Don’t You Want to Know?

Eleven years as a priest has afforded me interesting opportunities. I love being a minister and I have favorite things that I love doing as a priest. I love serving the homeless under the Socks N’ Sandwiches Project and I love doing Pre-Marriage Pastoral Care. Working with couples who are “in love” is fun and interesting to say the least. I developed a study booklet for couples which seems to expand as I see and hear new or unusual experiences from my couples. I just want to know from couples: “Don’t you want to know?” Don’t you want to know if what you feel is real, if this is the right time? If you are really in love then you do not have anything to fear. Right?

Couples approach marriage like children on Christmas morning with their eyes aglow seeing the beautifully wrapped gifts but not knowing what is inside of the packages. I have my couples open their gifts before Christmas. I want them to know what they are getting at least as much as they can know. I work with inner city youth and I raised a son so I tend to not sugar-coat things but prefer to be very direct, keeping things real. I do the same thing with my couples. I pose the hard questions that they may not think about asking each other. It is wonderful to be in love but what does that mean? How deep is your love? What is your concept of love?

The sessions are 1-2 hours a week for eight weeks; some couples require extra sessions. I give them a view of God that they may have never thought about. It begins with them taking a look at themselves; their identity. If they do not know who they are and appreciate who they are how can they appreciate someone else or have that someone appreciate them? Then we discuss what it means to be a husband and a wife.

There have been couples who have dodged me and gone elsewhere because they did not want to deal with the crevices in their wall of love. People get married for many reasons: business, money, sex, loneliness or for the children. It is their choice, but I want to give couples a fighting chance to work it out successfully. I want to give them a sense of a foundation to build on. Are all my couples still married…no; but there are more who are still married. Couples spend more time and energy in preparing for one day rather than the rest of their lives. They put thousands of dollars into the wedding and find themselves bankrupt in marriage. They have to grasp God in the midst of their relationship; put God out front and the marriage has a mighty chance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8defines love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Build your marriage on God and on truth and your foundation will be firm.