We who have grown up with the omnipresent Disney movies all know the story: Guy meets princess, conflict ensues, guy and princess marry, and it’s "happily ever after." But they never seem to show what happens next.
We have been married for six months. And we are learning what happens in the "ever after."
Sometimes we disagree. Sometimes we eat Chinese food while watching Kung Fu Panda 2, laughing and weeping together (it’s a sad movie, okay?). Sometimes we have cute romantic dates. And other evenings there is simply quiet reading.
The one constant of our "ever after," whether we are moody or "lovey-dovey," is our desire to get each other to heaven.
We’re not afraid to pray together and to hold each other accountable. We often make Mass and adoration the first part of "date night."
Our spiritual life is integrated into who we are and what we do, not something compartmentalized "on the side."
Especially when you recognize and know that your faith is the deepest part of you, giving perspective to how you see the entire world, it’s a gift to share that with the person to whom you’ve devoted your life.
We both dated either non-Catholics or lukewarm Catholics before we found each other, and the difference is tangible.
Relationships are much easier and more fulfilling when you are equally yoked spiritually.
Praying together is certainly a learned art, though, and we are still learning.
I (Bobby) was in the seminary for three years. Even though we prayed the Liturgy of the Hours in community, other forms of prayer such as the Rosary, spiritual reading and even informal prayer became very personal and individual. Jackie also had her own spiritual life and routine separate of me for many years. So it’s a challenge to come together at times, especially when we’re not in the mood for prayer or one of us is exhausted from a long workday. But we know that we’re called to foster our prayer life together.
We pray the Rosary on airplanes and have Night Prayer before bed.
We ask for Mary and Joseph’s intercession often, because we certainly need it.
Our goal is to love selflessly, to be a "gift of self" for one another.
We laugh often, being joyful like little kids.
We try not to take life too seriously, knowing that it’s short and our ultimate destination is heaven.
But in those times when we’re frustrated or annoyed with each other, we are tested to really love, to be patient and understanding.
The encyclical of Pope Pius XI on marriage affirmed that "love in the home demands not mutual help, but must go further; it must have as its primary purpose that man and wife help each other day by day in forming and perfecting themselves in the interior life, so that through their partnership in life, they may advance ever more and more in virtue and, above all, that they may grow in true love towards God and their neighbor." A lofty goal indeed!
The wedding day is only the beginning of the adventure.
We have no clue what God has in store for us, but we’re on the journey together. As newlyweds, we are extremely thankful that our faith is the foundation of this journey. We know that while there will be ups and downs, blessings and trials, times of receiving and times of great sacrifice in this life and in marriage, ultimately, we are trying to lead each other to the greatest "happily ever after" of all: heaven.
Bobby and Jackie Angel write from Orange County, California,
where Jackie is a Catholic singer, speaker and worship leader,
and Bobby teaches at an all-boys Catholic high school.