When my husband and I first got married, we did it in the most secular way possible. We were outside, we had a judge officiating, and I specifically requested no references to religion in the ceremony.
It was really wonderful, and remains one of the best days of my life. At the time, I didn’t think for a moment that there was anything missing.
When I decided to convert to Catholicism, I realized that I really wanted for my husband and I to have our marriage validated in the Church. It took us a while to make it happen, but a few weeks ago, we finally had our sacramental blessing. A Catholic wedding, complete with full Mass.
While we were receiving communion, Lass asked the priest, “Why don’t the little people get to have any of the good stuff?”
It wasn’t a big, fancy affair. Just us, our girls, our priest, Super Friend and Super Husband, and The Godmother (plus our babysitter and photographer).
We did the whole thing. We selected readings, and the priest gave a homily. We said vows and had our rings blessed. The priest said a blessing over us and we received communion, all standing around the altar. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced.
Our first wedding was also beautiful. It was wonderful and meaningful. It was a big celebration of our marriage with most of our friends and family. It wasn’t fussy, and it was fun. It was exactly what I wanted it to be at that time.
This time was so much the same and yet so, so different. Our first wedding was obviously important. But this time, this ceremony, felt sacred. I looked at my husband while saying our vows and there was so much more. We’ve been married over six years and have three children. We’ve experienced wonderful joys and terrible grief. “In good times and bad, in sickness and in health” took on a whole new meaning as I said those words again. It was different, because this time I felt the presence of God watching over us, blessing us, embracing us. I know now that He was there the first time too, but I didn’t bother to notice. This time, He took center stage, and it made everything so. much. more.
There was even more joy. More love. More beauty. More grace.
I used to think I knew a lot about marriage. I thought I was really good at being married. I thought my husband and I had a fabulous marriage. Here’s what I know now: I knew some. I was pretty good. We did have one.
Since converting to Catholicism, since beginning to go to church with my husband every week, since instituting prayer in our home and faithful practices in our family, my marriage has improved in so many ways.
I’m a better wife and a better mom. I am less prideful and less selfish. I still have so much to learn. I am still striving and praying to get rid of all the yucky parts of myself: my pride and anger and selfish tendencies. But the love of God helps me to love my husband better. And just as He was the thing missing from our first wedding, God was what was missing from our marriage for the first five years. I didn’t even realize there was anything was missing back then. But now I do. Our marriage is so much better with Jesus.