Marriage is a term that signifies an agreed union or vow between two consenting adults who signified intentions of living together within the conditions stipulated in their religious, civic, or cultural affinities. As could be deduced, since people come from diverse cultural, ethnic, racial and religious orientations, the beliefs and value systems incorporated within the matrimonial vow or ceremony differs accordingly. For one’s personal understanding and perspective, marriage is conceptualized as one of the sacraments of the Catholic Church that unites man and woman from the time of the matrimony until their demise – or the famous words: until death which is the only rational and justified reason for the dissolution of this sacrament.
This was therefore accurately corroborated in the following definition as shown in the Vatican Archives, the sacrament of matrimony was described as “the matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament” (Vatican: The Holy See, n.d., par. 1). Therefore, it is confirmed from the definition, that the essential ingredients for marriage include union between a man and a woman, the whole life time frame, for the purpose of the betterment of the spouses, for the procreation of children, as wel as for raising and educating children. Likewise, it was clearly stipulated that the union should be between two baptized persons.
In this regard, to be married means being able to withstand the challenges and trials encountered by the spouses. This includes staying by the side of a spouse in times of health and in times of illness; in good times, as well as in bad times; in times of poverty or in times of good wealth; and most especially in enduring the ups and downs of raising children, in the process. Being married during bad times mean finding solutions to problems together. The real challenge to the marriage comes in trials and difficulties when partners’ abilities to withstand adversities are aptly tested. Usually, problems in marriage, such as financial, emotional, social (third-parties), family or relatives, and even work, need to be resolved together. If one partner assumes sole responsibility and accountability for looking solutions to these dilemmas, there are tendencies for greater pressures and anxieties for the spouse who is burdened with the insurmountable tasks.
Likewise, to be married means acknowledging that there are roles and responsibilities to be undertaken, as spouses; and eventually, as parents. In decision making processes, there must be consensus of both partner, as well as those of the children, when needed, to resolve matters and issues pertaining to them.
Also, to be married means accepting the person who one loved and who one agreed to love for the rest of their lives – despite shortcomings, mistakes and errors that were committed within the union. However, part of the role and responsibilities of each spouse is to provide constructive criticisms to each partner and provide ways for correcting mistakes and for improvement. To emphasize, being married does not necessarily mean that one or both of the spouses would become subservient to the other, to the extent that personal and professional growth would be stunted and sacrificed. Ways and means should be offered and provided to make needed changes and transformations that would make the union better.
The secret of being happily married, therefore, is retaining the respect, love, and admiration for each other and allowing each spouse to growth in ways which would benefit their union and that of the well-being of their children.
Vatican: The Holy See, n.d.. Part Two: The Celebration of the Chrisian Mystery. [Online] Available at: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c3a7.htm[Accessed 6 May 2013].