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In Defense of \’Marriage is Work\’

March 22, AD2014 35 Comments

\"Emma

Editor\’s Note: This is a guest post from a young woman and it exemplifies a gracious response. She wrote as a young woman engaged to be married and excited about her faith, yet was criticized for not writing as something she is not, a woman with years of experience being married. Please join us in offering her support.

Simcha Fisher responded to my article.

Simcha Fisher.

I was thrilled to hear that I’d gotten the attention of Mrs. Fisher and that she had not only read my piece, but had decided that it was good enough – or bad enough – to merit a response on her part.

After reading her response and the responses of others in the comments, I reread my original post and decided that a couple of things needed to happen on my end.

I need to rectify, clarify, and apologize for a couple of things, in the hope that the meaning and intention of my words might not be forever lost in the web of the internet.

First, I must admit, that when I wrote my article I did so with the humble intention of sharing a reflection I had. I never once meant it to be a prideful suggestion that I and my fiancé are perfect. Yet, rereading it, I can see where a certain amount of hubris came across. I was – and am – definitely mortified at the idea that the vast world wide web read my piece with any ere of pride or conceit. I ask your apology if it came off that way, and I thank you, wonderful readers, commenters, Simcha Fisher, for bringing to light the idea that I may have come off as prideful of my own abilities and those of my soon-to-be husband.

Thank you.

However, with the suggested – though wholly unintended – hubris aside, I have to address an issue which has arisen from my previous post. Most, if not all, of the critiques were in the form of “you can’t know that your husband will never cheat.”

My mom tells a story of a conversation she once had with my uncle as my sister and I were approaching our teenage and high school years. My uncle, meaning well, and having gone through this before my mom, told my mom to expect that my sister and I would somehow become involved in drinking, drugs, or promiscuity. It would happen. It just does. That’s what happens in the teenage years. My mother responded that her daughters would never have those issues.

My uncle replied that my mom could not know that, she didn’t know what trials we would face in the future, and that she ought to be prepared. She could hope that wouldn’t be our problem, but she couldn’t know it. My mother disagreed. She knew her daughters. She knew how they’d been raised. She knew our relationship and our family and she knew that those problems were not coming our way.

Oh, doubtless other problems would come our way, and they did. But not those problems. We struggled with depression, loneliness, anger, disobedience, and disrespect. But my sister and I never became entangled in the web of promiscuity, drinking, and drugs which my uncle seemed to believe were so unavoidable for teenagers. My mom knew that ahead of time and she knew it in the deepest recesses of her soul where reason doesn’t touch, but isn’t needed. And she was right.

Likewise, I have no doubt that my husband and I will have plenty of problems. We will hurt one another, abuse one another, sin against one another, and of this I have no doubt. We will face trials, we won’t like each other very much at times, we won’t always get along, and occasionally I will flat out wish he lived in a different state. I understand this. We’ve already let each other down, hurt, and sinned against one another too many times to count. How many confessions have I gone to and cried over the hurt I’ve inflicted on him and in his life?

Of course one cannot know the future, in the sense of having 100 percent certainty. I suppose there is even some infinitesimal chance that the sun will not rise tomorrow, and it is certainly much more dicey to predict human behavior.  However, sometimes there are things that people can know, in the sense of having tremendous confidence in others. We express such confidence when we say, for example, “I would trust him with my life.” People can know things about their life, spouse, children, careers, friends, and family without a crystal ball. Sometimes people know themselves, they know their family, and they know God well enough to trust in complete confidence when something is or is not coming their way. Sometimes Christ can plant firmly in our souls knowledge or understanding of the character of another person that can give you such confidence.  Is it naïve for me to have this faith – this knowledge – in my future husband? No. Naïve to share it in the way that I did? Yes. That is probably knowledge that is better left between God, my husband, and me and should only come up when someone prompts it or asks. My apologies that I was rash in sharing it, but I am not rash in believing it.

