Last weekend my husband and I attended our first Catholic wedding since being married.
After a six-hour drive with a three-month-old that had started at 7 A.M., arriving at the church just minutes before the wedding began, and rushing straight to the restroom to change baby Peter’s diaper before he leaked all over his suit-onesie, our troubles were far from over once we arrived.
During the ceremony, Joshua and I were constantly in and out of the pew, trading off with our son. There was no cry room, so I nursed him in a confessional at the back of the church. Several families had small children, which meant waiting in line for the one available, single-stall restroom to change two more poopy diapers before the wedding had ended. Joshua even had to go back outside to the car for more baby wipes since we had used all the ones in our diaper bag.
We did not get to see the processional with the wedding party, hear the readings, or see the exchange of consent. Our son cried the whole way through the communion line. I did not see the bride and groom’s first kiss. And only THEN did Peter fall asleep!
We had no opportunity to enjoy the actual wedding at all.
But, from the back of the church, we could hear the bride and groom exchange consent with each other. Though we couldn’t hear all their words, we remembered our own. We remembered the promises to share every joy and struggle of our lives together. And we heard the many, many prayers in the Catholic wedding mass that refer to the gift of children, to receiving God’s love through them, to being stewards of life, and to the call of marriage being a call to parenthood.
By caring for our little boy throughout the wedding ceremony, we lived out our consent perfectly. Because the end of the aisle is not all sunshine and rainbows. It’s the better and the worse. The sickness and the health. It’s the good times and the bad; the richer and the poorer. It’s the peaceful mass attendance together as a couple, and the chaotic child-rearing mass in-and-outing!
As we listened to and remembered so many of the beautiful prayers, Joshua and I kept smiling at each other—even while we were taking turns with a fussy baby. I could feel myself falling in love with my husband all over again in that church.
I hope this experience is a reminder: Marriage isn’t easy. Parenting is even harder. But the sacrifices we make daily allow us to re-fall in love every day of our lives.