Today I’m taking a day off of work. Twenty five years ago today my wife and I were in a lawyer’s office in downtown Guatemala City signing the legal documents that would make us married, legally speaking, in Guatemala. In Guatemala the only people able to marry people are lawyers, not priests, pastors or anyone else. Most people have the legal ceremony the week before the Church wedding, because that’s just how they do it.
So we did that and then submitted her visa request to the US Embassy and I went back to my duty station and waited for things to process. In late October we were married in the Episcopal Cathedral in Guatemala City in a bilingual ceremony. The place was full and I had only my parents and sister in attendance from my side of the family.
Twenty Five Years Later
I was all of 22 and my wife was 19. So, we’ve grown up together in many ways. Our faith has grown together. We are raising a son and a daughter. Our son is the now the age when we married. We have tried, very imperfectly, over the years to raise them with the idea they are not ours ultimately, but God’s. We have had our share of major and minor catastrophes. We’ve lived in Hawaii, Upstate New York, Guatemala City, Atlacomulco in Mexico, and now here in the suburbs of Chicago. We’ve moved 12 times. We’ve attended 8 different churches. Officially members of only three.
Together we’ve learned each others language and each others country’s ways of doing things. We’ve learned each others strengths and weaknesses. We know what foods the other likes. Lots and lots of little and big things. A whole life together: we have both been now married longer than we were unmarried.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Somehow marriage is a picture of Christ and His Church. What a mystery. A profound mystery Paul says. And I have to say after 25 years of it, indeed it is. How does a marriage work: a lot of work, tears, prayers, sleepless nights, passion filled nights, disagreements and making up. It’s finding all the ugly things in ourselves. It’s finding something greater by the combination of our talents. It’s Love in action: Christ in us. What a divine mystery. What glorious union. How? Only God knows.
Soli Deo Gloria