"and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh."
Earlier in the week, I read an article in our local paper which quoted a county employee lamenting the national marriage rate saying, "Marriage goes in and out of fashion and I think right now it is not as fashionable to get married." How sad for society that marriage is viewed much like the latest fashion trend and not a divine union bestowed with lifelong graces.
As I reflect on my own marriage of thirty plus years, I see the Sacrament of Marriage as our first step in experiencing the ultimate human commitment of love and faith. Over the years, both of us have steadfastly supported one another’s personal, as well as, mutual growth. This was and is no easy task and challenges ones communication skills and tolerance often. We have worked hard to insure that our marriage has been a gift of ourselves to one another. Out of that giving we were able to expand our love outward, blessing us with the life and love of our family. It was clear to both of us, as we entered in to our marriage back in May of 1980, the enormity of our commitment to each other and God was going to be one we would have to work at daily.
The scripture readings for today present an interesting correlation between the importances of a good friendship to marriage. The word "friendship" brought to light by the wisdom book of Sirach, describes eloquently, a friend as your confidant, a sturdy shelter; a faithful friend is priceless -a life-saving remedy. I cannot think of any better words or phrases to describe the essential building blocks of a marriage. A strong friendship is in many ways like a strong union as they posses many of the same characteristics. We all have had friends and acquaintances who have entered and exited our lives. Do we want our spouse to posses the same qualities of an acquaintance as described in verses 8-12? Perhaps without these essential building blocks a partnership could never be a single soul inhabiting two bodies. Maybe before entering into marriage we need to ask ourselves:
What is a friend?
Angela Kwasinski is the Planned Giving Manager at the Province Development Office in Chicago.