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Reflection on marriage

Reflection on marriage
Committing to marriage 'an act of faith'.

By Marjanna Gilchrist

Just moments before the bridal procession, I am handed a little package beautifully wrapped in gold paper – a present from the young woman who very soon will become the wife of my son Lachlan. Ripping open the sticky tape reveals a lacy white handkerchief embroidered with their initials - a “tear hankie”.

The strings begin to play Pachelbel’s Canon, and my husband, Anthony, smiles and takes my hand as together we turn to see this beautiful young woman, radiant with joy, walk down the aisle on the arm of her proud father.

Standing with the celebrant Fr Kevin Bates is our son Camden who is an acolyte, our “baby” Jonathon is a groomsman, and our sons Gerard and Dominic share our pew.

Sitting next to Gerard is his lovely wife Elizabeth, and little Maggie, our first grandchild, who is squirming and cooing with delight.

All through the ceremony Anthony sits, stands and kneels beside me. At times he holds my hand and gives it a squeeze, particularly when Fr Kevin says to the young couple, “, not knowing what is before you, but trusting in God’s companionship, you take each other through the best and worst of what lies ahead until death”.

What an amazing act of faith it is to commit to another in marriage - an act of faith in each other, and an act of faith in God. After nearly 30 years, Anthony and I have been through so much together. We have experienced the good times, and we hope we have experienced the worst.

In our ministry as Pre-Marriage Educators with Centacare Catholic Social Services we have many opportunities to reflect on our marriage. We can talk eloquently now about the importance of communication, but at the beginning there was always so much unsaid, hinted at, guessed at.

Both Anthony and I have always been somewhat strong willed and so we spent a lot of time working through various disputes - the interminable power struggles.

However, we have always had faith in our love, and in the love of our God, and that faith is what sustains and nourishes our marriage. We have come to understand that the maintenance of this love and faith is our first priority.

During the Pre-Marriage Course we lead a reflection in which we ask the participants to  recall a special moment where they felt close to each other, when they knew they were loved and where they felt loving towards their partner. This is a reminder of the necessity of having a “bank” of these memories.

As Anthony and I sat in the church listening to Lachlan and Tegan exchange their vows it was a time for us to give thanks for the cherished shared history of living with a spouse who is a best friend.

Marjanna and Anthony Gilchrist are members of Sacred Heart Parish, Blackheath.

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