“Marriage is a voyage of discovery. In marriage there are three people. – you, me and God!”
“Marriage is about authenticity – helping someone and being helped to become your real self.”
“Expect the unexpected at all times! And appreciate every little speck of light.”
“Marriage is like a tree; the first fruit of your love and it requires careful nurture –
care, pruning and feeding…”
“Marriage is a living sacrament you undertake without any guarantee, but in trust and faith.”
The insights above are reflections from ordinary couples about the value and challenges of married life. Marriage Week – starting on Monday 10th until Sunday 16th May – is an annual celebration of marriage and has been developed by the initiative of the Marriage Foundation, a national charity set up to tackle family breakdown by championing stable relationships within marriage. You are invited this week to celebrate your marriage and to rejoice in the lifetime of love and commitment, which has the power to transform our society!
The fundamental message of Marriage Foundation and Marriage Week is that marriage is worth investing in, because all the research shows that stable families make for happier children and grown-ups, and a happier wider community. Married couples who work at their marriage are more likely to stay together and be that stable family, leading to a happier society. Marriage Week helps people do that work.
This year’s theme is “naked marriage” and it’s not what may immediately come to mind! Given that during 2020 was a year marked by the cancellation of so many of our plans, the theme of “naked marriage” is intended to encourage us to look at the essential elements of a great married relationship, as well as to encourage those considering getting married to remember that the cost of a wedding should not be a barrier to marriage and that, unlike the many cancellations brought about by the pandemic in the last year, love itself cannot simply be cancelled and should be celebrated!
“Somebody once shared with us that in a marriage we are each’s others path to salvation. I hold onto that thought as we go through our ups and our downs. We know our path is together and we try to pause to really be present to our blessings, now and in the past. We trust each other, celebrate with gratitude our 25+ years of marriage and praise God that we found each other and that God – both personally and through our community – has walked with us as we raise our children. I believe our marriage is a powerful witness in a world divided. We have learned that when we put each other first, we grow together”
(St Joseph’s Parishioners)
So this week, there are a number of ways that you can mark marriage week:
- Celebrate your commitment to one another – If you are married, choose a time and day this week to focus on your relationship and have some fun and celebrate the commitment you made! Have a romantic night in or make the most of the easing of lockdown to treat yourselves to an evening out or a picnic together.
- Take time to be together – You may choose to sign up to a marriage enrichment course, as a way of renewing your commitment to each other. Marriage Encounter and Loving4Life both offer excellent opportunities that will strengthen your marriage for the years to come.
- Say thank you – Whether or not you are married, make a special effort this week to thank any couple that has had an impact on you. Write them a card, send them flowers or give them a call.
- Take time to pray – Even the best marriages need prayer! If you are married, take some extra time to pray for your spouse this week or book into one of our daily masses to give thanks to God for them. All parishioners probably know of a couple that particularly need prayers. Choose a couple to pray for each day of this coming week.
- Marking a special anniversary this year? – You are invited to join in a special live-stream Mass from Westminster Cathedral, celebrating significant milestones in marriage, this Saturday 15 May.
- Struggling in your marriage? – Consider getting in touch with Retrouvaille, an organisation focussed on supporting marriages in difficulty.
- Take a look at the Marriage Week website, which has lots of ideas and resources to help you keep your marriage in good stead.
Whatever stage of marriage you are, don’t forget to invest in your relationship and keep caring for it!