Monday, October 22, 2012

Preparing for Marriage - Part 2

by Nicole (Fernandes) Racadag

“Marriage is a lifelong partnership of the whole of life, of mutual and exclusive fidelity, established by mutual consent between a man and a woman, and ordered towards the good of the spouses and the procreation of offspring.” Marriage is a model institution of the love of God that a couple is called to in the world. The sacredness, trust, and commitment builds a forever capacity to live out the sacrament for the rest of their lives. - The Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 1601)

As my husband Ivan and I approach our three-month anniversary, it seemed time to reflect on the events of the week leading up to our wedding on July 21. The weeks before our wedding were a hectic, emotional and exciting time in our lives as we prepared to exchange those vows that six months of pre-marriage counseling had prepared us for. As our wedding day approached, it was so easy to get swept up in the last-minute details and preparations. Would the cake, food and alcohol be enough to satisfy our growing guest list? Would we be able to finish all the place cards in time? Would it be a sweltering 100 degree day that would impede our plans to take photos outside the West Virginia State Capitol?

We are sure all brides and grooms can relate to this. The feelings of anxiety, anticipation, excitement, etc. We get so consumed with perfecting the details of the wedding that it becomes easy to lose sight of the fact that what we are preparing for is not the “wedding” but the “marriage.”

Ivan and I took time, amidst last-minute catering checks and salon appointments, on the Tuesday of our wedding week to meet with our home parish priest, Father Carlos Melocoton. Father Carlos urged us to slow down and to pray for love, understanding and guidance as we approached the day we would exchange our vows before God, our families and our friends in our home parish church of the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Charleston, WV. Although we only met with him for an hour, it filled us with a renewed understanding of the importance of the upcoming event.

We were not going to be bogged down over the minute details of preparing for a day - we were going to plan and pray for every day after that day. In my parents' speech to us at our wedding reception, they said, "Marriage is not a bed of roses." It takes commitment, love and understanding to make a marriage last a lifetime. That's why it is so important to have your hearts and minds centered on that as your wedding day nears and especially on the day of the wedding.

Our advice to soon-to-be-married couples is this: Take time during your wedding week to reflect on the sacrament you are about to participate in. Marriage between a baptized man and woman is a sacrament and it means that the bond between husband and wife is a visible sign of the sacrificial love of Christ for his Church. Remember that your wedding day is simply that - a day. Marriage is a lifetime.

Read Preparing for Marriage (part one) here.

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