I’ve only been married for four months, so I have a lot to learn about the sacrament. I’ve read countless blogs, listened to podcasts, watched videos and picked through my library’s section on marriage advice. I’ve dug into the Bible to see what God’s word has to say about striving towards sainthood as a married couple – but the one place I wasn’t expecting to find great advice was in the book of Proverbs.
So when Father Pacwa (host of EWTN live!) released a new book on how the Proverbs are applicable to daily life, I had to check it out and see what he had to say to married couples.
I wasn’t disappointed.
The book of Proverbs holds so many verses that are applicable to daily life, regardless of your vocation. But I found some great verses explained by Father Pacwa that had to do with the sacrament of marriage. Father Pacwa’s newest book, The Proverbs Explained: A Blueprint for Christian Living helps relate each Proverb to different phases of life, and helps apply them to the spiritual journey as well.
Here are three things verses from the book of Proverbs taught me about marriage:
1. Fix dripping faucets before it starts raining
“A continual dripping on a rainy day and a contentious woman are alike” Proverbs 27:15
Have you ever had a dripping faucet in your home? We have one in our apartment right now and it is the definition of annoying. Just when you think you have settled in for the night, the drip-drip-dripping of the faucet will not let you go to sleep.
Proverbs 27:15 says that the constant dripping of a faucet is exactly what an unresolved fight between spouses is like. Like the dripping sound coming from the sink, constant nagging and unresolved problems between a husband and wife can make life hard to enjoy.
“The way a husband and wife can avoid that continuous nagging – that nit-nit-nit-picking – is to keep their relationship in constant repair. A couple can’t avoid this relationship maintenance because eventually it will rain,” Father Pacwa writes. “There will be bills to be paid, stress from overwork, health issues, problems with raising children and so on.”
And men, don’t think you’re off the hook simply because this verse in Proverbs speaks about wives. Maintaining your relationship in marriage takes both spouses working together.
By nipping little problems and miscommunication in the bud, marriages can be ready for when the downpour comes. But the longer the drip-drip-dripping (or nag-nag-nagging) goes on in a marriage, the weaker you’ll be when the big storms come.
2. Be a crown for your spouse
“A good wife is the crown of her husband”
Crowns hold special places of honor on the person wearing it. The same is true with a spouse in marriage. Spouses are given an opportunity to honor each other, and through honoring one another, their own goodness, beauty and holiness grow.
Catholic liturgy reflects this verse from Proverbs. In one of the more rare wedding traditions in the Eastern and Maronite Rites of the Catholic Church, it’s a custom to crown the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony.
“Things that are the same do not accent, highlight, or draw attention to another; rather they wash each other out with their sameness,” Father Pacwa explains. “A husband delights in the differences between himself and his wife, even when he doesn’t fully understand them. A wife grows to appreciate what makes her husband distinct from her by honoring and respecting him. In doing so, each accents the other’s best qualities.”
If there’s one thing I’ve learned after four months of marriage, it is how different men and women are. My husband and I think differently, solves problems differently and process things differently. But there is a beauty in the difference and the way that we compliment each other as husband and wife.
3. Realize that love is way more than just a feeling
“He who finds a wife finds a good thing.”
Marriage is a vocation. God calls men and women into a union with each other and Himself. Couples are called to get each other to Heaven – and sometimes that journey won’t be full of good feelings and emotions.
“We have to be careful not to equate the feeling of love or attraction with the vocation of marriage,” writes Father Pacwa. Love is not a feeling, but a decision to will the good of another.
When you will someone’s good (regardless of how you feel about them), you put God at the center of your marriage. “A tremendous irony of love shows itself when your relationship with God is at the center of your life and your marriage,” Father Pacwa explains. “With God at the center, you will love your spouse far more than if you had put him or her on the pedestal reserved for God alone.”
Beyond the wedding
Wedding and marriage advice is not all that you’ll find in Father Mitch Pacwa’s new book, The Proverbs Explained: A Blueprint for Christian Living. Inside he also discusses parenting, finances, and how to live out the virtues in our everyday life.
Even though the messages found in the book of Proverbs are simple, living out their advice can prove to be difficult. Father Pacwa’s book will help you to understand the practical side of the Proverbs and put them into practice in your life today!