Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Why Marriage Is Good for the Soul

The Catholic Church has taught me a thought-provoking and humbling view of marriage: that its goal is for each spouse to help the other get to Heaven. Even if you don't believe in Heaven, you might be able to at least support the core notion that married couples ought to be helping each other to become better people. If that's the case, my husband is certainly up for a challenge, because I have my fair share of vices to kick.

Fortunately for him (and for me), I've found that simply the state of being married is in and of itself good for my soul. Every day of our marriage gives us abundant opportunities to grow in the four cardinal virtues - prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. These are habitual attitudes which, when acquired by effort, allow a person to lead a peaceful, joyful life.

To be prudent is to make careful, wise decisions that are for your ultimate good. My husband and I have been offered many opportunities to practice prudence, especially when it comes to our finances. As we struggle to incorporate a baby girl into our budget, we have to carefully weigh our priorities and make decisions that may not lead to immediate gratification but will ultimately be the best choices for our family. If we were each on our own, we'd only have to meet our own needs, but being part of a marriage forces us to put the good of others ahead of our individual desires.

To be just is to strive for equity in human relationships according to each person's due. My husband and I try to be fair in everything from housework to entertainment. He might not want to do the laundry, but he knows it's not fair for me to do all the chores. I might not want to watch the comedy that's shown up from Netflix, but I know it's not fair for me to choose every movie we watch. Sacrifice may be required, but it ultimately shows that we're equal partners in our marriage and creates a sense of harmony.

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