I would like to address the original purpose of my article, which I fear was lost. My original purpose was to share a reflection and a deeper understanding I came to, which was prompted by my co-workers’ conversation. I wanted to grapple with and disprove the cultural notion that marriage is a sort of lottery. As Catholics, we believe that marriage is a sacrament. If it is a sacrament, then there must be some sort of promise or guarantee in it, for Christ makes promises to the world through the sacraments and we know that our God always keeps His promises. We also know that marriage is a vocation, one of three ways that people are meant to make it to Heaven. This means that humans can be called to it as a lifestyle in a unique way.

My point in bringing up the idea that marriage is an institution of work and prayer was the idea that it is in the exercise of these two faculties that we attain the promise of Christ in the sacrament. If God calls you to marriage, then He will not abandon you in your effort to live a joy-filled, love-filled, faith-filled marriage. This is what He wants for you. Thus, if we ascribe to the teachings of the Church, if we practice the sacrament and allow the grace of it to permeate our lives, then we can rest in confidence that God will not abandon us in our undertaking. That is what I meant when I said that we have a “faith that can make these promises.” The love of spouses was gifted to them by God at their baptism, and when acted out faithfully and continually, it is meant to bring a fullness of Christ’s love into the world. It was instilled at baptism, and man has a duty to nurture this love every day so that it can reflect Christ’s love fully.

I emphasized the importance of a return to God every day. I understand that people are weak and sinful creatures, but I here failed in communicating this understanding. I tried in my last paragraph when I referenced Pope John Paul II. The idea that we must return to God the gift of love He gave us was meant to be taken as a daily undertaking. The promises of marriage can only be met and fulfilled when we daily turn to God in our weakness and ask for His strength and grace. Christ knows how to nourish your heart better than you do, and if He placed into your heart a love that was meant solely for your spouse, then if you daily return your heart to Him, you will grow closer to your spouse because God will be hands-on nurturing the love you two share.

Finally, it is here that my reflection was prompted by my co-workers’ conversation. Their dialogue honestly made me sad, and I mourned for them that they cannot know the joy that is a faith-filled marriage based in The One who created the world. They do not have this experience with faith, nor do they have the idea of returning their hearts to Christ. Consequently, their marriages were based in the world and not in The One greater and stronger than them who could carry them through the rough times and nurture their love when they didn’t know how to. This honestly burdened me for several days before I wrote my article, and my article was meant, finally, to be a response of praise and thanksgiving to our Lord who gave me this faith, this love, this knowledge. My article was meant to be a challenge to Catholics to embrace the promise Christ gives us in the sacrament of marriage, and to respond whole-heartedly to the calling He has given you and the love He has instilled in you.

Filed in: Family, Marriage

About the Author:

Emma Smith graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Philosophy from Hillsdale College in May, 2013. While in school she served as Vice President of the Pro-Life club for 3 semesters and sidewalk counseled and trained sidewalk counselors for 3 semesters. She was also the On-Campus Mass Coordinator and Events Director for the Catholic Society for 4 semesters. Her work has appeared on Catholic Exchange, Catholic Lane, ProLife Magazine, and is regularly featured in local papers and publications. She is passionate about her faith, God, and all things Pro-Life.

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  • Bonnie Engstrom

    Good for you, Emma.

  • D Hunnell

    I love your gracious response. I also thought your original article was excellent and really did understand your message. I was very surprised by the hostile reactions of some. Many blessing on your upcoming nuptials and on your marriage.

  • kate

    Your humility is lovely. I think that God certainly means for Catholic marriages to be a sign of contradiction to the world. Whether holiness and faithfulness confer happiness in this world is…well, it’s something I struggle with. When we vow to love and honor, this is the real scandal and foolishnesd in the eyes of the world, we vow faithfulness to a person–not to the personality, abilities, beliefs, or any of the traits that drew us to this person. This is a mystery. This is incomprehensible. And yes, God is faithful in giving sufficient grace for whatever comes…but living out that grace can involve a lot of suffering. In a sense, marriage IS a crapshoot. There ARE no guarantees…except thay God will give you grace when you surrender to Him. That’s it.

