Learning to Live Out Our Love for Each Other

At our wedding, Julie and I promised to be true to each other. For us, the effectiveness of NFP was not measured by prevention of conception, but by the extent to which it helped us live our marriage in the most truthful way possible. It’s not perfection of a technique, but the pursuit of perfection in the attitudes of the two souls involved.

As a young married man, I had taken on some of the world’s views on truth. I believed I could have my truth, and you could have yours. This was a particularly convenient philosophy to assert when we had two small children, two careers, a new house, and the related bills. We

had learned to use NFP as part of our marriage preparation, and through it we delayed having children for a few years – but I would say that my definition of periodic abstinence was not “true”.

With two children, the related responsibilities, stress, and little personal prayer life, my “false” attitudes strengthened, and I found it increasingly easy to assert my version of truth in our marriage. My wife had an open heart to God’s truth, however, which I saw increasingly as an affront to my “freedom as a modern Catholic”, and for which she received harsh, unloving, treatment from me. After all (I thought, and frequently said) – we were open to life, we had two children, God knows about the bills and how busy we are with the two careers. He knows how tired she gets, and how impatient I can be, how little self-control I have. God doesn’t really expect us to be open to more children right now, and he wants us to love each other, right?

My personal version of truth became increasingly unsupportable in contrast to God’s truth, which my good wife was quietly, lovingly, and faithfully living, and heroically enduring my anger for. Through her steady example and loving patience over many years, and several more children, I learned that love can sometimes be best expressed through a time of complete abstinence – particularly to show Julie that I understood her tiredness or illness and would put aside my physical desire out of love for her. Julie showed me that love can sometimes be best expressed through true, life-giving marital relations – particularly to show me that her tiredness or illness could be put aside out of love for me (and our God). I came to understand that truth in a marriage is expressed when each is willing to give themselves totally for the good of the other. Mary’s “let it be done” response to God’s invitation and Christ’s “not my will, but thine” surrender to the cross became more than beautiful sentiments to me – they became a model for how to live the vows of our marriage – they showed me how to truly “sign” our marriage contract.

We are both still on a journey of learning to live out our love for each other, but now walking side by side together. God was teaching us all along about ourselves, how we were created to image God by being a free and total gift to each other, and how our marriage is the vocation through which we are learning how to truly love God.

desrochers
desrochers

About The Author

Tim Desrochers
Julie (a convert to Catholicism) and Tim (cradle Catholic) were college sweethearts, and in their 30 years of marriage are blessed with seven children and four grandchildren

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