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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Marriage Preparation

Last Sunday I listened to another interesting homily and would like to share that with you all - especially those preparing for marriage or helping prepare others for marriage.

Fr. Mike Schmitz, U of M Duluth told us that when he discusses marriage the primary message he gives to all young people is that marriage (successful and faithful) requires that we transfer our primary allegiance to this new spouse to be and keep it there for the entire lifetime.

This lack of transference helps explain why so many young marriages fail! They fail to transfer their primary allegiance and as a result "fall out of love" as fast as they fall in love. Father Mike went on to say that our spouses need to know that we have their backs so to speak. And also that we both submit to each other out of deference to Christ. This allows us to meet the primary obligation in marriage which is to get each other to heaven.

Over the course of the years we have observed many marriages fail - among friends, co-workers, relatives, etc. And I would have to agree with Father Schmitz that the primary culprit was they failed to transfer their allegiance to their spouse or to keep it there. How many mothers subtlely transfer their allegiance to their young children and lose focus on their marital relationship? Or young fathers? How many working spouses subtlely transer their primary allegiance to their co-workers? I am sure many of you have also read articles that discuss the concept of having an office spouse while maintaining marital spouses. Or maybe our primary allegiance has even transferred to the job itself, to friends, family members, or achievement of goals and success or some other entity.

These tranferences can occur subtlely without having an acute awareness of the change- and so the downslide makes us forget to be there in order to cover our spouse's back.

I liked his reference for the marital yoke to the yoke used for ox - it usually contains two head holds. This so readily represents the marital yoke that does require that we wear ourselves out for the other over the course of our lifetime - but this wearing out should be a joyful process not a dull, monotonous, resentful path forward. Consider the amount of good work that can come about due to this marital yoking - this work can be awesome and glorious when we follow the path set before us by having and maintaining the heavenly vision of marriage, faith, and eternal life in Christ. Or imagine how burdensome this yoke becomes when we yearn to get out from under its weight by transferring our allegiance to someone else or something else.

The Book for All Seasons has allowed me to capture many great homilies; in too many instances in the past I would hear a great homily and loose the essence of it before we even got home from church. Look for the 2012 edition in late fall but it's still not even too late to order this liturgical seasons' copy. Also my new book - Surviving College - discusses marriage preparation for college age students. You might want to order one for your college student, friend or family member. Visit to order online.