September 24, 2021

Faith and Family / Sean Gallagher

God’s grace empowers marriages to persevere through life’s storms

Sean GallagherMarriages that endure through decades are a gift from God to give us encouragement to persevere in our own lives of faith.

The longer a marriage lasts, the more powerful a living sign it becomes of the faithful love of Christ for his bride, the Church.

That is because marriages, while a sacrament of this ideal relationship of Christ and the Church, live and endure in this broken world in which we all live.

Husbands and wives who persevere in the sacrament of marriage with the help of God’s grace, bear the storms and stress of life through many decades. They give all of us hope that we, too, can endure in the vocation to which God has called us.

I’ve been blessed to witness such fidelity in marriage in my own parents, who marked their 50th anniversary less than a year before my mother passed away in 2015.

Tomorrow, I’ll be blessed again to celebrate such a milestone in married fidelity when my in-laws, Steve and Edie Lecher, celebrate the 50th anniversary of the day on which they exchanged their vows of marriage.

That took place on Sept. 25, 1971, at the former St. Ann Church in Hamburg in southeastern Indiana.

After their wedding, they lived just a few miles southwest of the church. On April 3, 1974, Edie was at home with her two children at the time—Cindy (later my wife) and Michelle—when she saw a tornado moving toward Hamburg. It was concerning because her parents and many of her siblings lived near the town.

Thankfully, none of them were injured by the tornado, which, with other twisters that day across the Midwest, took the lives of many people. St. Ann Church, however, was destroyed by the massive storm.

The house of God in which their marriage began could not withstand the winds that blew that day. But the grace of God that flowed into Steve and Edie’s relationship as husband and wife when they exchanged their vows gave them the strength to endure through many storms of life that have come their way in the 50 years since.

Such storms are to be expected when raising a family that grew to be blessed with 11 children. But they are inevitable in any marriage given that we all live in a world marked by the ongoing sad effects of original sin. Such storms swirl in the trials of family relationships, in health challenges, in economic difficulties and in so many other things.

Fidelity in marriage has been difficult in all times and places in our world. The increasing trends toward individualism and secularism in our society have only intensified the storms faced by spouses.

Nonetheless, when a marriage remains deeply rooted in God’s grace and grows over time to be like a strong and tall oak, it can have the flexibility to bend with the winds that life’s storms throw at it.

That is what I have been blessed to witness in the marriage of Steve and Edie, whom I first met in 1991 and have been privileged to be a son-in-law of since 2001. Their living example of fidelity in marriage has been a channel of grace to help Cindy and me and so many others among their children and beyond strive to be similar witnesses in a world in sore need of them.

So, please join me in giving thanks to God for the blessing of faithful marriages like Steve and Edie’s. Their positive effect on our broken world cannot be underestimated. †

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