Deacon Eugene couldn’t have said it better: Catholics put in a lot of effort to prepare. There’s the period of Lent leading up to Jesus’s passion and Easter. There’s the Advent, a time to prepare for the birth of Jesus.
For couples about to get married, there’s Pre-Cana. It’s a day and a half seminar to discuss how marriages become stronger when God is at the center of a married couple’s life.
There were three items that made an impact on the way I view marriage.
1) How to balance being honest about what you think/feel and accepting your spouse for who he/she is – Each person has a different attitude and a different way of thinking. Nobody’s perfect, just as I am not perfect. Being able to balance accepting your spouse’s imperfection and practicing honesty is one of the keys to a harmonious marriage. Offering constructive criticism is more helpful than merely pinpointing your spouse’s faults. And remember that you can’t change your spouse. He/She has to find it in her to change. All you can do is support him/her along the way.
2) Don’t lose yourself in the marriage but learn to balance that with who your spouse is – Your spouse expects you to be a certain way, and it’s not bad to try and meet (or exceed) that expectation. If your spouse expects warm home-cooked food after work, it won’t hurt to try your hand at cooking. You might be surprised and enjoy it. Plus, you get to develop a new skill. Keep in mind, as well, that you have your own identity. Know what you want/like. Get a hobby. Do something that’s based on what you want (as long as it’s within the limits of morality and, of course, marriage). Losing who you are can cause a rift in a relationship.
3) It takes THREE to make a relationship work: You, your spouse and God – Society tells us that “it takes two to tango.” In a Catholic marriage, a couple needs the grace of God. Marriage is not a bed of roses. There are temptations all around you. One day you’re happy, and the next you’ll have to deal with a crisis. Everything may be too much to bear, but remember that with God all things are possible. Remember to keep Him in the center of your marriage. When He rules in your marriage, His grace will touch not only your relationship but also your relationship with your children.