A real marriage is about laying down your life to serve your spouse and children, says Ted Sri.

WCR PHOTO | THANDIWE KONGUAVI

A real marriage is about laying down your life to serve your spouse and children, says Ted Sri.

July 13, 2015
THANDIWE KONGUAVI
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

It's no coincidence that when Jesus performed his first miracle he did it in the context of a wedding.

Jesus is the bridegroom who lays down his life on the cross for his bride the Church, and that is the true love story, said Dr. Edward (Ted) Sri in a talk at the Catholic Family Life Conference.

"If you want to know what marriage is, don't look at your spouse, don't look at your own life, don't look at someone else's marriage, but look at the cross," said the theologian and author from Littleton, Colo.

That is what true marriage is, he said. Our own human marriages participate in and are meant to be signs of that one true marriage, that love story of God.

Given the crisis of faith in the Western world, it is no surprise the world is facing a crisis of marriage, he said.

"If we have lost the sense of God and a God who loves us, a God who died for us, that says, 'How am I ever going to make sense out of my own little love story?'"

Fighting legal battles and getting pundits on the radio to make the case for marriage are helpful responses. But the greatest thing needed to change the culture is to build strong marriages and strong families for ourselves and for the next generation, said Sri.

We need to be more joyful witnesses to the Gospel of marriage, he said. We need to present the good news of marriage again.

MARITAL MESSES

Every marriage is messy, and there will always be issues, conflicts, tensions, hurt and disagreement.

Falling in love with someone is easy, but staying in love is harder, said Sri, comparing falling in love to the first wine at the wedding at Cana.

"It's exciting, exhilarating, people drink it all, but it runs out. It will not sustain the wedding, the marriage, so we need Jesus to come in and we need to have the new wine created and the new wine is true love."

Real love, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is to will the good of another, to seek what is best for the other person, said Sri.

Real love, real marriage, is all about laying down one's life to serve my spouse and the children that come of marriage. It is not inward looking – what do I get out of you – it's about being outward looking and seeking to serve the other, said Sri.

"When we lay down our lives like this, because we're constantly serving, constantly dying to ourselves, people in our world look at that and wonder, 'Why would I ever want that?'

"But let's show them our joy because the truth is, we find our fulfilment and our happiness in life precisely in this kind of totally committed, selflessly giving love," he said.

DAILY TRIALS

The same God who called a couple to marriage continues to call them in the daily circumstances and trials in their married life, said Sri.

God called this couple together and now as things get hard and we don't communicate well, and there's conflict, tension, arguing, you're being stretched like never before, and you look and say, "Why is this happening, why is this not like the love songs?"

Because that is where Jesus is leading you and he wants to change your water to wine, and he wants your love to grow, said Sri.

NEW IDEOLOGIES

Sri said materialism, growing efforts to redefine marriage, moral relativism and a lack of openness to life are among the new ideologies identified by Pope Francis that are out to destroy the family.

Like the many nations which in recent decades have resisted political colonization, we need to resist all attempts at ideological colonization in our families, he said.

Married couples need a lot of help to live their marriages well, said Sri. The Church needs to go beyond marriage preparation classes to provide ongoing formation to help couples be better at living out their marriages.