    Thank you for your humility. May God bless you and your beloved richly.

  • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

    Emma–thank you for being a true witness to the power and meaning of marital consent–I read both of your recent posts in this light. As I see it, you’re really saying you and your husband are going into marriage *meaning* what you say when you exchange consent. That something you definitely should “know” and trust and *own*! Conferring the Sacrament upon each other means *knowing* you both really mean it. God bless you both!

  • Howard

    Emma, I have been there having been married only once for 36 years before she died. You are correct about luck, marriage is not a lottery with pre-determined prizes. It is a relationship that imperfect people enter into. I think your boss and co-worker were only expressing a view of life in a way that is very common. We tend to judge from our own experiences then apply that to others as if our experiences somehow revealed general laws of existence. The “luck” angle also lets us off the hook regarding any responsibility. I have a relative who has been married 7 times. The last I can remember her saying anything about it included the rather skimpy admission that she was a bad picker of husbands! Like buying a lottery ticket.Over the years I have had to stifle myself when tempted to predict the future of even my own actions. Not a major flaw, just a youthful one. You and our future husband have the best start possible in this life, and I applaud you both.

  • Laura Worosz Malnight

    Emma, “hubris” can mean many things. One definition is “possessing excessive self-confidence,” which is what I meant when I used it to describe you. I struggle to recall a bride who wasn’t confident in her relationship, her fiancé, & their ability to make their marriage work. I am sure there are those who don’t feel certain, but I have to wonder how they will fare. It seems to me that you should greet marriage with lofty ideals and the belief that you will have a wonderful union. Trouble will find you and knock you down, but I look at those feelings you have when you first marry as something you can draw upon when times get rocky. Just like I draw upon my knowledge that God loves me and is faithful when I encounter difficulties. Being able to recall those fellings of certainty acts as sort of a renewal, giving me new strength and purpose. When my husband and I have wronged one another or face challenges, remembering the fierce love, devotion, and certainty we felt in both one another and ourselves when we took our vows, pulls us back to one another. I did not see your piece as applying to those of us who had been married for years, but rather to others, like you, about to embark upon the journey of marriage or to the newly wedded. And I think you are right. You should be certain and secure, which is very different from being blind. I wish you and your fiancé the very best and hope you’ll continue to share your journey with us.

    • Jan

      I have been married for 32 years. I can say that infidelity has never been a problem for my marriage. I feel confident it never will be a problem for my marriage. My marriage suffers from many, many other issues- infidelity is not one of them.

      Emma, I think that some people know that infidelity will not be an issue. I did 32 years ago (as did my husband). I believe you are blessed with that type of marriage. I do know many who are blessed in the same way. There are many marriages in which both partners have been faithful their entire lives. May the things you do end up struggling with be things that will bind you even closer as you make the journey together.

  • http://www.CatholicAllYear.com/ Kendra Tierney

    Well played, Emma. I think you have a lovely marriage and a lovely writing career ahead of you.

  • Lisa Ann Homic

    Emma, I feel like saying, “Whatever.” Who needs to apologize? No one. You have an opinion, Everyone else has an opinion. You did not make anyone mad. They chose to be mad. You have every right to feel good about your engagement. And you sure as heck can’t make up for your co-workers’ years of misery in one conversation. And that is why you kept silent. Stay strong in your faith. Marriage is a love triangle. You, your fiance and God.

  • http://devinrose.heroicvirtuecreations.com/blog/ Devin Rose

    Emma, I commented over at Ignitum Today as well, but the only color I would add to that commendation is: there are multiple ways someone could “cheat” (what an awful word), including a ubiquitous way, a husband looking at pornography. But also a husband might entertain, at some point, covetous or adulterous thoughts about another woman or another man’s wife. These are sins that would be confessed and hopefully curtailed and never go further, but they are still strictly speaking “cheating” or adulterous.

