By Julie Bostick | Executive Director, Office of Laity and Family Life
My husband, Ralph, and I recently traveled to Chicago to visit our son, Shawn, his wife and new baby. While there, we went bowling with some of Shawn’s friends and had a great time. As we left the bowling alley and walked to our car in the parking lot, I reached out and took Ralph’s hand. We hold hands quite often, so it was almost a reflexive action for my hand to reach out for his as we walked. I didn’t give it another thought until our drive back to St. Louis.
Ralph was driving and we were listening to a book on CD when I received a text from Shawn. He had taken a picture of me and Ralph from behind as we were walking and holding hands. His text simply said “You and Dad got 50 likes : – ).”* I have to be honest and say that my first reaction to the picture was the almost instantaneous thought: “I can’t believe he posted a picture of my rear end on Facebook! What was he thinking?!!!!”
Then I checked out the post on Facebook to see that he had written: “33 years of marriage, and still holding hands when they walk to the car.” Although I didn’t reach out for Ralph’s hand because I wanted anyone to notice, our son did notice and it impacted him enough that he wanted to share it on Facebook.
Riding home with Ralph, I reflected on the blessing of our spousal relationship and how we can allow the Holy Spirit to use us and our marriage to be a reflection of Christ’s love to our children and to our corner of the world. Each day I wake up with an opportunity to share the best of me with everyone I meet, especially my spouse. But sometimes after a stressful day at work, I don’t always share the best part of myself with Ralph. Through no fault of his own, he gets the left over “baggage” of a difficult day.
I need to remember that with every word, every touch, and every action, I have the ability to reflect Christ’s love for Ralph. Sometimes that is easier than others but the choice is always mine to make. Shawn’s Facebook post was a reminder to me that this reflection of Christ’s love doesn’t just affect Ralph, but our children, grandchildren, and others around us as well. We are often bombarded with negative examples of marriage so when we see a positive image of marriage many people stop and take notice. Through the grace of the Holy Spirit, we as married couples have the ability to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ. Sometimes our example requires self-sacrifice but other times it includes just a simple loving gesture like holding hands.
*Editor’s note: The picture now has more than 100 likes
For more information about what marriage is, visit archstl.org/marriage