Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 23, 2008
Our Marriage is Great
Romancing from Rio to Calgary
By VERA LUCIA COTTIM-COUGHLAN
and TIM COUGHLAN
We met on a Catholic website on Aug. 5, 2002. Two weeks later we unsubscribed, committing to get to know each other.
A "revert" Roman Catholic, I was a 39-year-old single mother with a painful, disordered and "successful" worldly past.
By God's grace I came back in 1997 after experiencing the power of his redemptive and restoring love through Mary, Reconciliation, the Eucharist and a call to serve the Church.
Tim was a 40-year-old man, broken financially and emotionally, who had recently fled a destructive marriage with his two young sons.
In October 2002, after dozens of novenas and rosaries prayed over hour-long phone conversations, I hopped on a plane in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and 20-plus hours later landed in Calgary for a 45-hour visit.
Three years later, on July 28, 2005, we celebrated our vows at St. Luke's Church in Calgary before Father Avinash Colaco, a few friends and family members, including my daughter and Tim's sons, now our three beloved children.
Why do we have a great marriage?
Because . . .
- We prayed about it.
- We had both experienced first-hand what life away from God's grace was like - so he comes first. Through daily personal - and together - prayer we praise and thank him for his love and the gift of having found each other.
- From the beginning we promised to be honest, truthful and respectful of our pasts, something that at times caused me great anxiety and fear. God continues healing us everyday. We are very aware of our mission to heal each other and get our children to heaven. We laugh, cry, forgive and grow.
- We walked in faith, trust and obedience to God and his commandments. We vouched to honour God and were prayerful to never impose our will on him; allowing him to heal, teach, prepare and lead us to that "right timing" when we would be together - if that was his will.
- We asked for - and were granted - small and great consolations that helped us in our long, painful wait for Tim's civil divorce and annulment. We do the same today. God's presence is real; we seek and acknowledge him every step of the way. God never ceases to lift us up.
- We were determined to break up if Tim didn't receive an annulment - it came almost one full year before his civil divorce was finalized. (Of course, the Church only issued the certificate when she received a copy of the divorce.)
- Tim phoned and we got engaged with the simple, white gold wedding bands we had bought together three months earlier and had kept in our drawers until that moment.
- We love our children as our own blood, treating one another as such, despite the world's (and psychology's) constant reminders of being a "blended family." Yes, we all carry deep and hurtful wounds, but the only thing God tells us repeatedly in prayer and the sacrament of Reconciliation is that we must love and teach our kids about him - how he continually comes to us regardless of who we are or what we do.
We are confronted daily with the consequences resulting from the choices we made at a time when we believed it was all about us. But we march on - in surrender, trust and sacramental love blessed from above. Some days are hard, others, sweet.
Our marriage is great because God is greater.
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