June 25, 2021

Faith and Family / Sean Gallagher

God’s providence is a sure guide in the vocation of marriage

Sean GallagherWhen my wife Cindy and I exchanged our vows of marriage 20 years ago on June 9, 2001, many people who joined us that day told me how lucky I was.

I certainly can understand the sentiment. It’s hard for me to imagine any man, let alone a chump like me, deserving such a wonderful wife.

That having been said, though, I told many that day who said this to me that luck had nothing to do with it.

I wasn’t claiming a great accomplishment in marrying such a brilliant woman. No, I remember saying humbly in response, “Luck had nothing to do with it. It was all God’s providence.”

And on June 9, 2001, that was as clear to me as the beautiful blue sky that shone overhead on that wonderful day.

How could it not have been?

Cindy and I had dated for about six months as young college students 10 years earlier when she was a freshman and I was a sophomore at Marian University in Indianapolis.

After she broke up with me (smart girl), we went our separate ways for several years, having little contact with each other.

She worked for many years as a registered nurse in Columbus while I was a graduate student at the University of Notre Dame. Later, I actively discerned possible vocations to the priesthood and then religious life.

It was toward the end of that time of discernment and formation, when I was beginning to realize that God may be calling me instead to marriage, that Cindy came back into my life.

She was at the beginning stages of discerning a possible call to religious life and just wanted to let me know that she admired what I was doing.

Over the next year, our discernment deepened through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This divine inspiration helped us to realize that God had called us to marriage. He had led us on mysterious winding paths that diverged far apart but ultimately, through his providence alone, came back together.

The confidence in divine providence that God placed in our hearts on June 9, 2001, has only grown during the past 20 years.

Our life together has become increasingly complex as he’s blessed us with five boys. Each of them has their own tremendous God-given gifts. They’ve also come with their own challenges that our heavenly Father has allowed to help us and them to grow in love and holiness—which I know well for my own part is a lifelong project.

But as challenging and trying, joyful and blessed as our married life has been since 2001, Cindy and I also know that God has led and cared for us each step of the way, even when it’s been hard for us to know where that next step was.

I share all this only to encourage husbands and wives of all ages and years in marriage to trust in God’s providence more and more. It’s a sure guide both to keep us humble and grateful when times are filled with happy blessing, and to lift us up when our daily crosses weigh heavily upon our shoulders.

The story of each marriage is unique. Yours might be very different from the one that Cindy and I share. But God’s providence is there in each of them to draw all husbands and wives together ever closer to the eternal wedding feast in heaven. †

Local site Links: