“I'd only give one piece of advice to anyone marrying. We're all quite similar in the end. We all get old and tell the same tales too many times. But try and marry someone kind. And this is a kind man with a good heart.” The first time I heard this in the movie About Time, I teared up and squeezed my then-boyfriend’s hand, avoiding the bucket of buttery popcorn that sat on the armrest between us. On Saturday, I watched About Time for the umpteenth time and whispered my favorite line with teary eyes, as I glanced over at my now-husband. After just a year and a half of marriage, I couldn’t agree more with the character's words. And you won’t find a kinder man with a better heart than my husband, Anthony. The goodness of Anthony’s heart is infinite; he is not only kind, but generous, respectful, gentle, hilarious, courageous, forgiving, loyal, and faith-filled. He is truly a holy man—a holy husband.
So what exactly constitutes a holy husband? Well, this one selflessly plays many roles: daily coffee and smoothie maker, the subject to “Trainer K’s” workouts, my marathon cheerleader and number one field hockey fan, therapist to a therapist-in-training, budget keeper, photographer/IT/editor/investor for With A Little Grace, finder of my chronically misplaced phone/keys/wallet, vacation planner, my prayer buddy, sweet treat tester, and my true north, among many more. Despite his many hats, Anthony plays one role that easily surpasses the rest: he is the one who I am striving toward eternity with. Through the sacrament of marriage, we believe that it is our responsibility to lead each other to heaven. This is a sacramental marriage.
In the Catholic Church, we believe that our chosen vocation—married life, single life, religious life, or ordained life—is the way through which we best experience God’s love. For Anthony and me, this means that we experience God’s love in our lives through each other. He is the conduit of God’s love for me; the major vessel through which God’s love flows to me. But what does this look like in practice?
We have all heard that God loves us unconditionally. He knows us so completely—our deepest, most painful wounds and our most shameful moments, as well as the tenderness and beauty of our hearts and our most joyful moments—and loves us knowing all of that. In a similar way, Anthony knows my innermost longings, dreams, and hurts. He’s seen me at my worst, when I’ve let the devil get the better of me. He has literally seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in me and loves me so deeply through it all, not in spite of it all. This is what it is like to experience God’s love incarnate. If we step aside and think about this, this is a big responsibility. It takes patience, forgiveness, vulnerability, and grace to love someone in the moment when most people would rather punch them in the face. But Anthony takes on this responsibility, this promise, this vocation in a way that is only explained by holiness.
Being the recipient of this kind of love, I’ve come to one conclusion: if an imperfect human can love me this deeply and unconditionally, how much greater can our perfect God love me? So, this sacramental marriage does its job—leading me to deepen my relationship with Jesus and to strive for holiness. While I won’t pretend to be an expert on exactly what that looks like, I learn from the everyday ups and downs, through Anthony’s patience and forgiveness. So, it only seemed fitting to postpone a “Marriage Monday” post for today, on my holy husband’s birthday. Happy birthday, Love! I love you.
With a little grace,