    Is it possible for a Catholic husband to never even commit adultery in these other ways? Yes it is. And many do. So it is both possible and also as you pointed out, not random. You don’t pick up a man off the street and find these qualities. You have to search, and in the right places, or be found in the right places as he searches for you.

    I’m not an Aquinas expert, but probably saying that you know, with indubitable knowledge, that X will not happen could only be possible through a private revelation from our Lord. But, like with our salvation, we can say that we have a “certain hope” in something: http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2009/08/st-thomas-aquinas-on-assurance-of-salvation/

    In any case, God love you! It is always best to go into something as huge as marriage with great hope and enthusiasm. There will be time enough for slogging through trials and stress and difficulties as the years go by, and through that you will become the saints God wants you to be. God bless!

    • C.

      Devin, perhaps you’d be interested in the Catholic Encyclopedia article on “Certitude”:

      “There are several kinds of certitude….Moral certitude is that with which judgments are formed concerning human character and conduct; for the laws of human nature are not quite universal, but subject to occasional exceptions. It is moral certitude which we generally attain in the conduct of life, concerning, for example, the friendship of others, the fidelity of a wife or a husband, the form of government under which we live, or the occurrence of certain historical events…”

    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

      Fascinating quote! Thanks C.!

    • Bernadette S.

      Devin’s point about different types of infidelity is spot on. It’s in the Gospel of Matthew. When my husband and I were where you are now, I could say the same thing. But, like I commented on the ignitum today site to your piece, life happens. You never know what roads will be too thorny to bear, and someone could cave. In our experience, it was the lust-type of adultery. It wasn’t sleeping with someone else, but it hurt just as bad. We are still suffering from the consequences of my husband’s actions. I’m not saying this will happen to you. I’m just saying I understand men better now than my newlywed self and now know their strong physical sense and needs. I know that pregnancy/childbirth can put the pause button on sex. Hormones get messed up. Life circumstances become difficult. I would have never thought my husband could hurt me like he did, but he did. And he wasn’t totally conscious about it even (at first). We are richly blessed as Catholics to have such great means to commune with God. However, we as sinners, sometimes fall short. Like Kimberly Hahn said in one of her books, a wife should always guard her heart. We are sinners. That is just a fact. No one is immune to it. Bottom line: never take your relationship for granted that it is fool proof against sexual sin! It comes in many forms! God bless you!

  • bkelly

    I agree with what Simcha said, not only are you not marrying God, you are not God. You are not all knowing. You can hope, plan, pray, and have all the confidence in the world and all the grace of the sacrament but that does not take away the potential for sin. Honestly, I think the same of my marriage — I could never see it ending in divorce, could never see cheating. However, I would never argue we are immune. Yes, we have supernatural grace because of the sacrament, but we are still capable of turning away from that grace. Sounds like your mother knew her daughters very well, and raised them well — but using that as an example to support your argument is faulty logic and a disservice to the Catholic Intellectual tradition.

  • Francis

    I’d say that the Simcha-Damien Fisher tag-team of nastiness is one of the more repulsive features of the Catholic blogosphere/Facebook world. Whenever Simcha is put on the defensive you can trust that her husband is going to be following right along a few comments down, calling someone names. I thought her original response to you was typical trolling for blog hits at the expense of another human being. If she felt the strong need to pastorally correct you or whatever, she should have contacted you personally. But that wasn’t what this was about. It was just about getting her name out there. Again.

    • Pamela Cipparulo

      I wonder what point there is in offering private correction to a public statement? If Ms Fisher felt there were points to be addressed it certainly makes sense to make them available not only to the author, but to the readers as well.

    • NurseTammy

      You have every right to disagree with the Fishers but I cant understand how you can publicly claim to know someones heart and inner motivations. A public accusation that she was “trolling for blog hits at the expense of another human being”, “just to get her name out there” are pretty severe accusations. Your lack of charity seems as bad as the one you accuse her of…Im not seeing how it helps anything.

      I agree with Pamela…if there was something that needed discussing, it should have been public because if Ms Smith were in actual error then she might have misguided a reader who would themselves from reading the public discourse.

