Purity deepens our life
Last August, on the first Saturday, we celebrated the first anniversary of our sacramental union in marriage. I have known my husband for six years. Before getting married I had known him for five. Throughout that time we we went through a lot together, but never in all that time did we avoid discussing the subject of our faith. We knew from the very start that we would not have sex before marriage, but, alas, we fell into the trap of caressing and passionate kissing. I use the word “trap” advisedly, since now, in hindsight, I can see that every form of physical fondling before marriage is wrong and every attempt at self-justification (“after all, we are not having sex”) is a justification of a wrong committed. We both felt compelled to act on our physical attraction: we had to do it; we could not do otherwise. We went to confession, and two weeks later we fell back into it. It was a nightmare for us. We grew resigned to our fate (“we failed again”). Now I know why it was so difficult to break with our sinful behavior. We wanted to persevere in doing good through sheer willpower — our own. It cannot be done that way. We must put Jesus and His Mother in first place — then we can do it. That is what happened to us.
One day our parish received a visitation by a copy of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Jasna Gora. After making a confession, both my future husband and I offered Mary our pledge to abstain from sexual intimacy until marriage. And in this we succeeded! From then on, our raging hormones calmed down and we broke free of passion and lust, although not without the occasional arousal of emotions. At this time we came to know an exceptional priest, who became our spiritual director. The talks we had with him and our practice of frequent confession strengthened us interiorly. But there were other trials that arose during this time. For no real reason we considered splitting up. But thanks to the guidance of our spiritual director we came to understand that it was Satan trying to drive a wedge between us, because we were living chaste lives. Unable to come between us through lust, he tried to separate us in another way: by destroying that which was pure and divine. Only through prayer, trust in Mary, and honest talks were we able to weather this difficult crisis. The period of our formal engagement was absolutely pure — and for this I am particularly thankful to Our Blessed Mother. We got engaged on the first Saturday of October and were married on the first Saturday of the following August. Immediately we set out on a walking pilgrimage to Czestochowa. There I left my engagement ring as a votive offering to Mary. Along with this ring, I felt I was offering her my virginity — unsullied by premarital sex.
That was only the beginning of our life together. We look back on the past with serenity, without fear, with the satisfaction that we began our life together in the love of God and in union with Mary (a few months after our wedding we joined the Knighthood of the Immaculata). I recall my wedding day as a day of intense concentration, inner peace, and perfect confidence that the man I was marrying was the best man under the sun: pure, prayerful, and in love with God — and with me. Strange to say, I felt no nervousness on my wedding day. Somehow everything went off so naturally. My family home, where we held the reception, was filled with God’s presence. Perhaps the fact that there was no alcohol served had something to do with it. Or perhaps it was because it was the first Saturday of the month — a day when Our Lady is especially present.
We use natural family planning — sympto-thermal — methods. This was not strange to me, for I had been charting my fertile cycles for four years, and so I did not find this a burden. What is more, we accept ourselves totally, including our fertility; indeed we value it most highly. We are planning to have a baby at the end of this year. I would like to have my first child after finishing my studies, for I am still at the university.
Our periods of abstinence (during my fertile periods) are not at all difficult for us (what is two weeks at the most compared with five years?) Besides that, I have had some health problems, which rule out sexual intimacy for several months. Our period of premarital abstinence taught us the virtue of patience.
Our sexual life is an entirely new experience for us. We know that we still have a long way ahead of us, but my husband and I enjoy such a strong spiritual bond that even in the most intimate moments, when something does not work out for us, we can laugh at ourselves and put the whole thing in perspective.
Another thing: prayer accompanies us every day. We pray together. Most often it is the rosary. Without this prayer we could not be where we are.
Love is not a feeling, but a decision — to serve
We have known each other for three years and have been engaged for six months. Arthur has a disability. At the age of sixteen he suffered a cerebral embolism — probably the result of a genetic defect. He is as independent as he can be and quite mobile; in fact, his disability is not easily noticeable, but, alas, there is the danger that his symptoms will worsen. He could suffer another embolism and very well end up requiring permanent care. For the present, he must watch himself carefully, take his blood pressure frequently, and keep a constant watch on his blood circulation. I am aware of the dangers, but this does not frighten me, and I am willing to take on such a vocation. I know that Arthur needs another person to encourage him to keep up his regular medical treatment, to observe his diet, and avoid physical effort. I have a great deal of strength and I am strongly convinced that this is the path cut out for me. But I also know that without a “spiritual pill” this would be impossible for me. For me this “pill” consists in prayer, the Eucharist, and the Word of God. As a child, I belonged to the Children of Mary, and later I was a member of the Catholic Youth Movement. I even seriously considered becoming a nun. I am grateful to God for this possibility of developing a more intensive spiritual life.
We came to know each other through mutual friends. Arthur lived in a boarding school for disabled youth run by the Salesian Fathers. At first it was just an acquaintance. Then we began to see each other more often. We even stopped seeing each other for a while, but then we got together again — convinced by this time that we could not live without each other. We both have jobs and are financially independent.
At first Arthur’s parents were against our getting married, but now they see that we are capable of living a married life just like any other couple. I am fully aware of the path that awaits me. I have decided on this step fully aware of all its consequences — even if this should involve caring for Arthur twenty-four hours a day. I am prepared to take on the most difficult form of service. This is my choice, but it is also a natural element of the love that we bestow upon each other. Thanks to the word of God, I understand that love is not a feeling or saying that one loves someone. It is a decision — to serve. I already know this now that we are engaged. I wish to realize this love in the bond of marriage. Even now I can do this and I strongly feel that I am living not for myself, but for him.
The above article was published with permission from Miłujcie się! in November 2010