and I was tempted to have an affair. But deep down inside me was carved the certainty that I had at the beginning of our marriage. I felt torn and fell into a depression. After one year of hell, we discovered a charismatic prayer group and a glimmer of hope filled our hearts. I cried out to the Lord and he rescued me. We were saved. You forgave me, our love was totally renewed and now I choose you every day.

You donít often bring me flowers and I wished you would. However, I started to open my eyes and saw all your little gestures of love and I decided to make them flowers. Today, I have a garden of flowers in front of me.

We learned to become ONE. The awkward excitement of the first years turned into a tender love in which each of us tries to make the other happy.

Having received a different education, we were confronted with that issue when we had to raise our children. I was quite possessive and somewhat blind about them. I realized that I had to rely on you and that we both needed to ask the Lord for help and then act together. Now that our children are grown up, I can see how much the Lord had helped us.

Laura

Personal Experience

Two years ago, my husband passed away. He went to rejoice in Godís Glory, which he had sought throughout his whole life on earth. His physical absence does not make his Ďotherí existence less real, an existence which can only be seen through the eyes of faith. Even though this separation, after eight years of marriage, was heart-breaking, it seems to me that the graces God had given us while we were together form an imperishable heritage which continue to bear fruit. I believe that those graces flow from the Sacrament of Matrimony which God penetrated with His Trinitarian Love and by doing so, He allowed us as a couple to participate in His Covenant which He established between Christ and Humanity.

Elizabeth


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