    • reboot

      You don’t read much of the Catholic blogosphere, do you, dude? Those two are awesome, and if a husband defending his wife offends you … well, I’m not sure what you are doing in this discussion at all. Nothing Simcha ever writes is without humility, and when she points out her imperfections, she manages to remind her readers of theirs, without ever seeming preachy. I am sorry her gifts are lost on you,

      R.

    • brawkalicious

      coupla mean girls. I’d rather be happy than right, and they’re a miserable pair online … “right” as they may often be.

  • john654

    Emma, you have the right idea, “My article was meant to be a challenge to Catholics to embrace the promise Christ gives us in the sacrament of marriage, and to respond whole-heartedly to the calling He has given you and the love He has instilled in you.. Marriage is a martyrdom. The world is going to be against you. Marriage is a decision! Get ready to fight. Enter into your marriage WITH Jesus, you will be in a covenant relationship with Him and your husband. I have been married for 34 years, without Jesus it would have been IMPOSSIBLE for me! Some people think a person can’t KNOW anything about another person, let me give you an example: I know that you would never take a filthy pill to block being open to life. Am I right?

  • Guest

    When I married almost 13 years ago, I had complete confidence that my husband would never be unfaithful. He vowed his fidelity to me, and I to him. I honestly believed him to be a “good guy”. Rare and true. In the 11th year, he confessed an emotional affair. We had just had a baby, and was shaken. I threw my full effort into repairing the damage that had been done, then in the wee hours of the morning two months later, he declared he wanted a divorce. The first woman ad broken in off and he dove straight into a new affair, unbeknownst to me. I pushed for counseling, and while the counselor thought the marriage was salvageable, I came to third meeting to find out he filed for divorce. Two months later, No Fault divorce had its way.

    I would not have married if I didn’t have complete confidence in the faithfulness of my husband, and I never would have believed he would cheat. That is temptation though, and those who you would never expect can fall into it.

  • NurseTammy

    You seem to be a lovely young woman full of hope and optimism and I wish you all the best, I really do. I also respect you as an adult part of which is that as an adult who has chosen to marry and chosen to engage in public discourse on the topic, you understand that there can be disagreement among people who all claim to have a shared core set of beliefs. The discussion that has followed has, I think been a helpful one that may very well have helped a lot of people.

    You may not realize it, but even those who most disagree with your position that you can know that some problems won’t effect you actually wish that you were right.

    Your story of your moms certainty that you wouldn’t fall prey to certain problems is sweet and reflects a deep and healthy relationship but I still disagree that this anecdotal example could be used as an indicator that knowing people well at one place in life is an accurate indicator for their future behaviors (human nature being what it is).

    Stepping away from the fray though, I really want to ask you (and others who may understand this better than I do) to flesh out and elaborate on something you said above:

    “As Catholics, we believe that marriage is a sacrament. If it is a sacrament, then there must be some sort of promise or guarantee in it, for Christ makes promises to the world through the sacraments and we know that our God always keeps His promises.”

    What is the PROMISE or GUARANTEE of Sacramental marriage? I’m really not trying to play a game of “gotcha” by asking a question then telling you that you are wrong…I’m sincere and openly admitting some ignorance on my part.

    Is it a promise/guarantee of what we expect to get (which is how I perceive your expectation) or a promise /guarantee of what we will give and if that is the case, what can we count on in return?

    The word “guarantee” sticks in my ears because during an especially difficult era of our marriage, my husband said “You are asking for a guarantee and life doesn’t give guarantees”. I responded that the closest thing on earth to a “guarantee” was a marriage vow and he had already given it so why was he angry with me for wanting it to still be real and true?

    Please know that my question above is not rhetorical or meant to prove a point, its a real question and I hope you and others will venture real answers.

