Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Saturday 20 April |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Chiara Bosatta
Aleteia logo
separateurCreated with Sketch.

An ode to the amazing marriages I know (inspired by Valentine’s Day)

silhouette of bird in heart shape on pastel background and Valentine's Day

LittlePerfectStock / Shutterstock

Cecilia Pigg - published on 02/14/23

These stories give us all a dose of hope that true, self-sacrificing love is alive and strong!

I love writing about Valentine’s Day, whether it’s date suggestions or how to navigate the disappointments of the holiday based on my own expectations about February 14.

While I was brainstorming what else I had to say about the day, it came to me that I’ve witnessed some pretty powerful relationships and testimonies to true love in my own life. My friends and family have marriages that have weathered huge storms and come out stronger.

Here are a few of those stories to give us all a dose of hope that true, self-sacrificing love is alive and strong. (Some names have been changed for privacy.) 

In good times and bad

Is it possible to battle addiction as a couple and come out more united, more healed, and stronger than you ever thought you could be? Yes.

Emily and Ben worked patiently and steadily over several years to be addiction-free. Each experienced a gradual conversion of heart at different times, so there was a lot of waiting and wondering what would happen. 

What if your spouse has a huge mental breakdown right after you get married? Kaylah and Joe had to work through some huge life changes and overwhelming stress that hit out of nowhere as a newly married couple. It would have been easy to give up—this wasn’t what either was expecting from the relationship. But instead, they worked through it by alternately hanging on for dear life and then slowly doing the work that needed to be done to adjust and grow together.  

In both of these situations, and many similar but smaller scale situations, at least one spouse has thought “Who is this stranger that I’ve married?! I didn’t sign up for this!’ I know I’ve experienced those thoughts over much smaller disagreements and less grave circumstances. The temptation to think “because this isn’t going well now, it will never go well” is strong. 

In sickness and in health

What happens when your spouse’s health starts to deteriorate suddenly and unexpectedly?

I’ve known couples who are young who’ve come up against huge medical question marks—but they haven’t let devastating news about fertility or undiagnosable conditions stop their marriage.

For example, Allie’s health is rapidly deteriorating with no answers in sight as to what is going on. Her husband married her knowing her condition might never change or improve. The way he takes care of her is beautiful to watch. 

At the other end of the age spectrum, my grandma was diagnosed with ALS in her 60s, and over the next few years stopped being able to speak or use her hands. Seeing my grandpa lovingly take care of her didn’t seem that crazy at the time. It is only in looking back at how hard it is to love a healthy person who can “pull their own weight” that I realize the sacrifice involved in loving someone who needs a lot of help to get through the day.  

To love and cherish

It is inspiring to see the longevity of different people’s marriages. But, there’s a difference between a couple who is barely staying married, and a couple who is truly thriving.

I know a handful of couples who are great friends and a joy to be around. Their magnetism and obvious teamwork draws people in. Jerome and Elaine have prioritized hospitality in their marriage, and they are generous hosts who work to connect people.

Eliot and Trish are so at ease and in tune with each other that it is calming and lifegiving to just be in their presence.

With both of these couples, each one seems to work to the other’s strengths. 

I’m hoping at some point in my own marriage that we get to a similar place. But for now, I am grateful to have so many married couples to look to this Valentine’s Day and every day for inspiration. 

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.