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The Fight for Marriage: Live Love

May 11, 2010
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Image: luigi diamanti /

This post is the 2nd part of a three part series entitled The Fight for Marriage, focused on the ways that you and I can be a part of the spiritual battle for the sacrament of marriage.

What does it mean to love?

What does it mean to be in love?

All of us think we know love when we see it, but I’ve yet to meet someone who can place an ultimate definition on love. The biblical writer, John, says, “God is love.” Does that mean that love is God?

It might seem a foolish task to consider love in this way, and yet I use these questions to articulate a point: that when each of us hears the word, “love” something different pops into our brains. I would argue that our individual notions of love are as unique as our very fingerprints.

Yet, each of us is expected to love.
We are expected to love God… but we’ll talk about that later.
We are expected to love our neighbor… we’ll talk about that later too.
If we’re called to the married life, we’re expected to love our spouse… but do we really even know what that means?

Catherine Doherty, a Catholic social activist once mused:

“Priests undergo long years of preparation in seminaries. So do all religious, male and female. But who gets preparation for marriage and where is its novitiate? Frankly, it should begin at the fathers’ or mothers’ knee.., by seeing the parents’ example.

The boy and girl about to marry are “in love.” But do they love? Do they understand that theirs is the vocation to love – and to love so well that their children will learn love by just being their children and going into the school of their love.”

Back to School or The Time for Re-education
Did you attend your parents school of love?

Unfortunately for too many people, the answer is “yes,” and the lessons they learned are ones they would do well to forget.

We all learn how to love from our parents. Their example forms the foundation of the way that we give and receive love. For this reason, a lot of us are dysfunctional.

It’s not that our parents didn’t love each other. It’s not even that they didn’t give us some great principles to follow. It’s that, for most of us, our parents didn’t exemplify the love of mutual submission that lies at the heart of our true marriage vows.

The good news: you’re on the path to discovering this love and living a life of it.

The catch: you’ve got to be the lesson of love that serves as the re-education for others. That’s you’re job: to live love, not just for your own children, but to be the school of love for everyone who was poorly educated the first time around.

Why You’re So Important
So you’re probably thinking, “how am I supposed to exemplify perfect love, I’m anything but perfect?”

The simple fact is this: most people aren’t looking for perfect. They are incredibly cynical about marriage. Every week, they open up their internet browser to find another story of a high-profile marriage torn apart. If that wasn’t enough, they’ve seen it in the lives of their friends, family and co-workers. Many who are single have come to believe that real, dedicated marriage doesn’t exist. Many who are married are just waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the bottom to fall out.

The average person’s estimation of marriage is so low that catching sight of a couple even striving to be exceptional challenges everything they believe about marriage.

They will know you by the love you have…

Jesus reminded his disciples that the world would know them because of the love they had for one another. If this was true for his disciples, how much more should we, his disciples who have entered into covenant with one another, evidence this love. God likens our marriages to the covenant He made with the nation of Israel and to the new covenant of Christ’s self-sacrificial love for the church.

The way we love should boldly claim the covenant to which we’ve been called and be a beacon in the midst of dimmed and distorted lights claiming to be true expressions of marriage. We should be the school of love for those who have lost sight of the true vision of marriage.

In short… we should live love in a way that transforms the way that all others think of it.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. James Connolly permalink
    May 19, 2010 6:30 am

    Nice site – both thoughtful and stimulating – well done! I would be very grateful for the source of the reference you make from Catherine Doherty – any possibility of emailing it to me?

    Thanking you in anticipation


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