While the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage is not surprising, it does reveal how far our society has gone and how much work needs to be done. It shows that our society does not know the purpose of marriage and confuses it with companionship and pleasure instead of a love that reflects the mystery of God.

Then again, it shouldn’t be surprising with the rise of divorce over the past 50 years. The institution of marriage has been crumbling before our eyes for decades and so this decision by the U.S. Supreme Court only confirms this truth. 

So what can we do? How can we turn the tide and bring marriage up from the ashes?

It is very simple: we need more married saints!

If our children do not grow up in an environment where they see a shining example of marital love, they will buy into the lies of the world. Marriage is the bedrock of the family and if husband and wife do not lead lives of holiness, love and respect, the entire family will collapse.

We need to dig deep and heal the wounds that are in our marriages before we can heal the wounds in society.

Enter: (Saints) Louis and Zélie Martin

It is no coincidence that Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin will be the first married couple to be canonized in October, overlapping with the Synod on the Family. Louis and Zélie Martin were the parents of nine children, five of whom were called to the religious life, including the beloved Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and four were called home to God in their first years of life. Their example of holiness was so strong that it is very likely many of their children will be raised to the altars for public veneration (for example, Léonie’s cause for canonization is in its initial stages).

Their example of sanctity could not have come at a better time.

The best part of their example of marital love is that it they were human like us and had many struggles to endure to become saints. It was not easy for them.

Not only did they have to witness child after child die in their arms, Zélie in particular experienced much stress in trying to raise Leonie, the “problem child.” The situation proved to be such a great cross that Zélie would write, “Well, I have no longer any hope of changing her nature save by a miracle.” The fact that Leonie’s cause for canonization has begun shows that even amidst the trials of disciplining an obstinate child, Louis and Zélie succeeded in training a household of saints.

As a result, Louis and Zélie Martin are great intercessors and examples for all families. We need them in our fallen world to be beacons of light, showing us what true marriage is all about. We need their example to give us hope that we can save marriage from the ash heap and teach our children, however obstinate they may be, the truth about marriage.

We need married saints. That is the most effective way to preserve the sanctity of marriage when society falls apart.