Love Through Our Ages: The Transformation of Love
Submitted by Deacon Jim Krupka
About a year ago, the U.S. Census Department released some statistics on marriage duration in this country. There is good news. In 2016, 76% of men and 77% of women were in their first marriage among all currently married adults. By 2014, over half of men and women in their first marriage (who married between 1970 and 1984) had at least reached their 25th anniversary. The numbers have continued to improve since the divorce peak in the 1980s.
Pope Francis states the obvious. As we live longer, our marriages last longer. Marriages now last five, six decades or more. The Pope also acknowledges that marriage brings no guarantee that we will feel the same about each other all through life. Changes happen. Yet, the couple that pledges a lifetime of love for each other will overcome any change in how we look, what we can do, or even how much fun we are for each other. A true covenant love overcomes any emotion or state of mind. That takes some effort. Husband and wife must reaffirm their decision to love daily. When they do that, the emotional joy of being together surpasses all else. Part of the energy that fuels that love is an appreciation for all each has given to the other.
Here is how to start. Think back to your wedding day. Pull out some pictures to remind you of the beauty, strength, talents, hopes and dreams that the person you married brought to that wedding. Then remember, all of that was given to you. In the world’s eyes, you may not be as beautiful or as strong as you were back then. But any loss of beauty, adjustment of dreams, or other products of aging are part of what your beloved gave to you. Remember that selfless gift on days that you might not feel great about your marriage. You will be overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude. All will be better.
Pope Francis says that the marriage bond finds new forms over the years. He calls the process “the transformation of love.” He’s right. Covenant love in a sacramental marriage is continuous for a lifetime, but the details are alive and everchanging. As the Pope says, the cement for the bond comes from prayer to the Holy Spirit for an outpouring of His grace.