I don't know you, but I know you recently got married. I've watched a 2-minute video of your wedding about 10 times. Really, I'm not a creepy stalker. In fact, I really wasn't that interested in the video images of you. I hit "play" so many times because I was moved by the words of Fr. Todd's homily. That's how I found your video in the first place. Fr. Todd shared it on his Facebook page and being the good Catholic that I am, I watched it because my priest shared it.
He spoke about the decision to get married being a decision to deepen your love. He talked about it being a commitment. He said you were choosing to move beyond love being just a feeling, that by saying "I do," the two of you were making a decision to live in love. Not in gushy, fluttery, sweep you off your feet love. But in covenant love.
Today is my 20th wedding anniversary. I know that officially makes me old in your eyes and that's ok. With age comes wisdom. So let me share some wisdom about covenant love with you.
Covenant love is hard work. That doesn't mean it's not worth it, but some days you will question whether it is. Covenant love may ask you to give up a piece of yourself with the faith that what will fill the hole will be stronger and better than that which occupied it before. Covenant love might mean turning the other cheek. It certainly requires forgiveness and it might make you do things -- or not do things -- for which your friends and family might call you crazy, or even foolish.
If you look at that from a single-minded perspective, it might look like you're getting the short end of the stick, you might wonder why anyone would ever choose to get married. But if you both are committed to covenant love, the equation should be equal on both sides.
Fr. Todd pointed out in his homily that the wedding vows don't even say "I love you." When I heard that, I had to stop and repeat the vows my husband and I shared on our wedding day 20 years ago.
"I take you to be my spouse. In good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life."
Wow. From where I sit, that is powerful stuff. We promised, as did the two of you, that "I WILL love you." On your wedding day when both of you are glowing and joyful, that might be an easy enough promise to make.
I will love you...when you bring me flowers.
I will love you...when you make me laugh.
I will love you...when you let me wear your coat because I am cold and I left mine at home.
I will love you...when you get a new job.
I will love you...when we are on vacation and all the cares of the world are hundreds of miles away.
Twenty years down the road, that promise is heavy with the gravity of what that really means.
I will love you...when the bank account is stretched.
I will love you...when the laundry is backed up, the grass needs cut and dinner has not even been thought of.
I will love you...when you disappoint me.
I will love you...when you don't believe in me.
I will love you...when I am embarrassed by you.
I will love you...when you hurt me.
I will love you. I will love you. I will love you...
If I were you, I would print out those words: "I will love you." and put them somewhere you see them often. (Maybe over the toilet so Becca, you can remember them when Jake leaves the seat up.) Remind yourself, every day, of the promise you made. "I will love you." Then there is no question. You said you would. Now do.
As for my husband and I, we are. It hasn't been a decision that's been easy every day. And quite frankly, we probably haven't lived that decision, those words every day. We've considered taking those four words and stuffing them somewhere to never be seen again. But we haven't, because they are more than just words. They are the mark of the covenant we made to each other before God.
So, to you Becca & Jake, I say blessings on your new life together.
And to you, Mike, my huzzzband of 20 years, let me say once again, I will love you.