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15410737033_9ea927b2e5_z (1)When I was preparing to get married and planning our wedding, I will always remember what my mom told me time and time again: “This isn’t about you.”

Don’t get me wrong — this was not a harsh criticism, but the truth.

Our wedding was not about me, and the reception wasn’t either. Even our marriage is not about me!

Father Jason Kuritz echoes the same message.

He writes, “Today is not your day.  Today you come to stop thinking about yourselves and to start thinking of others! 

“Marriage like Holy Orders is one of the sacraments of service.  The Catechism tells us that these sacraments are not for ourselves, but “are directed towards the salvation of others…They confer a special mission in the Church… What is the mission of marriage?  The Church has always spoke of marriage as having two purposes – the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children… The sacrament (of Matrimony) exists for the salvation of others and the first person you need to save is the one beside you (and then your children).”

The day that you say, “I do,” it is not about what you promise to get as much as it is about what you promise to give. We can only love when we give.

And when we marry, we promise to give our lives and our love to our husbands and to our children — in service to and for them. And when we can, we also promise to serve the other family members closest to us — our parents, our siblings, our in-laws. It is an honor to love the ones closest to us.

The love that we share and give away to our husbands and our children is something that can be multiplied and shared even beyond our own family units — and they should. We should strive to pour out so much of our love onto our immediate family that it flows from them to others.

This will be our own Gospel; our marriage, our family, our love — multiplied and given away time and time again. 

We will find fulfillment and happiness if we focus less on ourselves and more on others, and if we give away all that we can.

If you didn’t realize this before you were married, you might quickly realize it afterwards. And here’s something I’ve found helpful: Look back at your wedding photos. Not just the ones with the two of you — but look at the ones with your family and friends in the background. Look at the ones with your bridesmaids and groomsmen standing besides you, praying for you. Look at those faces of people who love you, and remember to love them. Look at the faces of those people who traveled to support you, and support them. Look at the faces of the people who have been there for you on your worst of days, and remember to do the same for them.

You start by doing all of these things for your husband and children, and you can “finish” (well, let’s be honest, you never really finish!) by doing all of these things for your family and friends.

Photo credit: John Hope Photography