Am I committed to this other person for who he is or for the enjoyment I receive from the relationship? Does my beloved understand what is truly best for me, and does he have the faith and virtue to help me get there? Are we deeply united by a common aim, serving each other and striving together toward a common good that is higher than each of us? Or are we just living side-by-side, sharing resources and occasional good times together while we selfishly pursue our own interests and enjoyments in life?”
Read that last question again and see if that doesn’t describe the sad reality for many people today. Divorce happens in large part because people see others as means to personal pleasure rather than persons to whom they wish to give themselves. Yet, for those willing to stick around, Vanier describes the renewal that comes with opening up a marriage to its divine calling:
“Through the joys and ecstasies, but also through the pain, the blockages, and times of forgiveness, they progressively learn how to love and be faithful. They learn that love is a gift, a beautiful gift, but that each one has to work at loving.… At first the gift of their tenderness and their bodies is very immature. But because they want their union to be a sign of the presence of God and a sacrament, they grow together in love and truth through this ‘work.’ Together they become a sign of the Kingdom.
An excerpt from Men, Women and the Mystery of Love by Edward Sri