by Tara K.E. Brelinsky
In the middle of my novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots, I was meditating on the 2nd Luminous Mystery (The Wedding Feast of Cana). I thought about how Jesus’s miracle of turning water into wine is applicable to couples today. In fact, more than just applicable, that miracle contains necessary lessons that today’s couples must cling to if they hope to stay married for a lifetime.
Based on my regular list of prayer intentions and conversations with friends, marriage is becoming an ever-increasing battleground. Of course, that shouldn’t come as any surprise because Sr. Lucia dos Santos (one of the famed children of Fatima) told us this would be the case in her letter to Cardinal Carlo Caffarra.
The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue.
Stats on Marriage
Not only have divorce statistics remained dismally high, but young adults are increasing disinterested in marriage altogether. Add that to the fact that long-married couples are calling it quits after celebrating their platinum anniversary. One might conclude the war has already been forfeited to the enemy.
However, my meditation reminded me that hope is not lost. Couples have an often untapped resource on their side.
The Awkwardness of Marriage
Thinking about how marriage is meant to be a symbol of our union to Christ, I considered how awkward it is for two people to commit their lives to one another. As individuals we are full of selfishness, ego and brokenness. Neither partner is always lovable and yet we promise to love one another as Christ loves us.
He loves us in spite of our rebelliousness, self-centeredness and constant faltering. He patiently endures our failings and always calls us back through repentance to full communion.
Running Out of Wine
Of course, our fallen state makes it nearly impossible to reflect this kind of love to a spouse for a lifetime. More often than not, we run out of “wine”. The sweetness of marital bliss runs dry in the heat of life’s trials.
Yet, Christ’s first miracle reminds us that He is for marriage. He wants the wedding feast to continue. And He is capable of refilling our empty storehouse. In fact, He can not only refill our storehouse, He can turn our supplies into something better than that which we began with. He makes the choicest wine.
If You’re Struggling In Your Marriage
If you’re struggling in your marriage, follow the example of The Wedding Feast in Cana. Petition the Mother of Jesus to intercede. Tell her that the stores of your patience, compassion, mercy, and charity are depleted. Ask her to advocate for you. Then take her advice and, “Do whatever He tells you.”
When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” –John 2:3-5
What Does He Tell You to Do?
- Stop trying to do it all yourself. As couples, we must recognize that we are not always capable of fixing every situation on our own. The couple in Cana couldn’t run to the liquor store to grab a few more bottles of Merlot. Just the same, we can’t solve every health, financial or emotional crisis on our own. We must get help when needed (counseling, pastoral care, etc.). And we must continually seek the aid of Jesus Christ.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. –Phil 4:6
- Look for the goodness in one another. Perhaps, the bride in Cana wanted to blame her new husband for forgetting to buy the extra bottles of wine. Maybe, the groom was thinking he’d married a wife who wasn’t such a great party planner. It’s easy to focus on the negatives, the unmet expectations, the broken promises, the faults of your spouse. However, once we start keeping a mental tally of failures, we too often ignore the goodness in one another. Look for the good.
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Phil 4:8
- Forgive. Certainly, the groom could have remembered how his new bride messed up the wine order. He could have retold the story at every future party they ever hosted. For her part, the bride could have carried a grudge against her husband for ruining her perfect wedding plans. Husbands and wives must forgive and forgive and forgive…
Forgive your neighbor’s injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven. Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the LORD? –Sir 27: 30
- Surround yourself with supporters. The company we keep influences us. If the bride and groom in Cana had turned to friends, who were not committed to God’s design for marriage, they might have been encouraged to be angry or spiteful or unforgiving. Divorced friends may be more inclined to counsel us to consider divorce as our only or best option. Find mentors who are successfully living out their marital vocation. Be careful in your selection of counselors. Make sure your advisers are faithful Christians, who believe in the power of the Sacrament of Marriage.
Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. So do not be associated with them. –Eph 5:6-7
When My Glass Is Empty
When I said my own vows 25 years ago, I had no idea of the road that lie ahead. My husband and I were blissfully ignorant twenty-somethings, toasting our idealized plans for the future. But life didn’t turn out according to our specifications. Sometimes our glasses are empty.
Yet, through it all we’ve never been alone. Each time, Christ has been there waiting. Waiting on us to lay down our wills and turn to Him. And every time we have, He has replenished our supply of love, kindness, mercy and tenderness.
If you do “whatever He tells you,” I can’t say how long it will take for restoration to come; but I can say, that just as He turned that water into choicest wine in Cana, He is going to work miraculously within your heart and marriage.
A Resource for Your Marriage:
Former Ignited By Truth speakers, Greg and Julie Alexander, offer a valuable resource for couples. Check out their Marriage 411 ecourse.