Growing in Marriage: What I Learned from the Old Couple at Confession

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Although I had mentioned to my husband wanting to go to Confession the night before, my day had been growing busier. I became distracted with this and that–laundry, paperwork, groceries– and had almost forgotten my intent to go. As the hour drew near, my husband said, “Didn’t you want to go to Confession this afternoon? I’ll go, too, and we can take turns holding Baby Gwen.” “What would I do without him?” I thought to myself. “Forget about confession for one.”

I saw them out of the corner of my eye as I sat in the chapel–an old woman and an old man waiting to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The woman stood up first and walked to the confessional. When she came out, she helped lift her husband to his feet, handed him his cane, and helped to steady him. Then she carefully walked with her arm around him to the door of the confessional so that he wouldn’t fall.

When he was done, his wife stood up and helped him back to a chair. I realized that they had just created a beautiful image of marriage. The woman had literally helped guide her husband closer to God’s grace. Marriage is a path to holiness. A gift God created to lead us closer to him. Living out our vocation daily by growing nearer to God with our spouse may not appear as obvious as how this wife had cared for her husband in the chapel. It can be the ordinary tasks of love, the tiny, daily sacrifices that make up a marriage.  We are called to love our spouse with the love of Christ, to encourage our beloved in holiness, to grow together by God’s grace. What a weighty calling! A calling I find myself falling short of every day.

I looked beside me at my husband, holding our newborn baby girl, and then back at the old couple, helping each other walk from the chapel to their car and thought to myself, “If only we can be that lucky. To grow old together, leading each other to Christ, day after day.” That is my hope and prayer.

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi Haley!
    I loved the image of the older couple you created. So beautiful and will stay with me today as I go about my day! We pray the same prayer here as well, that my husband and I will lead each other closer and closer to Christ, each and every day. :)

  2. Miriam says

    Beautiful image, Haley! This is also what I want for my life. I hope and pray that I will find a man of God, so we can grow together in our faith.

  3. Alli Shoemaker says

    As a 22-year old newly wed of about one month, this gives me something to look forward to! Thank you for sharing. I have been reading your blog for a while now, and I absolutely adore it. As an aspiring writer myself, you’ve provided me with so much inspiration, and it’s nice to see that I wasn’t the only one who got married barely out of college :)

    • Haley says

      Thank you so much for your kind words about Carrots! And congrats on your marriage! You’re not alone. I was only halfway done with college when we got married so we’re even nuttier than you are :) Wouldn’t trade those days for anything.

  4. says

    I completely teared up reading this. It’s so beautiful, thanks for sharing. It reminds me of my grandparents. They’ve been married nearly 64 years. My grandpa is unable to attend Mass, due to his health, but my grandma unfailingly brings him the Eucharist every time she attends.

    Yours and other stories remind me how much I am called to continually bring my husband to Jesus, or like in my grandma’s case, bring Jesus to him.

    Thanks. This made my day.

  5. Sister T says

    What a beautiful post! I have been married 30 years, and could not think of a more beautiful way to describe an ideal marriage! May I use this in pastoral counseling and from the pulpit? Really enjoy your writings.

    • Haley says

      Oh thank you so much! I would be honored if you used it to illustrate marriage in your counseling and preaching.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Growing in Marriage: What I Learned from the Old Couple at Confession: Haley at Carrots for Michaelmas describes in this post one of the most beautiful examples of marital love that I have ever encountered. This post made me want to immediately partake in the Sacraments – especially Confession – with my husband. (aside – I know that Confession is a personal sacrament b/t you & the priest, but read her post & you’ll see what I mean). Haley’s post also made me think of a conversation that I recently had with my brother-in-law in which he referenced a homily at a wedding that he had recently attended. The priest said to the bride, the groom, and the married couples in attendance that, if you aren’t assisting your spouse on the path to holiness, then you clearly aren’t doing your job as a spouse (or something along those lines). My husband and I visit this topic periodically when we discuss prayer and how we’d like to pray together more frequently, but I have a problem with follow-through. Hopefully Haley’s post may assist with the kick in the pants that I need to get more serious about our shared spiritual growth. […]

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