The “Love Story Project” continues! Since the original 15 testimonies posted in February 2018, leading us to this celebration of St. Valentine’s day in 2018, couples continue to share with us their “Love Stories” and drawing us closer to the Source of their love. The beauty of a sacramental marriage extends well beyond the St. Valentine’s day, all through life. Here is another proof: happy reading!
Brechje: “I could not believe I would ever have a happy marriage. I did not have that experience as my own parents were divorced. But it happened! I have been married to Edwin for almost eighteen years and I still think: “This is the best thing I ever did!”
Edwin: “We knew each other from an Emmanuel youth group. We had been friends for years, without something ‘romantic’ coming up. Until … the love was there one day. I have always hoped and prayed that a love relationship would come from a real friendship and that is what happened. ”
Brechje: “Because we both had a relationship with someone else before, we decided to take it very slowly. We did not want to bump our nose again. We decided that we would expand our friendship further. So it took a month or so before we kissed… During the first year we had moments of doubt. However deep in my heart I felt that – even if we were in the deepest valley – I did love Edwin. As if there was a feeling in the deepest of my heart: it is good. ”
Edwin: “After a year of dating, the relationship became more stable. There were fewer moments of doubt and we did a lot together. For example, we once did the children program during an Emmanuel gathering. We enjoyed working and doing things together – we lived separately and didn’t have a sexual relationship. We felt that love was growing and getting stronger.”
Brechje: “One afternoon, Edwin thought we should talk. He asked me how we would go on? I was shocked by that. Because I did not dare to think about a marriage, because I feared a divorce. I did not want that to happen to me. But I did not want to lose Edwin either, he was my best friend. Actually, I found this a very difficult question …
We decided to bring this question – whether we should marry or not – before God. We both went to a monastery for a weekend. Edwin to a ‘monks’ convent and I to sisters.
The first day I could not ask my question to God. I walked, ate and slept and that was it. The next day I had to, because the end of the weekend was nearing. I went to the chapel and I would imagine for one hour one option: to marry Edwin and then for an hour the other possibility: not marry Edwin…
In the silent chapel, where Jesus himself was present in the Eucharist, I imagined that I was going to marry Edwin. Very quickly I felt a great joy. A joy that was not human – such as being happy with a gift – but one that fulfilled my whole being. This was good, I knew it. After that hour I wanted to present the other possibility – not marry Edwin – to God. I expected that I would feel very sad with that option. That seemed logical to me. To my surprise, that was not the case. That was good too: I would live my life together with God.
He (with a capital letter) really gave me the choice: it was both good!”
Edwin: “I also experienced during my reflection days that it was good to say ‘yes’ to each other. In the monastery I had to get up at four o’clock in the morning for the morning prayer. Then I really discovered that both marriage and monastic life is about giving yourself.
On that Sunday afternoon somewhere in October 1999 we decided that we were getting married. From that day on we never doubted again or felt any fear to marry. We did that ten months later on August 26, 2000. Our relationship has never become sexual until our marriage. Even though we may have had difficulty in arguing ‘why this waiting was necessary’, we believed that God really asked us to wait. Actually, it wasn’t that hard, although the desire was there of course.”
Edwin & Brechje: “Now we have been married for almost eighteen years. We have three children and that is an incredibly big gift. Even though there are sometimes difficulties in our lives, the love for each other is strong, much stronger than we ever dared to dream!”