Contrary to popular belief, marriage is not meant to make us happy; it’s meant to make us holy. As a vocation, marriage is a pathway to holiness where each spouse accompanies the other through the joys and sorrows of life, helping them to grow in love and spiritual maturity.
Difficulties in marriage are inevitable. There are times in every marriage where external forces will bring stress into the relationship. These are the high ‘growth’ periods; though often unpleasant, they are the times when we learn more about ourselves and God’s love for us.
The psychology of happiness tells us that happiness is an inside job. In other words, our level of happiness is set by our attitudes and expectations, not by external things such as the job we have, how much money we earn, whether we have the ideal spouse. When we rely on our spouse to provide our happiness, we not only burden them with an impossible task, we also deny ourselves the opportunity for spiritual growth.
Marital Holiness Quiz:
How attuned are you to the ‘holiness-growing’ opportunities in your marriage?
1. When I feel unhappy or frustrated in my marriage…
a) I tend to blame my spouse
b) I tend to blame myself
c) I offer it up to God and pray for serenity
2. When things are tough between us…
a) I think ‘I probably married the wrong person’
b) I think about how inadequate I am
c) I think about how God might want me to respond
3. When things are great between us…
a) I tend to see it as my spouse finally getting it right
b) I tend to take credit for it myself
c) I praise God for the blessing of my spouse
4. When my spouse is being difficult…
a) I tend to see him/her as inferior to me
b) I think ‘I don’t deserve this’
c) I try to see my spouse through God’s eyes
Mostly A’s: you tend to project your marital challenges onto your spouse rejecting the opportunity to grow spiritually.
Mostly B’s: you tend to rely on yourself to fix things, shutting out God.
Mostly C’s: You are well on your way to making God your partner in marriage.
Authors: Byron & Francine Pirola
This Article featured in the June 2012 edition of the CathFamily e-Magazine. For more, check out