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alec vanderboom

Last night, I was in charge of picking out the movie. I sort of bottomed out with "P.S. I love you." My husband is such a good sport with the whole girly romantic thing. He kept saying "It's not bad," as I kept picking at the plot line. (An Irish guy gets married to an American Irish girl, he dies at a young age, and sends her letters for a year to help him get over her.) I kept feeling vaguely dissatisfied though out hte flick. The couple are married for 9 years but she's never "ready" for a kid. She's got some issues and regrets after his death, but they all seem sort of flat, sort of lost.

I left the house at 6 AM, alone in a rare moment, to attend First Friday/First Saturday Adoration. I thought about that movie again. Thing thing that bugs me the most is that in the middle of the movie, there is the flash back to the "perfect" meeting of this couple. Meeting the right person is "when your life starts" the movie says. Yet the whole film talks about mistreatment of the "right guy" as inevitable. (For example, in one of the most distressing scenes the widowed heroine goes to her divorced mother for advice. They both comfort themselves that whether by divorce or death, men leave and "you are always left alone." As a Catholic, I had a hard time equating being dumped in divorce to being left as your spouse enters enternal life. One is a sin, one brings tremendous sources of grace.)

I sort of prayed about that issue on my way to Adoration. I told God, "I just can't believe that story is true; that you can meet the perfect Catholic boy in Catholic Ireland and then somehow never get anywhere healed enough to enter a true intimate union with him."

I got this flood of assurance. When God gives you the most precious gift of a "perfect" spouse, He hands you the instructions. He doesn't leave you hanging with all the baggage from your parents divorce or all the original sin in the world. He gives you "instructions" or lessons on how to love each other. He teaches each of you how to care for the other person's soul. Some of those instructions come from the church, like the universal requirement that marriage and openness to children go hand in hand together. Some come from more private revelation. But the point is that, we're not on our own to figure out how to stay married to each other.

My husband says that we're blessed because we had a sacramental marriage. It's true that my grace to love my spouse came wrapped in the same paper as the Miracle at Cana (thank you to my dear Blessed Mother). I have to hope that even if others don't have the special gift of a sacramental marriage, that those "how to care for you spouse properly" lessons aren't far away. I have to pray that more Americans, especialy those searching Irish Catholics get that same grace in their lives.

Marriage is so beautiful. My husband and I have started to joke about the celebrity attention we receive by attending Daily Mass together as a family. Jon says "we are like an endangered species." I told him that while everyone who looks at us know initially assume we're cradle Catholics, the truth is that we're not. We're reclaimed. A boy and a girl once adrifted in the secular dating swamp, reclaimed, purified, and placed down in as a model Catholic family. I pray were just the tip of the iceberg!