Jesus showed that He approved of married life at the wedding in Cana. He came to the rescue of the couple by turning water into wine. Obviously not enough was purchased. When there’s no more wine, it’s time to go home.
The family would have been embarrassed and Mary could feel the tension in the air. She appealed to Her Son who saved the day. The wine represents the spark of life—the good times—the reason why people get married in the first place—because they love one another. The story is our story. Sooner or later, every couple experiences a crisis. When two people begin to live with each other they discover things that they didn’t know. Some of the discoveries are difficult to accept. What was considered “cute” during dating can become “gross” after marriage. Therefore, the more that the groom and bride know about each other, the better chances they have for a happy marriage. A couple is asked to prepare 6 months before their intended wedding date. Not 6 months of waiting—6 months of preparation. They attend a retreat at San Juan for a weekend. Couples have said that the weekend was the high point of the preparation. They write letters to each other, associate with other couples, learn about natural family planning. From the start the couple is given an instrument called the “Focus” in order to assess their compatibility on important issues. There are no right or wrong answers. More like looking into a mirror—the instrument shows where a couple agrees and where they are different. They are also asked to meet with a Sponsor Couple—a married couple who walk with them and share from their experience. The process is geared to help people discern their future, never to discourage, but to keep them focused on reality.
Remember that a baptized Catholic is obligated to marry before a bishop, a priest or deacon and two witnesses. Doesn’t cost a penny. The parish church should be the first to know when a couple intends marriage. Doesn’t usually happen. What is top priority is the reception venue, then the dress, the cake. Lots of attention is directed to who are going to be the Pardinos and Mardinas—who will be invited and who will be avoided. Couples get very nervous. Then don’t invite anyone and you won’t get nervous. Some couples have had to be given tranquilizers just to survive the wedding.
Quality of dating needs to be considered. If a couple only goes out to movies together, not much conversation can happen at the movies. Meeting someone on the Internet lacks intimacy. Texting back and forth without hearing someone’s voice is popular but not the recipe for a lasting relationship. Once folks are married, one of the greatest mistakes is to take each other for granted. “He’s always going to be there; she’s never going to go away.” Marriage does not take our freedom away. The choice to stay together has to happen every day. “You don’t bring me flowers anymore.”—is a sad song that too often becomes reality. There are no fairy godmothers, no genies, no magic wans. Two people vow to love each other until death—they are the only two people who can keep the vow. “I, take you to be my wife, husband. I promise to be faithful to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love you and to honor you all the days of my life.” Marriage is the only Sacrament that is not given, administered by the bishop, priest or deacon. As ministers, we are the official witnesses of the Church. The vows take on flesh with the passing of years. Those who have been married for many years can testify that the Sacrament is no always easy, but with God’s grace, all things are possible. If Jesus can turn water into wine, He can also change hearts.
Promote marriage as the foundation of our Church. Reach out to those who are hurting. If God calls us to live a vocation in marriage, He will also give us the grace to remain faithful.