January 31, 2009
A Dance called "Marriage" - A Wedding Homily
I cannot deny that I am also excited every time I officiate a marriage rite. It is not because that I want to get married also, but it reminds me of the beauty of married life, because I was witness of a happy married life. Thanks to my Nanay and Tatay. My father died six years ago, but I cannot deny that until now, the memories of having a happy family stays with us, especially with my mother, and I guess the memories will stay with us forever.
Yet some of us are not excited anymore to enter the sacrament of marriage. Somehow, they have fear of it. We cannot deny the reality that not all marriages are made from heaven. We have seen happy and loving couples before, saying with feelings, “ikaw lamang ang aking mamahalin, till death do us part,” are now separated, if not they are waging a cold war with each other. We have many broken families today and we know how their children are suffering and devastated by their parents’ separation. We also know couples who are still living in one roof, and yet the fire of their love is no longer there. Their marriages become a routine and bringing up their children becomes a heavy burden and obligation and not a chosen responsibility and joy. Some couples are not even married, but living together without the Church’s blessings, because they feel that the church marriage is a legal hindrance if they decide to part ways. Why such marriages are happening now? Maybe because many married couples failed to realize that marriage is like a dance.
Married life is like watching to people dance gracefully and intimately. When I look at marriage life, it is a lot like dancing to me. One must lead the dance. When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The movement doesn't flow with the music, and everything is becomes uncomfortable and jerky. When one person realizes that, and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to flow with the music. One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back or by pressing lightly in one direction or another. It's as if two become one body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender, willingness, and attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and skill from the other. In real dancing, most of the time, it is the gentleman who leads. But in the dance of life called “marriage”… the husband and wife take turns in leading the dance. And if both husband and wife learn the art of allowing each other lead or take turns in leading, it becomes a happy dance of marriage. Roderick and Rubilyn, I want you to discover your own dance by learning to respect one another and enjoy the music called life.
But such graceful and happy dance in marriage will not come to you naturally. You need to work for it. You need to desire it, starting today and for the rest of you life. Marriage is a commitment. It is a commitment of giving yourself to each other. It is a commitment of saying “I love you” and “I forgive you” to one another when one fails to dance well in the music of life. It is a commitment of not saying “ayoko na” when in the process of learning your dance, one of you accidentally made a wrong move or suddenly step on each others’ foot. Yesterday, when asked both of you, “nag-away na ba kayo?” And you answered, “Noong bago pa lang kami Father, madalas, pero hindi na ngayon.” I guess you are learning the dance slowly. But marriage life is different dance. You may still have some misunderstandings and misgiving ahead of you. But just learn to love and forgive, and you will be fine. Just hold on and persevere and you will learn your own rhythm and your own dance. It is not good to dance alone. That’s not marriage life.
Part of learning your own dance is to know the seven steps of dancing gracefully in married life. It’s a way of life on how to REMAIN IN EACH OTHER’S LOVE - to see, to listen, to touch, to chat, to pray, to walk, and to live.
To see – Learn to see each other by understanding each other in the eyes of love. Try to see the “You and I” in each other … that from now on, in married life, you are forever united and cannot be separated.
To listen – Learn to humbly listen to one another. There are still so much to learn from each other. Conflicts of ideas may still arise but listen and you will survive any trials of your married life.
To touch – Be sensitive enough to each other and spend time together. Learn to be sensitive to the needs of each other. Console each other when crisis comes and celebrate each other’s joy in times of victories.
To chat – Learn to share stories to one another. The problem with married couples now is they don’t know how to listen to each other’s stories.
To pray – Learn to pray together. What you decide in prayer together will determine the quality of your family life. Remember to consult God. If there is a third person allowed in your dance, it is God.
To walk – Always walk and work together. After this wedding ceremony, everything you do is an “our project” …”our family.” … “Our problem”
To live – Enjoy married life. It is not just raising a family. It is still you Roderick and Ruby. It is unfortunate that many couples forgot their friendship when already married. They are so caught up in raising their children. Once in a while find time to do things you love to do together. Continue window shopping together at pueblo. Attend Mass together in this church. Take care of your parents together. Do things you enjoy doing together. Your friendship is too beautiful to forget after today’s ceremony. After all, your friendship is the foundation of your married life.
Learn to choose to love and fall in love everyday. Say YES to each other everyday. And before you know it, you are enjoying the dance of life called marriage. And years from now, your children will embrace and thank you for giving them a wonderful family, and for showing them how to dance gracefully in married life.
It is true that not all marriages are made in heaven. But with your constant and unwavering love and by remembering to see, to listen, to touch, to chat, to pray, to walk, and to live together daily, you will make your marriage and your home, a piece of heaven here on earth.
My prayer for you today is that God's blessings and mercies be upon you on this day and everyday. Dance together with God, trusting God to lead and to guide you through each season of your life.
(A Homily for the Wedding of Roderick and Rubilyn)
- Fr. Willy M. Samson,SJ
Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag Parish
Tumaga, Zamboanga City
January 31, 2009