Column: Couples challenged ‘to become one’ every day of married life

by Jacki Corrigan

I don’t know how it happened! It was a “kaboom” experience. Suddenly, without warning, another area of incompatibility burst into our marriage.

For all our years of marriage, we have long enjoyed the cooler side of life; or, as some of our children might say, the frigid side of life. In the winter, we always kept our bedroom window opened just a bit, to give a frosty feel to our sleep. As we aged, the window is now closed but the one blanket rule was still in effect — at least until the kaboom hit.

Now, as someone who never wore a coat in winter, I’m enjoying a sweater in summer. As someone who never feared the ceiling fan in our bedroom, a chill runs through my spine when its first whisper of air floats near me.

Differences in a relationship can be a nuisance or a major divide.

This one is a nuisance. As we have spent decades working on our dissimilarities, we expected to conquer them, not add new ones to our list. I fully realize that I was the one who dipped from an internal warm thermostat into more of a glacial zone. Yet, I know that we are committed to the vow we made so many, many years ago to work and honor the call laid before us: “The two shall become as one.” So with snuggly socks, a heavy sweater, mittens in my pocket and earmuffs on my Christmas list, I stand ready to answer that call.

We dare to stand up to the invitation and challenge “to become one” — not because we have our act together, but because we have seen the graces of our sacrament work in our life despite our shortcomings. We have been softened. We have struggled and survived despite the differences.

We have been blessed to stand on the shoulders of giants. We are the product of other married couples who have loved us unconditionally, thus modeling gracious love — love that endures, forgives, comforts and challenges. They are the stepping stones of our marital journey. We have confided in them and relied on their support. We have laughed and cried together. They are the Velveteen Rabbits of our life.

We have been and continue to be formed by our Catholic faith, which lays before us the beautiful, unwavering truths that are pure and untouched by the popular culture. We are guided and nourished by the noble invitation to live as sons and daughters of the God of mercy.

With such a lineage of love surrounding us, we will conquer our differences.

Now, where are my mittens?

Please visit the archdiocesan family life Web page to view the many areas of support for your marriage from the U.S. Catholic bishops at: www.archkck.org.

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