Kathryn’s story of love and redemption is beautifully told in this video put out by Crossroads Church of Cincinnati, Ohio. Kathryn’s testimony reveals a painful past that is all too familiar to so many. She allows us to see how she carried those unresolved hurts into her relationships and ultimately her marriage. Admitting to not fully trusting in her husband’s love or God’s love, Kathryn brings to light the reason for her failed marriage.

Can a marriage succeed when one or both spouses don’t know their worth?

You were bought at a price. (1 Corinthians 6:20)

When Kathryn did not know her value in Christ, she was looking for her husband to love her in a way only God can. She expected her husband to be her God, to heal her pain, and to give her value. Of course, he failed. No man or woman can love with that type of perfection and forgiveness-only Christ. So when her husband failed, she began to search for another man to fill that void. Thankfully, Kathryn did discover the love of God and was able to save her marriage, but we all know people who never realize the depths of God’s love for them and continue to go from relationship to relationship in search of that Love. “The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for. “(CCC 29)

If you are having difficulty in your marriage, I would suggest two things:

Remember that all couples have difficulties, but don’t allow yourself to get swamped by the sometimes overwhelming current of public opinion that shouts: “Give up! It’s impossible!” Because it is possible; and it is worth it. Remember Kathryn’s story.

Don’t just remember her story, follow her steps. Spend some time in prayer. Are you placing unrealistic expectations on your spouse? Maybe you are expecting your spouse to be your Savior. Prayerfully ask God to reveal His love to you and to your spouse.

Can a marriage persevere without the love of God as it’s foundation? A cord of three strands is not easily broken.Ecclesiastes 4:12

 Christ is our example of love and forgiveness. We lay down our lives for one another just as He gave His life for us. We forgive and never count the cost. As Kathryn said in the video, “God showed me that His love is faithful and when I experienced that kind of forgiveness from God and from my husband without deserving it – that’s Love.” Many times are husbands and wives do not deserve to be forgiven, but we forgive them because of our love for God and the commitment we made to Him in the Sacrament of Marriage. God does not leave us to do this on our own. He empowers us with many graces.

In our Catechism (1642): Christ is the source of this grace. “149 Christ dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another’s burdens, to “be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ,“150 and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love.

My Experience of Marriage

Marriage is the most difficult thing I have ever done. My human heart wants to give up at times. Too many days I don’t feel like loving my husband in the self-sacrificing kind of way. However, God is my rock and fortress on these days. I cling to Him, to His word, and to His promises. He strengthens our marriage through the trials.

At the same time, marriage is the most joyful thing I have ever been a part of. My human heart bursts with love for my husband. There are days when I clearly see what a wonderful gift God has chosen to bestow on me. One of the closest things to heaven on earth is the pure love between a husband and a wife. On these days, I also cling to God going to Him with praise and thanksgiving. He strengthens our marriage through the joys.

That said, the vocation of marriage is no fairy tale. It is a difficult road that teaches us to run to God and humbly ask for His help. In America, there is one divorce approximately every 36 seconds (Source: http://1.usa.gov/1dMPvI2). The world looks for the quick fix and believes the answer is divorce, but stand apart and persevere through the difficult times by inviting God into your marriage. His plan and purpose for your marriage is good, no matter how it seems. No marriage is perfect and studies show that those people who endure in difficult marriages are happier than those who choose divorce in the end[1].  You may not understand why your marriage is so hard, but as Kathryn learned, place your trust in the Lord and lean not your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). He makes all things new. Place your hope in Him if your marriage is in need of redemption so that He may restore your joy.

[1] Waite, L., Browning, D., Doherty, W., Gallagher, M., Luo, Y., & Stanley, S. (2002). Does divorce make people happy? Findings from a study of unhappy marriages. New York: Institute for American Values