Our marriage retreat was a time of great renewal for our marriage where Marion and I became more united in prayer with one another and with the rhythms of our own marriage. It was inspiring to hear the struggles and successes of other married couples, all married for different lengths of time. For me, the inspiring part is always that people are able to stay married and together despite many tragedies and serious tests of that commitment.
They say that if you can stay married for seven years, then the statistics show that you will probably stay married (the dreaded seven year itch). Marion and I are going to celebrate our 7th anniversary on April 20, 2009. We've been dating for 2 more years--so while it often seems like yesterday to me, we've been married for some time.
While our marriage is not without it's challenges, I think we really listen and respect each other. We took some time to look at some of the areas that we need to work on this weekend and also (and more importantly) to really celebrate the joys of our marriage--something I think we forget to do often. As a couple who doesn't have children we noticed how important our dog has become for us as he has given us something else to unite us and another way to express love not only to our dog (Haze--who has a blog of his own at hazehayes.blogspot.com) but to one another as well. Haze was a gift to me from Marion for my 37th birthday.
We also noticed that we are challenged by time. I became jealous of the couples with children but not because they have kids and we don't--but because we seem to share the same struggles with making time for our relationship. The difference is that their children have placed demands on their time and that results in the challenge of creating time for each other. We don't have that as a legitimate issue. We simply choose other things to occupy our time. I should state for the record--I'm really the one who always has lots of other activities to occupy my time and I tend to work later than I need to.
So this was a good wake-up call and a good opportunity to take that time for one another and become closer with each other. We danced to our wedding song, in fact, the the entire weekend had a metaphorical theme of dancing through life, but we all literally danced together often throughout the weekend as couples. I came away with one very significant moment of clarity:
I married the right girl almost 7 years ago. And I feel that am without a doubt the luckiest man in the world because of that.
Your humble blogger is Mike Hayes, a well-known expert in the world of young adult ministry (20s and 30s) in the Catholic Church. Mike is the author of Googling God (Paulist, 2007) where he explores both the chaotic world that young people live in and their religious reactions to that world. He also explores the age of instant gratification and how churches can respond to the needs of the young adult age by using technology alongside more traditional ministry methods.
Mike founded the award winning BustedHalo.com® in 2001 and continues to contribute to it as the editor of their catechetical section appropriately named Googling God.
Recently, he left BustedHalo® to focus on more direct ministry with young people at St Joseph University Parish as a Campus Minister for the South Campus at the University at Buffalo.
He has only two loves: his adorable wife, Marion and a nine pound chihuahua named Haze, who still find him amusing enough to let them live in their home.