My six year old got off the school bus yesterday looking awful.
“Mom,” he said in the voice that makes him sound more like 60 than six, “I’m going to bed.”
I immediately went into Mom-mode. I felt his head. No sign of fever. I kissed his little cheek. Nothing seemed amiss, but his shoulders were slumped and he just repeated that he was going to bed.
“Okay,” I replied and, concerned, I reached to take his hand, but it was gone before I could grasp it. Suddenly the little hand that had been so close to my mine, the little boy with the sad look and slumped shoulders darted away, backing up, and laughing at me.
“April Fools!” he shouted scampering across the driveway in an attempt to outmaneuver my hands which now reached out to throttle him.
As a teacher and as a single mom of five boys I can’t believe I fell for his trick! April Fool’s Day is usually a big deal here with lots of tricks going on as the boys and I do our best to “get” each other.
It doesn’t have to be April Fool’s Day for practical jokes to occur around my house, and some of the wackiest moments aren’t intentional at the outset. They just turn into jokes and get bigger and more involved as the situation progresses, like with the “I’m the center of your world,” photos.
Practical jokes and fun times, making fools of and teasing one another in our own home is part of every day existence here. My boys are fairly quiet in public, but at home they are boisterous and often picking on one another – mostly in a good and funny way.
Home is the safe place, the place to try challenging things, the place to let down and not have to impress anyone, the place to laugh out loud until your belly hurts and tears roll from your eyes. Home is sometimes the place to be angry or sad or hurt in a way you can’t show the world too.
Home is a fine place to be made a fool because, no matter what you do, there is real Love there to embrace you.
But for many struggling in Marriage or who have experienced the bite of divorce, home is not that safe place. Many question the actions that got them to where they are now.
“How could I have been such a fool to think I would…”
“How could I have been such a fool to think he would…”
“How could I not have seen…”
There are so many ways to feel like a fool when things don’t go right. Sometimes you beat yourself up for things beyond your control. Sometimes, when a spouse walks out, it really is a one-sided action. I am still shocked by the huge number of totally one-sided divorces we see. There is truth in what I didn’t understand as a young bride:
It takes two to marry,
but one to divorce.
It’s sad. Once the ring goes on the finger, once the vows are said in front of family and friends, once that promise is made to God to care for His creation, you really do hand much control of your destiny over to another person. Yes, you will always maintain some control of yourself, of future children, and of your overall path, but you really do give the other person the reins too. In some ways and at some times, you are just along for the ride.
In Marriage, you should not lose yourself or hand over the reins for someone else to control permanently. That isn’t honoring your God given free will and it puts an unfair burden, whether he or she sees it right away or not, on your spouse, but Marriage is meant to last a lifetime and, over the course of a lifetime, there will be times when you have to take the reins and times when you will have to hand them over to your spouse.
There will be times over the course of your Marriage, when a parent dies or you get sick or are too emotionally involved in a situation or when your partner has more expertise in a given area or for some other reason, that a wise, trusting spouse allows his or her partner to temporarily make the decisions. Little can be done about this. Little should be done about this.
This sharing of burdens
is as much a part of God’s plan for Marriage
as is the sharing of laughter.
There are some who might think that after my experiences, I’d be embittered toward Men or toward Marriage, but nothing is further than the truth. God’s gifted me with five amazing sons, my Grandfather who is my Hero, and a few wonderful, faith-filled, inspirational Men who have helped me see that the actions of many men today do not reflect all Men nor who God intended Man to be. These Men give me such Joy in Hope for Marriage and help me believe in it wholeheartedly.
My husband left of his own volition. It was the perfect storm, and the other woman provided an easy out. I could have done things differently in the course of our 14 years of marriage together. I made mistakes, but none were “leave-worthy.” I had weak moments, even weak years, but those were times my husband should have picked up the reins and guided our family, as I did during his weak moments.
I could continue to mentally and emotionally beat myself up for things I did or failed to do. I could continue to point fingers at my ex for things he should have done or failed to do, but that would be another foolish waste of time.
The truth is, once we were Married, it was already over.
I could not have done anything to prevent his eventual leaving. It was his choice, but I should have done something to prevent our getting married in the first place.
Part of my belief in Marriage comes from the Wisdom of knowing Marriage and God’s plan for it are greater than me and my plans. I look back now at all the warning signs I had before getting married and realize what a fool I was for not listening, for not seeing, for thinking we would be the exception that made it through.
Marriage is a Good thing. I can’t stress that enough.
But…when we ignore signs, we foolishly play Russian roulette, the effects of our foolishness will not only affect ourselves, but little lives brought about by our union, friends and family, and even society as a whole.
Once the vows are said, you are bound to your spouse in one way or another forever. Even childless spouses who have divorced and moved far apart never completely “get over” the spouse they were married to. No matter how short a marriage was, the mark it leaves on your heart and mind remain. A married couple is inexplicably bound beyond time and space through memories and hopes and dreams. In a few rare cases, they may remain friends, but the memory of nights laying together and private jokes unite them even when they’ve moved on to new partners.
