This union is most serious, because it will bind you together for life in a relationship so close and so intimate, that it will profoundly influence your whole future. That future, with its hopes and disappointments, its successes and failures, its pleasures and its pains, its joys and its sorrows, is hidden from your eyes. You know that these elements are mingled in every life, and are to be expected in your own. And so, not knowing what is before you, you take each other for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death.
Truly, then, these words are most serious. It is a beautiful tribute to your undoubted faith in each other, that, recognizing their full import, you are nevertheless so willing and ready to pronounce them. And because these words involve such solemn obligations, it is most fitting that you rest the security of your wedded life upon the great principle of self-sacrifice. And so you begin your married life by the voluntary and complete surrender of your individual lives in the interest of that deeper and wider life which you are to have in common. Henceforth you belong entirely to each other; you will be one in mind, one in heart, and one in affections. And whatever sacrifices you may hereafter be required to make to preserve this common life, always make them generously. Sacrifice is usually difficult and irksome. Only love can make it easy; and perfect love can make it a joy. We are willing to give in proportion as we love. And when love is perfect, sacrifice is complete. God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son; and the Son so loved us that He gave Himself for our salvation. "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
Thoughts about marriage preparations struck me this summer since my oldest son is now the age my husband and I were when we began dating. My son’s next crush or infatuation could be forever. What an exciting, sobering, terrifying thought. I’m praying my children can wisely and prayerfully discern their vocations, be it marriage, consecrated religious life, or a chaste single life. I really don’t know how I found my own path. I’m guessing my parents were praying for me. I also keep praying for the future spouses in my children’s lives. God knows who they are, even if I don’t. And I guess while I am at it I will pray for all those who will be married this month and all those who are celebrating anniversaries this month. May every husband and wife seek to lead his or her spouse to heaven.