Marital Love Is Like Fine Wine- It Gets Better With Time
We have a small family vineyard on our property called Frutto Della Vite, Italian for “Fruit of the Vine.” Harvest time is highly anticipated! We taste for the first time the fruit of our labor and savor the sweetness of the grapes. We set a small portion of the grapes aside for consumption, but the bulk of them are used to make red and white wine. My husband is our family vintner. After the grapes are harvested, the children delight in helping Dad crush the grapes. They are then set in primary fermenters to begin the fermentation process. In time, after hard work and following specific steps, the crushed grapes become wine. The longer they are left to ferment once transferred to glass jugs or oak barrels, the finer the wine tastes.
Marriage is like fine wine; when properly tended to, love grows deeper and stronger. Just like the little vine starting out that has the potential within it to bear much fruit and become the finest of wine, so also does the sacramental union of marriage have the potential to grow a deep, fruitful love between spouses as the roots of their love grow stronger over time. The inner workings of Christ in a couple’s marital union are akin to the sun and rain which provides nutrients to help the grapes grow. God gives us the nutrients we need in the form of sacramental grace and He also provides us with a recipe we can follow through scripture and the teachings of the Church. God wants us to have fruitful marriages and experience life-giving love!
I have learned many life lessons that can be applied to marriage from growing our own grapes and from witnessing my husband, through trial and error, transform our grapes into fine wine. First, we have to protect our grapes from frost, birds, insects, and anything else that would compromise the quality of the grape. Likewise, once the wine process has begun, the vessel containing the wine is sealed with an airlock which allows only carbon dioxide to escape, a byproduct of fermentation. Nothing can get in. If you open the lid, oxygen enters the jar and if left open for too long, it can destroy the entire batch of wine, leaving a bitter taste. Our marriages need to be protected just like the grapes and the wine. Many things in life can cause damage to or even completely destroy the beauty and holiness of the marital union. We have to put hedges around our marriages to minimize the threat of outside influences that can compromise the quality of our love for our spouse.
Christ said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). When I stroll through our vineyard, my eyes are often drawn to the strength and integrity of the vine. The fruit is appealing and beautiful, but the vine is large and strong, and bears the weight of the fruitful branches that spring forth from it. If I were to cut a branch off from the vine it would die and no longer produce fruit. Likewise, our marriages need to stay connected to Christ, the source of our strength, integrity and grace. When you are connected to God, you become the best version of yourself and in turn your marriage is equipped to grow into the design that God envisioned when He brought you and your spouse together. God has a plan for your marriage!
We store our wine barrels in our basement and as the ingredients (sugar, tannins, acid, resveratrol and pectin) slowly mix together, the aroma is amazing! It permeates throughout our home. Marital love is also called to permeate throughout your home as your two lives over time blend into one through facing together daily challenges, rejoicing in triumphs, and offering everything as one union to Christ.
At the wedding feast at Cana, the best wine is saved until the end. It is the water that Jesus turns into wine. We are told in scripture that this action “manifested his [Christ’s] glory” (John 2:11). Christ wants to manifest His glory in our marriages! Our marital love, made fine over time by our cooperation with His grace, is a witness to the love Christ has for us.