'Doing Our Own Thing' Wasn't the Way
By Judy Sieren
My husband, Gary, and I have a strong devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. Even though we've had our ups and downs, our 43 years of a happy marriage is due to her intercession. Shortly after we were married in 1965, a woman told me about the events in Fatima. We were both interested in the messages, but I didn't start applying them to my life until difficulties arose in our marriage around 1969-70.
The 1960s were the beginning of the "me society" when everyone became focused on self-gratification. Gary and I adopted the attitude that we could be married and still do our own thing. It was destroying our marriage. We grew distant and I resented him "doing his own thing." Though I prayed daily, I never asked God to handle the situation. I just did what I wanted.
As I learned more about Our Lady's messages at Fatima, my prayer revealed that I needed to change. God laid on my heart that I needed to be obedient to my husband. I understood that the husband and wife are equal, but the wife should be submissive enough for him to be the leader.
I had to let go of wanting to be first. My hardness of heart prevented me from seeing my own sins. I rationalized that if everyone else is "doing it," then how can it be wrong? I needed to take responsibility for my sins and actions. Only through God's grace was I changed.
I was like a sponge reading all I could on what the Church offered especially about Divine Mercy and Fatima. Our Lady kept responding with many graces. Over time, I discovered I was no longer centered on worldly things or my own desires. Mary taught me to lead a more prayerful life, to turn to God for everything. This new disposition led me to find joy in everything. I became peaceful and happy.
However, it took about five to six years for the graces to touch Gary's heart. I noticed Gary changing after we enthroned the Sacred Heart of Jesus in our home. Eventually, we went to a Marriage Encounter group where Gary and I learned to listen to each other. Through Our Lady's intercession, we learned to do everything out of love for each other and for Jesus. Mary taught us humility. Now we try to give ourselves for the salvation of each other's soul.
I only share this story in the hope that it will help someone else in their marriage. Our Lady's graces are there for the asking. I think of the Miraculous Medal, where Mary told St. Catherine Laboure about the rings on her fingers. The brilliant ones represented graces available for those who ask. The dark ones represented graces that were wasted, because no one asked for them. Mary and her Son want us to ask. So I encourage others to ask too.
Judy Sieren lives in Washington, Iowa.
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