Married couples can celebrate what makes their marriage special and share that joy with others.
Pre-marriage educators in the Diocese of Parramatta remind couples to celebrate and remember the foundation of their marriage.
“The grace of the Holy Spirit makes our marriage so special,” says Sharon Rogers from Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Rouse Hill. She and her husband Edwin accompany engaged couples in the pre-marriage courses held in the Diocese of Parramatta.
“In 25 years, there’s a lot that you go through. All marriages have ups and downs, but for both of us, the fact that we said ‘yes’ and promised in front of God, has kept us together and helped us through the tough times,” says Edwin.
“With God as the centre of our marriage, we are able to lean on each other when we go through challenges at work or at home. We pray for each other, support each other and set a good example for our kids.”
Fellow educators Angel and Rowena Penano (main picture) from Our Lady, Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes, hope couples continue to let God be a part of their marriage, not just on their wedding day.
“After 20 years, we continue to grow in discovering this joy of marriage as God intended it,” Angel says.
“We got married in our mid-20s, and we were full of love and knew we wanted to commit to each other for life, but it wasn’t until 10 years ago that we discovered more about what a true sacramental marriage was.
“At this time, our differences in personalities were pulling us apart and we were in crisis. Thanks be to God, He knew our marriage and knew we needed help.
“At our lowest point, I felt this grace that even at the worst times, I still loved Rowena. I knew it wasn’t from my rational thinking, but I was hearing something beyond my own perspective.”
Rowena adds, “When you are in a difficult situation, you have to look for hope. You have God who will help you and you don’t have to rely solely on your own, you have people on your journey to help you.
“Keep hope, keep on loving and rely on God.”
As we move into the Advent and Christmas season, the marriage educators encourage couples to take this time to prepare and celebrate the new year for their marriage.
“Advent is a good time for us to go back and begin again, to look at the promises that you made to each other. Maybe you got side-tracked along the way with kids and the busyness of life, but to go back and make time for each other,” Sharon says.
“Our Lord has all these graces in store for us, He just wants us to ask for them. Advent is a time to connect with Him again, in His humanity, in His gift of the Eucharist, journeying with him from Eden to Bethlehem.”
Tips from our marriage educators:
- Start an Advent Calendar or celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas with married-themed prompts to celebrate the other person.
- Give each other the gifts of yourselves, your patience, time or small tokens of appreciation, such as filling up the car with petrol for the week.
- Explore a ‘theme’ for the new year – look at what are your hopes and aspirations in 2023.
- Prepare your hearts, souls and spirits to see things in a different light.
- Decide to be married every day, especially on the days when you need it.
The Marriage – Mission Enhancement Team is looking for generous and passionate married couples to accompany engaged couples on their journey to the Sacrament of Matrimony. If you can volunteer a few hours a month, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was originally published in the 2022 Advent | Summer 2022 edition of the Catholic Outlook Magazine. You can pick up your copy of the magazine in parishes and offices across the Diocese of Parramatta now or you can read the digital version here.