The Road Less Traveled

Road to Emmaus“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.”

My wife and I encountered peace this past weekend. Not as the world gives peace in the material or the temporal, but we encountered peace in the grace of our marriage Sacrament that we share with God. We encountered each other again and rekindled that love and grace that caused us to express those vows 15 years ago. We attended a Marriage Encounter Weekend here locally that reaffirmed what it means to be married, and what it means to be married as a Catholic. Some ask, “did you fall back in love?” Others probably wonder – “What’s wrong with their marriage?”

You see, in today’s world, we wait until things are broken before we decide to fix it. It’s not that my wife and I are not in love. It’s not that we were having major problems. It’s that we are striving to be better. In society today, we often lose sight of our spouses amidst the hustle and bustle of life – our careers, families, finances, and various other communities or activities we are involved in. This high-tech world in the information age yields a high-volume, multi-task lifestyle in the home. Often, it’s our marriages, and our relationships with our spouses that take a back seat.

So, nothing is wrong with our marriage if you look at it in a worldly view. It’s normal. We love each other. We support each other. We have arguments from time to time, but hey, who doesn’t? But the thing is, you have an argument, and then you don’t communicate effectively, and you say things you shouldn’t, and you go and do things you shouldn’t, and people don’t want to give into their pride and seek forgiveness, nor do they want to forgive. And before you know it, this becomes a pattern – and “Houston, we’ve got a problem.” Your marriage becomes a rut that you’re stuck in, and you go through the motions, and many people start looking for a way out. The easy way out. They let their pride take over and refuse to see it from their spouse’s point of view and understand their feelings. They have to be right, and they have to win.

So many people are there. Are my wife and I there? No, we aren’t, thank goodness. Not yet. But you never know what could happen down the road, if you don’t take care of things in the present. Everyone has their breaking point, and marriage provides a lot of hardships. There are a lot of peaks in a marriage, but there are also a lot of valleys. Marriage is not easy. But anything worthwhile takes work. It takes discipline. It takes patience. And it takes humility. And marriage – the Sacrament of Marriage – is worthwhile.

Working on your marriage, learning how to communicate and make each other better through God’s grace is worthwhile. It’s not the easy road. It’s the road less traveled, and often there are huge ruts, holes, rocks, and other obstacles in the way. But the rewards of traversing this road are limitless. This is why we attended the marriage encounter this weekend – to do that preventative maintenance on our marriage for our trip down this bumpy and dangerous road.

St Luke writes today in the first reading from Acts of the Apostles, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.”

What the disciples were doing was not easy. And they were undergoing many hardships, and it was only through God’s grace that Paul was alive at all. And through all their struggles, they persevered through them, even at times when maybe they were just going through the motions and perhaps in a rut. Perhaps at times, the disciples wondered, is this all there is? Is this really what Jesus asked of me? How many married couples have asked this same thing of God?

And when they arrived, they called the Church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. Then they spent no little time with the disciples.

At these times of heartache and struggle, they would come together as a Church, and look at all they had accomplished, and who they had become. And they spent time together, rekindling that community, that love, and that mission which brought them together. They recharged their batteries for the next leg of their journey down that bumpy road. We as married couples are called to do this. We need to do this from time to time.

Going into this weekend, I knew I love my wife. Of course I do. But I also knew that after 15 years, 7 of those with a son in the mix, life gets in the way. We love our son, and obviously would die for him, but at the same time, he came into our world. We didn’t come into his. We need to take care of each other first and foremost – husband and wife – if we are to be the best parents we can be for our son. Renewal is an important part of everything in life. It helps you remember what is important and it helps you realize what you have, what you’ve been given, and what you can do. It refreshes you and helps you to see your current situation from a different perspective. Because life is all about perspective. Paul, Peter, and the rest of the disciples knew this. Jesus knew this, which is why we reconvene every week, and every day if you want to, to share in His great Sacrifice, and His great Grace.

This reflection started with Jesus talking in the Gospel today, and the rest of the reading goes as this:

Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”

When the world bears down on us and corners us, we can take solace in that Christ will come back to us. He will save us from those evils that seek to destroy us – us as individuals, our families, and our marriages. All we must do is seek Him back. As married couples, we have the power to change the world through God’s grace he’s given us. A loving marriage, one that constantly seeks to renew in our faith and embrace the Holy Sacrament to make each other better is one of the best defenses against evil. Satan knows that if he can break up marriages, he destroys humanity. Just look at the world around us. He’s giving it his best effort. But Jesus proves that as long as we are obedient and subordinate to God and His will, we will receive His grace and we will overcome. We will prevail.

