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“Remaining” With Your Spouse

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When my husband, Joshua, and I were engaged and planning our wedding Mass, we read through all the options for readings in the book Together for Life. When we got to the Gospels, there was a reading that stood out to me because I couldn’t figure out why it was an option for a Nuptial Mass. 

It was from John, chapter 15: 9-12.

Jesus said to His disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.” 

            A year later, I understand more than ever why this particular Gospel is inspiring when beginning a marriage. Jesus instructs His disciples to love one another as He has loved them- selflessly, sacrificially, purely. He tells them that for their joy to be complete, they need only to “remain” in His love.

            Sometimes that’s all spouses can do for each other: remain. Joshua and I are weeks away from our first child’s due date. The pregnancy has been more difficult than we ever imagined it would be. I have been very nauseous and in so much pain nearly constantly for 9 months. The mental strain of worrying over a child in the womb every time there is the slightest cause for concern- or even just general worry over the months- is exhausting. And all too often, there is nothing my dear husband can do for me other than remain.

            Marriage is a life-long commitment. That’s a very long time. That’s a very long time to experience more highs and lows than we can possibly imagine. That’s a very long time to go through every season of life with the same person by your side. Spouses cannot always fix each other’s problems (like my nausea and pain) or ease the mental strain they are going through (pregnancy hormones are no joke). But what your spouse can always do, without fail, is remain with you.

            The closer we get to birth, the more I think about the image above: Christ hanging on the cross, sacrificing His body so that I may have life, with Mary and the Beloved Disciple remaining with Him. Right now, I have the incredible gift of being joined to Christ on the cross, as all mothers do, as I sacrifice my body for my child’s life. My husband is both Mother Mary and St John. I know he experiences a sword of pain in his heart as he watches me. He is my beloved who stays by my side. This is the true vocation of marriage: to remain with another, no matter the cost.

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