I’m going to get all fairy-tale on you for just a minute: my wedding day was the most amazing day of my life to date. I loved every minute of it. I still get happy when I look at the photos of our day blu-tacked to our bedroom wall (we’re not allowed to hang frames in our apartment; we’re renting). Our wedding day felt like the culmination of all of the talking, dates, praying, seeking and journeying towards our vocation. My husband and I were 20 and 21. It didn’t feel like I was ‘too young’ to get married. We had incredible amounts of support from our family and friends. We were, and are, so blessed.
It isn’t all mountain climbing adventures, cute selfies and warm winter snuggles on the couch watching TV. Sorry to burst your bubble. Okay, sometimes it is like that. But not as often as you think.
My husband and I are both studying full time, I’m working two jobs and he works full-time. We’re busy. We’re also normal and need down time. We need to hang out with our friends (that aren’t each other). We argue about stupid things and important things. My marriage requires a lot from me when sometimes it doesn’t feel like I have anything to give.
Sometimes we’re too tired from uni and work to cook dinner, but we have to cook dinner, because we don’t live at home and mum can’t just whip something up for us (love ya mum). I haven’t lived at home since I finished high-school and man, I didn’t know how to appreciate a full-stocked fridge of food back then.
So how do we do it, being young and married? Jesus is the one who fuels me on this journey. His love flows straight through my veins and into the heart of another. It is Jesus who calls me to holiness through my marriage.
I’m not going to tell you that ‘marriage requires sacrifice’ (because it does, but I’m sure you’ve already heard that 100 times before). I want to tell you that it requires honesty. Honesty with yourself and honesty with God about where you’re at. How are you doing? Are you stressed? What’s the deal with budgeting? Do you need more quality time than you’re receiving? You need to be honest with your spouse. Marriage isn’t a good place for running and hiding. Maybe for a little while, but in the long run honesty will be your best friend. You need to create space for your spouse to be honest with you too.
Being young and married does allow us to be adventurers together. Like, how many weeks can we stretch out our trip to Europe before it affects our studies? And where the heck is that smell in the kitchen coming from?! (we mastered that one). Our weekly trips to the dog park to pat stranger’s dogs are a necessity for us to remember that married life isn’t all about serious work and strategic organisation.
I’m still growing up. I don’t know everything there is to know about life or marriage. Neither does my husband (although he does know a lot) and it can be so confusing for the both of us trying to figure it all out, at the same time. We need grace. We need ALL of the grace. We need to approach the sacraments regularly; not just because ‘we should’ but because we NEED to. How can I offer forgiveness if I do not know of it myself? How can I offer love unconditionally to my husband if I’ve forgotten the ultimate act of unconditional love? Jesus isn’t just my ultimate example; he is my ultimate teacher. I cannot take direction from myself, from society or from my friends alone. I need to take all things to and from Him. There is no other way that I can expect to be faithful in my vocation, if it is not with Jesus.
Let’s create a culture of young people so desperate to live out their vocation that they can’t put aside holiness any longer. Whether you get married or serve the Church with your whole heart through single life, priesthood or religious life - or if you’re still on your way to figuring it out - seek God with your whole heart. Do it now. He will not disappoint you.
“So often, we are tempted to think that holiness is granted only to those who have the opportunity to break away from the ordinary tasks, to devote themselves to prayer. But it is not so! Some people think that holiness is closing your eyes and putting on a pious face... No! That is not holiness! Holiness is something greater, more profound that God gifts us. Indeed, it is by living with love and offering Christian witness in our daily tasks that we are called to become saints… Be holy by becoming a visible sign of God's love and His presence beside us.”
– Pope Francis, ‘The Universal Call to Holiness’;