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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Celebrating My Catholic Wedding Anniversary...

At the risk of dating myself, one of my all-time favorite songs is titled, "More than yesterday," by a one-hit-wonder band named, Spiral Starecase (yes, they spelled it wrong, I checked).

The lyrics go, "I love you more today than yesterday... but not as much as tomorrow."

I was an impressionable five-years-old when the song was first released in the same year my family arrived in this country from Cuba, in 1969, and heard it countless times on the radio (when owning a transistor radio was a big deal for a five-year-old). Through the years, the song has been performed by other bands and used in soundtracks of TV shows and movies, keeping it somewhat popular, even for younger generations.

I sometimes use the mushy line as a postscript when addressing my wife in writing because, although it can be trivialized, as the words, “I love you,” are trivialized by teenage couples, who don’t understand what love is, it defines, in my mind, what true love should be; growing and ever evolving.

The reason for the sentimentality of this line is that three years ago today, my wife and I tied the knot for a second time (you can say it was a double knot to make sure neither of us could break lose!).

Let me explain, we first got married in a civil ceremony in March 1998 by my wife’s cousin, who is a lawyer and notary public (talk about a binding and everlasting covenant, yikes!).

Unfortunately, a church wedding was not a consideration for us. First, because at the time, I had to check the “D” box under marital status in applications and second, because my wife’s father had passed away in the summer of 1997 and we wanted to keep it simple and low key.

It was a beautiful sunset wedding at the Miami Rowing Club on Biscayne Bay and, aside from the videographer missing my brother’s toast, nothing could have been planned better (which after seeing the edited version of the wedding video, we realized wouldn’t have mattered anyway since we don’t think the videographer recorded any audio throughout the entire reception. The cheesy music over people talking into the camera is a dead giveaway!).

Ten years, a reversion to my faith, an annulment and three kids later, on December 29, 2007, we renewed our wedding vows, and baptized our son, who was 20-weeks-old, during the same event, before God, family and the entire Communion of Saints in the Catholic Church (now, that’s a party!). Our daughters were part of the wedding and we received three Sacraments (Marriage, Baptism and Holy Communion) in the same ceremony.

It is appropriate for us to have waited ten years before getting married in the Church because it probably took almost that long for me to understand what sacramental love meant.

Not long ago, I wrote my wife a letter where I stated that whoever wrote the line in movie, Love Story, that became a cult favorite, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” probably never experienced love or wasn’t part of the human race. It makes a great and memorable movie line but, like The Communist Manifesto, sounds good in theory but doesn’t work in practice.

In my experience, true love means quite the opposite of the movie line. It means having to say you’re sorry over and over again because, as humans, we fail repeatedly. More often than not, those mistakes and failures hurt the people we most love, i.e., our spouse. So, to me, love is swallowing my pride and self-centeredness, and, in all sincerity and humility, asking for forgiveness from those I love (I’ve become a reluctant expert).

Now, sacramental love is that which we renew every time our two bodies become one, as scripture states. Our marriage covenant doesn’t end at the altar; it is renewed and reaffirmed every time we share in total self-giving love as husband and wife.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Ephesians 5:25, which states, “Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the Church and gave himself up for her.” In other words, sacramental self-giving love requires sacrifice. As a husband I have to be willing to give myself up for my wife (as another classic song by Nazareth says, “Love hurts, ooh, ooh, love hurts,” although it shouldn’t have to most of the time).

It’s interesting that St. Paul compares the relationship between husband and wife to the relationship between Christ and the Church because as in marriage, where two bodies become one, Christ becomes one with His Church through the Eucharist; and as marriage require sacrifice by man and wife, Christ sacrifices Himself for His Church (us), whom He loves even unto death.

So, as I reflect on three years of marriage in the Church, I go back to the Spiral Starecase song, which also says, "I thank the Lord for love like ours that grows ever stronger... Every day's a new day, every time I love you."

Happy Anniversary Mrs. Espinosa...

2 comments:

Timothy Putnam said...

Carlos,

What a great post, and what a great picture!

I deal with engaged couples on a regular basis as the Director of Marriage and Family Life for my diocese. Oh that newly engaged couples would have such a strong understanding of the sacrament. Thank you for writing it out here.

I wonder if I might be able to use the photo of your wedding on an article dealing with the sacrament of marriage or on my parish mission website.

Thanks again for your story!

Timothy

Carlos Espinosa said...

Thank you, Timothy for your comments and yes, you can use our photo.
God bless,
Carlos