Wally and I realize that probably the most important learning we’ve had in our marriage of 48 years is that WE are the sacrament… and that a sacrament is a public commitment, to be nurtured by and shared with others.
We recall an incident years ago when we had a huge argument as we were driving to a meeting of our Marriage Encounter circle of friends. One of us (we can no longer remember which one!) yelled at the other, “Why are we going to this meeting when we’re in such bad shape?” The wise reply from the other was “Where else can we go when we’re like this?”
We sensed then – and know now – that we could never last – much less grow and thrive – as a sacrament without inviting others to help us stay married. In the worst of times, that meant agreeing to go to counseling, but it also meant pleading with others to pray for us and to give us faith and hope in our vocation when we could find none.
In these later years of appreciative companionship our primary ministry as a couple is to just “be there” for other couples… most especially those struggling to hold their marriages together through the “for worse” times. We are convinced that no couple can live their vows of lifelong love and fidelity all by themselves – nor should they even try.
Our experience is that the marriage covenant is a sacrament for the wider community – and also a “co-creation” of that community.