    • Dawn

      Tammy, a little late to the party. But my understanding is that Christ promises sufficient grace for us to be sanctified in this life through the marriage. We are essentially guaranteed that we will be given His own strength to live up to the promises WE (as individuals) make in the marriage sacrament. Christ guarantees us all the graces we need to persevere unto death in our marriage, but we can offer no such guarantees for ourselves. And that’s what is so frightening: that even with Christ giving me and my husband all that we need to grow in holiness in this union, we could still refuse to accept that help through our own weakness. The only person in the marriage that can legitimately “guarantee” total fidelity…is Christ.

  • Ellen Johnson

    Emma, I can relate to what you’re saying in both your pieces as I am pretty much still a newlywed myself. But I get this sinking feeling that the devil really wants us to believe in our core that this-that-or-the-other sin could never enter our marriage. You know what I mean? It’s right to trust our spouses and acknowledge that marriage is work and sacramental grace is there to help us, but it’s dangerous thinking to say that we’re immune to any sin by the grace of God. Only Mary can claim that privilege.

    Think of it this way. When you baptize your little baby, no thoughts enter your mind about troubles he/she might have or sins he/she might struggle with. It’s a happy day and your baby is born into the faith and we all rejoice and praise God. This is as is should be! But not all baptized babies grow up in the faith. Even ones who are raised in the faith by good faithful parents who do their very best and work hard on their marriage, they too could fall away or fall into certain sins. On the flip side, some baptized babies who are not raised in the faith do come back to it eventually by the grace of the sacrament. Grace is real, but sin is real also. I just think we need to recognize both realities, and I think that’s all that Simcha Fisher was trying to point out in her piece.

    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

      ***but it’s dangerous thinking to say that we’re immune to any sin by the grace of God. Only Mary can claim that privilege. ****
      I must disagree–the grace of God is *precisely* the “immunization” God offers us against sin, and Mary’s example is precisely the example we’re given so that we actually realize that God’s plan of Christian perfection is indeed humanly possible. We are actually all called to strive to live in that fullness of grace that only God can give us. Especially in marital consent. Think for example of what is promised–fidelity all the days of one’s life. There’s nothing optional in that promise, and it’s God grace that makes our keeping that promise possible.
      JPII, for example, was a big fan, I think, of not selling ourselves short when it comes to this kind of purity of heart–rather, grace gives us what we need to pursue the task of fidelity not only to God, but to our spouses. We need to be “all in” when exchanging marital consent–and that means unconditionally giving our consent to marriage to someone we don’t just “hope” will be mutually faithful, but to someone we can “know” will be mutually faithful in a covenant immersed in God’s grace….

    • Ellen Johnson

      Yeah, but we’re not worthy recipients of God’s grace, ever. It’s a gift. And it is enough to sustain us, but we are humans with free will who don’t always use that gift wisely, if at all. I’m not saying fidelity in marriage is impossible, it certainly is, praise God! But it’s certainly possible to sin and fail and not live out our vows. We all sin, it’s a fact. By the grace of God, we can live out our marriage vows to the best of our ability, but there is no guarantee that we will never sin in one particular way or another.

      It seems to me that marital love, fidelity, commitment, sacramental grace… ultimately it’s all very mysterious. Yes, you should go into marriage with “moral certitude” about your spouse and the validity and moral gravity of the sacrament you are about to receive. But you cannot know what struggles you will have in your future together that will change you and stretch you. Maybe you will lose a child or children, maybe you’ll struggle with infertility, maybe one or both of you will go through a dark time of depression and despair, maybe you’ll lose your job or your house, etc. Ideally, you face these things together on your knees, asking for the grace from God to weather these trials, but they will shake you and you never know how your human nature, or your spouse’s human nature, will react to these trials and temptations. You just don’t know. It’s such an awesome and terrifying commitment you make to and with your spouse.

