June 1, 2007

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Helpful words of wisdom for newlyweds

Shirley Vogler MeisterAccording to the Rogers and Hammerstein song from “Carousel,” “June is busting out all over. ….”

Weddings are “busting out,” too. It is estimated that 10.8 percent of all weddings occur this month.

The next most popular month for weddings is August at 10.2 percent. The month with the least weddings is January at 4.7 percent.

So, we are now into the month when more newlyweds are starting their lives together than at any other time of the year. That is why this week’s “Faithful Lines” highlights these couples.

Recently, I happily came across the anonymously written “Spouses’ Prayer for Each Other,” which is appropriate for couples of all ages:

“Dear God, grant that I and my spouse may have a true and understanding love for each other. Grant that we may both be filled with faith and trust. Give us the grace to live with each other in peace and harmony. May we always bear with each other’s weakness and grow from each other’s strengths. Help us to forgive each other’s failings and grant us patience, kindness, cheerfulness and the spirit of placing the well-being of each other ahead of self. May the love that brought us together grow and mature with each passing year. Bring us both ever closer to You through our love for each other. Let our love grow to perfection. Amen.”

If I’d had this prayer when Paul and I got married, I would have insisted that it be shared at our Mass. However, I only recently read it in a book titled To Have and To Hold: Poems, Blessings, and Wishes for Newlyweds.

Coincidentally, this collection comes from the same woman, June Cotner, who produced the Motherhood book which I highlighted in my May 11 column. It also has the same publisher, Center Street/Hatchette Book Group. (See www.junecotner.com or www.centerstreet.com.)

Last month, I shared Indianapolis writer Joanne Keaton’s poem about “Generations.” In Newlyweds, her “Recording Joy” in the “Romance” section reminds couples to make personal notes after the wedding or any special family event because “they’ll help you relive/today’s joys again/and again, together.”

I wish I’d had someone to give me that advice before marrying because now—although Paul and I have wedding photos to remind us of some details—other memories are sketchy.

Another Indianapolis poet, Sara Sanderson, whose prose I once featured in “Faithful Lines,” writes in the “Intimacy” section, “So Much for Chores,” turning a mundane moment in a marriage into something tender. She ends with this image: “Across from me,/his eye-crinkling smile/liquefies all my resolve./Oh, listen,/to that insistent rain/and heartbeats drumming.”

Other sections include “Blessings,” “Toasts,” “Romance,” “Reflections” and “Inspiration.” However, the book also covers the struggles in marriage, with one poem being “The Dark Side of Love.”

Yes, unfortunately, there can be that, too.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.) †

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