Finding the Sacred in the Details of Marriage

two hearts
A year after I graduated from college, I was vacationing on Cape Cod with some girlfriends. One evening, I drove over to the next town to visit our friend Dave, who was staying in a rental cottage with his parents. I had heard lots of stories about Mr. and Mrs. F., but I had never met them. When I got up to the cottage, Mrs. F. flung open the front door and wrapped me in a huge hug. Pulling me into the living room, where her husband was sitting in an easy chair reading the paper, she said, “You must be Sheri. I’m Judy.” Then she pointed to her husband, “and this… is my beloved.” Mr. F. gave her an affectionate smile and got up to shake my hand.

It was over 20 years ago, but I have never forgotten this encounter. Somehow, at that young age, I knew I was witnessing an important truth about marriage. Just like so many of us, Mr. and Mrs. F. had a pretty ordinary life. She was a mother and homemaker. He was a professor at a nearby law school. They raised one son, took care of their house and garden, and every once and a while, rented a house on Cape Cod for a week in the summer. Yet that moment of a wife looking at her husband and calling him “Beloved” was anything but ordinary.

St. Francis de Sales talked about looking for God in the everyday circumstances of ordinary life. In other words… finding God in the details. That’s the perfect way to describe the encounter I witnessed in Cape Cod all those years ago. This simple, intimate exchange between a husband and wife was a moment filled with grace. To me, “finding God in the details” is a perfect way to describe marriage and to start seeing married life as a true sacrament. Looking through all the mundane, ordinary tasks of married life and seeing “the Beloved” is the truest sense of experiencing the sacred. Continue reading