    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

      I understand that we live in the tension of human failure and God’s grace. But there is a reason that marriage is a Sacrament that begins with an exchange of *persons*–a covenant. Something indissoluble until death, when authentically entered into. The existence of divorce, annulment, or other failures of fidelity doesn’t deprive this Sacrament of it essential meaning. And while it’s true that all it takes to compromise the covenant is for one spouse to fail to live as they promised to live, it’s also true that all it takes to live out the covenant is for *both* spouses to “know” they will always be faithful to each other no matter how else they might fall short.
      A slightly different example: the love between my children and me. I *know* (as in–go ahead and try to change my mind! :-) ) that my kids will always love me and I will always love them.
      Can we think of a gazillion scenarios that could *test* that love, bending it almost to the breaking point? Perhaps. But at the end of the day, I know that this is a love that’s forever. Thanks be to God, literally, some married couples are blessed with that kind of fidelity, too….

  • Blobee

    I hope my comments won’t be dismissed as “you never married, so what can YOU know,” but I remember a couple of serious relationships I had that appeared they were leading to marriage. In one the guy was an atheist, the other was raised Catholic but didn’t go to church. Both were great guys on paper. But I remember so clearly the conversation when the atheist told me he didn’t believe in God. It wasn’t only his words, it was his demeanor; that disturbed me. He seemed to have a vile hatred for all things related to God. I knew right then I could never marry him. I felt we just were not going in the same direction in life. I actually thought, “don’t yoke yourself to an unbeliever.” ala St. Paul 2 Corinthians.
    After my relationship with guy 1 ended, a year or so later I started dating guy 2. He shared more of my values, but my discomfort with him was that whenever we were out, he was constantly eying other women. Sometimes it was so blatant I would actually (sarcastically) offer to leave so he could go meet Miss Better Body. So I knew his interest in me wasn’t what it should have been. And I knew instinctively he would cheat on me.
    Both of these guys did cheat on me (took other women out) when we were supposedly exclusive. And though that was the reason for our breakup, but the problems were really deeper. They both showed a lack of character.

    So I guess although I could never have known if some other imaginary guy who had a rock solid character would not have cheated on me, I think in my case it was fairly obvious those without this kind of character were not willing or able to resist that temptation.
    Ultimately, what I am saying is, I know that there are people out there who draw a line regarding serious mortal sin and will not cross it, no matter what. It is an internal commitment not to cross that line, ever. And maybe, just maybe, Miss Smith knows her fiance is one of those people, and she is one herself. And I think she is relying on God’s grace in her impending marriage to further reinforce and strengthen their commitment to fidelity. She believes, as do I, that anyone seeking God’s grace to strengthen them in temptation can rely on that grace.

    No, there are no guarantees, but I do believe having a sacramental marriage in which both parties understand and commit to the covenant does give spouses an edge to staying faithful to each other, over those with no faith. No guarantee, but a stronger probability.

    • David Peters

      Amen Blobee. I think you’re right — a sacramental marriage does give a couple the edge. Character is incredibly important, but when people are faithful to God before they get married, they will most likely be faithful to Him and each other, after they are married. Like you said they can rely on God’s grace.

  • David Peters

    Emma, great article. You’re right, with Christ we can have a joy-filled, love filled, faith-filled marriage. God bless.

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  • Anna

    Dear Emma,

    Simcha is right. Your post hurts people although,
    I’m sure, it wasn’t your intention.

  • brawkalicious

    I totally support you and am sorry you’ve been raked over the coals with such verve. Mean, mean, mean ~ and what’s worse, the shredding dressed up as holiness! Very sorry, Sister in the Faith. (and I’m writing as one who has done.it.all, even marrying my husband a second time civilly after a crazy spell around age 23. Thank God for the Church and her unchanging ways. We need the stability when life delivers evil. Or we go chasing it.) Blessings to you — don’t let the jerks and self-appointed spiritual directors get you down. All good things must be returned to God with gratitude.

  • daisy

    Emma dont listen to SimchaFisher and dont listen to anybody who wants to bring you down. Ive been married for 26 years and thank God none of the things the bitter middle aged women said would happen did. Being engaged or a newly wed is like being pregnant for the first time. Complete strangers come out of the woodwork to tell you gloom and doom.

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