You cannot give your heart away
and expect it to be returned intact.
Marriage gives away more than your heart;
it gives your heart, your future, your promise.
Marriage is a bond that last forever
whether the court systems say so or not.
Please, don’t deny yourself the joy and love and security that comes from Marriage. I want you to experience it. God wants you to experience it. I truly believe there is nothing closer to Heaven than a Godly Marriage and Family, but you can’t have that little slice of Heaven by making foolish choices, by foolishly overlooking red flags, or by foolishly trusting someone who hasn’t asked God to complete him yet. You can’t have that Heavenly Home when your foundation is built on sand.
And believing you can is just plain foolishness. It is a foolishness that reaches beyond simple practical jokes to break hearts, shatter Hopes, and threaten faith.
It can be scary to break up a relationship you have so much invested in. It can be humiliating to call off a wedding when the invitations have been sent out and guests are in the pews. There is always some degree of fear and uncertainty when setting out on a venture as big as Marriage, but prayerful discernment can help you determine whether it is normal fear and uncertainty or whether it is your Guardian Angel warning you that this might not be right. It might not be the right time or place. It might not be the right person. It might not be the right plan for you.
It can be hard to break up a relationship, especially when you care deeply for this person. It can be hard to call off a wedding when so many people have such high expectations, but it is pure foolishness to enter into a union that is doomed. It is foolish to get Married to the wrong person or to the right person at the wrong time.
As hard as it is to break things off now, imagine how much harder it will be five, ten, or twenty-five years from now. Imagine those phone calls you’ll have to make, the Christmas cards you’ll have to write, and the looks in the grocery store you’ll get as you pass by with a few small children in tow.
Please, get Married if that is what you are called to do, but do so Wisely. There really is nothing better than a strong, Trustworthy, Loving, selfless Marriage. I want that for you. God wants that for you. But if you are choosing Mr. Right Now over Mr. Right, you are only foolishly deceiving yourself and others, including the person you claim to care the most about.
Don’t be foolish. Don’t be me and millions of other divorced people who thought they were the exception too.
Wait. Be patient. Trust in God’s plan over your own. Pray over your spouse and ask him to do the same for you. Pray together. Ask the Lord for discernment in your relationship. Watch your spouse’s reaction.
There are so many things you can do to ensure this is the right Union. Will it guarantee success in your Marriage? Of course not. Nothing is guaranteed, but it will provide layers of Love guarding your heart and your family and strengthening your defenses against foolishness that causes ruin in too many homes today.
Saturday, April 9, 2016, I will post a list of questions to ask yourself before getting Married. If you are in a relationship or thinking of starting dating, please think them over and share them with friends and family who may be doing the same. If you have questions you think should be added, please comment or email me.
Marriage is a Good thing.
Strengthen yours with patience & discernment
in addition to selfless Love!
And, as always, thanks for commenting, liking, following, and sharing!
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6 thoughts on “Thinking of Getting Married? Don’t be a Fool!”
My six year old son, my only child, played April Fools tricks on me all day on the first. And he giggled with glee every time he got me. There’s something at that age that just loves to do that. 🙂
Haha!YES, Manny! Don’t you just love this age?!? It’s impossible to not laugh with them too! 🙂
Actually I have a funny post on my son on my blog right now. If you want to read it:
“Marriage is meant to last a lifetime.” No, it always lasts a lifetime.
“Once the vows are said, you are bound to your spouse in one way or another forever.” No, you are bound to your contract ’till death. “Once the ring goes on the finger, once the vows are said… you really do hand much control of your destiny over to another person.” and also the Church thru canons 1151-55 and 1692. “No matter how short a marriage was, the mark it leaves on your heart and mind remain.” More importantly, the reality that you are a new creature – one flesh with someone else, exists ’till death. Catholic marriage discernment is a heck of a lot easier if the couple agrees on the contract first and agrees to follow canon law and govern the marriage through the Church before the secular or state. IOW, waive their claim on No-Fault divorce and acknowledge that it is grave sin to separate/divorce on own authority.
“Marriage is meant to last a lifetime.” No, it always lasts a lifetime. – Yes, John Farrell…I think you know what I meant and are pulling out whatever you can to be critical, but I’ll admit I should have been more careful in my word choice.
I think the rest of it is pretty much what I said. Sometimes I wonder if you are purposely finding fault. I don’t think I’ve seen you offer a compliment or positive word to anyone here or in Divorced & Still Catholic. I realize you are hurting and angry, but please understand that words spoken in Love will take you farther than quoting Canon Law without Love. Yes, couples should waive no-fault divorce and divorce in general, but you and I both know one spouse can decide to turn his or her back on what they once claimed to be true and there is little if anything the honest spouse can do about it.
I will pray for you and your family again today.
You’re a wise woman Strahlen…Thank you for such inspirational advice for those of us who hope to move on and get past the divorce that wasn’t meant to be but did…for opening our hearts, eyes and ears to what can be the best earthly choice of our lives if we follow such wisdom you have shared.
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