And this is nowhere more apparent that in a loving, graceful marriage. We must be subordinate to each other’s feelings, if we are to truly experience the love that God shares with us in that bond with our spouse. Jesus comes back to us through the Sacraments, and one of the most powerful is Marriage. Let’s embrace this fact, and seek to do His will as married couples, and take the road less traveled, for in it is the shorter path to Heaven.

May God Bless all you married couples out there across the world.

Amen.

About the Author

My name is Joe LaCombe, and I am a web developer/writer in the Indianapolis, Indiana area in the USA. My amazing wife Kristy and I have been married for 17 years and we have an awesome little man, Joseph, who is in 2nd Grade! We are members of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Carmel, Indiana where we volunteer with numerous ministries mainly focused on marriage and family. I simply love to write, and have been writing for A Catholic Moment since 2014. Whether it’s on this website, my personal blog(The Lesser Road), or in my journal – writing is a form of prayer for me, and I love to share it with others, especially as it relates to God’s Word and everyday life. In recent years, as I’ve journeyed through life’s ups and downs, I have sought to deepen my relationship with Christ through a greater understanding of what it means to be Catholic, a strengthening of my prayer life, and fraternity with other men in my parish. And in fact, as often comes out in my writings, this is a personal mission I have right now – to be as strong a Catholic man, husband, and father as I can be in the world today and to be a living example for my son in this regard, and through the process, lead others to Christ with me. Personally, I love to run and be out in the nature that God created, though I don’t get out near as much as I should it seems. I find a deep spirituality in running, and I see distinct parallels between running and spirituality and life. I am excited and extremely blessed to be able to contribute to this website and look forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences!

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13 Comments

  1. Beautifully written and welcome to the ME family. Love and hugs from Melbourne, Australia

  2. We have been married for 45 years. We did our ME Weekend in 1990…and are still involve with the ME Community to this day. It is an honor to welcome you and your wife to Marriage Encounter. Through this article you are giving a gift to many couples.

    We also chose the road less traveled…

    Best wishes and God blessings to both,

    Digby & Guillermina
    Port Coquitlam, BC Canada

  3. What a wonderful article. We will certainly share it at our next ME meeting. Welcome to the ME family. We hope you continue in your own Community, and share with everyone you meet about the graces you encountered!

    Brian and Becky
    Minneapolis, Minnesota

  4. Worldwide Marriage Encounter saved our marriage. We made our Weekend in 1987. Doriano had been laid off of work for the previous 3 years and we had struggled. The struggle had taken a real toll on our marriage. Spending time together on that weekend allowed us to realistically look at the cracks that had formed and carefully listen to each other’s viewpoint. We have remained actively involved since.
    Thank you for your testimony on the importance of taking time for your spouse. God bless you!

  5. Thank you for sharing your testimony about Worldwide Marriage Encounter!! This is a great witness for our weekends and we believe you will touch the lives of many couples not only in your area but across the country and they will attend our weekend because of you!!

    God Bless You!!

  6. Wow! Thank you all for the overwhelming feedback on this reflection. The Holy Spirit is truly alive and at work here, and I was just conveying what He laid in my heart based upon yesterday’s readings and my experience from the weekend! If you think about it, the entire bible is about a marriage – a marriage between God and His people, a marriage between Jesus and His Church, and this all transcends into our individual marriages and is what makes this such a special Sacrament. I encourage you all to keep reading this website, every day, and look at the daily Mass readings as means at which God continues to speak His vows to us! We have amazing writers that allow the Holy Spirit to work through them relaying God’s message to us in unique ways/perspectives. Please consider sharing it with your friends, your loved ones, and your communities. It’s through means such as this website and things like WWME where we can truly change the world, and go forth and be disciples to all nations. Thank you and God Bless!

    Joe

  7. Beautifully expressed! My husband and I just attended our first Marriage Encounter April 24-26, having already experienced Engaged Encounter weekend when we prepared for our wedding. In both cases, we had the opportunity to focus on each other and our relationship, and we came away renewed. We are looking forward to joining a circle of ME couples and continue to grow. Thank you for posting this article so others might consider attending ME.

  8. Wow, the article and the comments had encourage me to continue with the invites to any couple, especially to those couples who are still not sure of which road to travel.

    Thank you so much for your encouragement.
    VickyWilsonCkysonCereniti

  9. Beautiful sharing. Thanks for writing this. I have shared your testimony with my friends & the ME community in Singapore. God’s blessings to you & your loved ones

  10. We have passed on your request Lucy, to a priest friend of ours in Africa. We included the link and hope WWME reaches your area.
    with our love and prayers.
    Ann and Ken.

  11. Nice testimony, we attended our Original weekend in 1993 here in Zambia. For the Zimbabwe couple tell them to contact us on +260966780674 We can arrange a weekend for them here. If it means accommodating them we will.

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