by Deacon Tony Zimmerman
Not so long ago, I was privileged to meet a couple who had just celebrated 81 years of marriage.
I asked about their secret to 81 years of marriage. With a twinkle in her eye she replied, “It’s simple. I let him have my way!”
Sitting in the joy of their presence was like being in a room full of morning sunshine.
Shortly thereafter, her health began to decline. She was moved from their apartment in the retirement center to a room in the nursing unit area. She was not improving and continued to struggle.
Her husband told those involved in her care that she would not thrive as long as they were separated. He insisted on giving up the comforts and home-like feeling of their apartment to move to her much smaller room designed mainly for her nursing needs.
He knew that they needed each other. He gave “flesh and blood” meaning to their promise to be faithful, to be there for each other no matter what — in good times and bad, in sickness and in health.
Once again, it is time to celebrate National Marriage Week (Feb. 7-14) and World Marriage Day (Feb. 9).
The theme chosen for this year’s celebration is: “Stories from the Domestic Church.” We call the family “the little, or domestic, church.”
How we as married couples answer our call to love within our families and community is vital to the life of the church and the world.
We can choose to be a source of light and hope or unattractive and ordinary. Our love can be “salt for the world” that brings flavor and life to those around.
I urge you to enter into this time of “enlivening your marriage” by taking advantage of the following opportunities:
• Attend the World Marriage Day Mass to be celebrated by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and Bishop James V. Johnston at the Church of the Ascension in Overland Park at 11:45 a.m. on Feb. 9.
There will be a blessing for married couples. A reception will follow Mass. Families are welcome!
• Experience “Stories from the Domestic Church Virtual Marriage Retreat.” You’ll find seven inspirational stories from different married couples with reflection questions for you as a couple.
You’ll have seven date nights and a retreat to share all in the comfort of your home.
• Experience the “Living in Love” retreat on Feb. 15-16 at the St. Lawrence Center at the University of Kansas, complete with a romantic dinner on Saturday night.
• Experience the Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend from Feb. 28-March 1.
Enter into the celebration. Let your light grow brighter as a guide for all to see.