‘Happily Ever After:’ A reflection on marriage and Catholic matrimony

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Sponsor Couple Training

Time and Dates:
6:30 – 9 p.m., Nov. 6, 8 and 10

Location:
Chancery’s  
St. John Paul the Great Center for Evangelization Training by Sponsor Couples of the Archdiocese of Agaña. 

For inquiries, please contact Richard and Christine Oftana Rosario at  488-1161 or 482-5526 or chrissydesofros@icloud.com

By Gina E. Taitano
For the Umatuna Si Yu’os

When my husband and I first made our marriage vows 15 years ago, it centered on a meticulously planned, civil event. Aesthetically, it was everything beautiful. Spiritually, it was devoid of anything overtly religious. While we took great pains to devise a celebration that fit within our spectrum of spiritual tolerance, suffice it to say that God was conspicuously absent in those first steps on our journey toward our happily ever after. 

Fast forward four years, and God’s miracles working in our lives brought us back to the church and opened our marriage to true fulfillment.

Did it mean that our marriage was not the magical picture of bliss in the years leading up to our spiritual awakening? Not necessarily. It simply means that in our younger years of civil matrimony, we lived our marriage within our limited vision of what marriage could be. Had we remained in that state, we may very well have been on the wayward track of those marriages that eventually fail.

While to the outside world, and even to ourselves, we may have believed that our marriage was forged on a rock of maturity and stability that would defy the statistical odds dooming half of all marriages, ultimately that “rock” was a subterfuge formed of our own naiveté, and rooted in the premise that we, and we alone, were in control.

Enter God. Or more specifically, enter the hand of God that worked through people like our parish priest, and the couple who would become our marriage mentors as we prepared ourselves for sacramental marriage in the Catholic Church.

When we initially returned to the church, we were challenged by our priest to welcome God fully into our lives by inviting him into our marriage. Up until that point, I didn’t really understand the magnitude of what that meant. My thoughts on getting married in the church were based on the notion that it was just something you were supposed to do because it was required by the church.

But had we simply gone through the motions of sacramental matrimony without truly acknowledging and inviting God into our marriage, then we would have deprived ourselves of the beautiful journey of love we live today.

In our preparation for the marriage sacrament, we were introduced to the Sponsor Couple program, a marriage preparation program that teaches about Catholic matrimony through a mentorship process and a curriculum grounded in the life skills needed for lifelong marriage.

As the “engaged” couple, we were assigned a sponsor mentor couple. We used a book written by Father Robert Ruhnke, “For Better and For Ever.”

Over the course of several meetings, we met with our sponsor couple, discussing the concepts presented in the marriage preparation workbook, which covered topics ranging from family of origin, to money matters, to prayer and parenting.

Through these personal, informal sessions between sponsor couple and engaged couple, we explored the various facets of Christian marriage and heard the personal stories of our sponsor couple as they mentored us by sharing their own life experiences.

In their living example of “marriedness,” they were witnesses to the faith and to the power of God’s love. In their mentorship, they spoke candidly and ardently. They spoke of God in their lives, of prayer, of spirituality. They spoke of the extraordinary in marriage, and of the mundane. And they did it with candor and humility.

In this context, we not only learned practical, valuable skills to strengthen and support our own marriage journey, but we also experienced the nourishing power of God through our sponsor couple’s witness of faith and the fellowship they openly and humbly shared with us.

While every engaged couple’s experience will differ in the Sponsor Couple program, the constant is the value that Father Ruhnke’s method of couple-to-couple mentorship brings, underscored by the power of personal testimony as couples serve as witnesses to the faith through their own example of marriage in Christ.

Through such mentorship, we witnessed the authenticity of love between two people when God is at their center. We witnessed the strength God brings to relationships, and the power he brings to marriage. My husband and I recognize that our marriage is a journey, and that we are not alone.

With God at the center of our marriage, every day is a blessing – a revelation of love, life, and the God who makes it all possible. We opened our hearts to the awesome power of God and it has paved the way for a happily ever after that we could never have known without him.

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Umatuna Si Yu'os
The Umatuna Si Yu’os is published every week by the Archdiocese of Agaña, Guam. Our mission is to print and distribute a true report of the Roman Catholic Church’s ministry of changing lives through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.