“John, I promise to be faithful to you for the rest of my life” – As my serene lips uttered this promise, my heart was overtaken with the fragrance of peace and joy. I cannot explain to you the headache that these words gave us prior to the wedding.
Our wedding was taking place in Colombia, my home country. Because my husband is American, the wedding was to be bilingual. We had not practiced our vows in any language as of yet. A few days before the big day, John shivered at the thought of saying his vows, especially in Spanish. If you really think about it, the rest of your life is a big deal. For us as Catholics, marriage is a Sacrament which is indissoluble. Our wedding is a big deal! It is definitely not an “ooops!” moment you have the next morning. It is a Sacrament for crying out loud! A permanent seal on each other’s souls! No wonder these vows cause anxiety!
To be totally honest, I have no idea how marriage makes any sense if you take God out of the equation. When it comes to selecting a spouse, how does anyone know he is making the right choice? Out of the 7 billion people on the planet, how on earth are you to choose a mate? What if you mess up? No wonder divorce is skyrocketing. But for me, divorce is not an option. If I give myself totally to someone, I can’t take it back! A total gift is permanent; a faithful gift is forever. The moment it stops being forever it is no longer faithful and it is no longer total; it is temporary.
Totally means that I give my life to another person of my choosing – but what if I choose the wrong person? My faith and relationship with Jesus imbued this process. Marriage is a vocation, a call from God. It is God’s plan for your life, the way he thought to sanctify and fulfill you. In fact, the choice of my spouse was not only in my hands, it was a dialogue between John, God and I. Although my eagerness to marry John was overwhelming, I was determined to be with him only if this was God’s plan for me.
Attaining the inconceivable possibility of our wedding day was almost impossible. There were so many obstacles and I started to lose hope. With my immigration status, planning an international wedding, having the priest cancel one month before the wedding, being civilly married five months prior and not living together, etc… I thought I would never marry him! The thought of this devastated me because I was enflamed with the desire to be John’s bride. We prayed together every day for these issues to be fixed. We even fasted every Friday for forty days before the wedding.
However God removed all obstacles through our faithfulness. His intervention only confirmed in my heart that He indeed was working on us being together. He was opening up a path for the beginnings of our new family. For this reason, when I said the vows, and my bridegroom promised me fidelity in return, a feeling of peace came over me. I knew that it had been God who had given John to me and I to John. It was really and truly only because of God that John and I were standing before each other at the altar on our wedding day. I knew this was not a choice I had made on my own, and I no longer questioned if I had chosen the right man. I knew I was answering a call from God.
This feeling of peace has not abandoned me. It has accompanied me throughout these first few months of marriage. Believe it or not, there have already been several difficulties; moments of discomfort when I could have asked myself, “Wow, Did I make a mistake?” But there is no greater freedom than knowing that although it may (and I expect it will) become difficult, I am exactly where God willed for me to be. This is the place where he plans to fulfill and sanctify me. This is exactly where He knows I will find the deepest joy in my life.