The Third Person in my Marriage

I had a great childhood, with two loving parents and both grandmothers until I was 22. I was baptised as an Anglican at 3 months. Dad’s mum was what I called religious and went to church every Sunday and mum’s mum was totally the opposite and totally out there, except weirdly enough she insisted that I pray every night before I went to sleep. But I had no idea what I was doing.

I’ve always written songs about life and I wanted to be in a band. One day I was singing while packing shelves at Woolies when a Filipino voice said, “Man, you gotta good voice! We need a singer.” So the band dream became a reality. I was singing and playing my own songs in pubs around Sydney, but soon we were playing at gigs to 6 people on Wednesdays at midnight. I was really discouraged by the experience and when the band broke up I didn’t play or write a song for over two years.

I was dating a girl, who although didn’t seem very religious, took me to the closing of a Church Youth “Antioch” weekend retreat.  There were people standing on chairs and singing songs I’d never heard before. And they had all these actions that went with them. I remember thinking they were all freaks, but in the back of my mind they seemed like happy freaks. To cut a long story short, I eventually broke up with this girl, but she told me to chase my other dream of becoming a school teacher.

So I applied for uni and got in. On the very first day I looked across the room at uni and my eyes locked on this girl.  Her smile filled the whole room with joy and everyone caught it like a disease.  I’d had girlfriends before but when it came to Sarah there was a sense of certainty – like an inner peace. I stopped looking because I knew I’d found the one. We started going out within 3 weeks. But as good and as right as it all felt I was trying to decide whether to get married without God. It was all human decision making – weighing up the positives and negatives. I had been baptised but I wasn’t practising so I didn’t have that Christian element. I never even thought to call on God or pray about stuff.  I just wasn’t made that way.

I decided to marry Sarah and a year later we got engaged and a year after that we got married. We’ve now been married for 15 years.

Sarah was Catholic and had done something called the RCIA program but she never pressured me to do the same. She also sung in church but never pressured me to do the same. Yet there was something about what she was doing that felt right. Soon I started singing in church and then playing bass - I soon realised I was using the musical gifts God had given me to bring joy to others and to glorify God.  It was being with Sarah that had brought me to that point. I’d witnessed something in her that led me closer to God. I ended up joining a ten-piece Catholic rock band soon after and I was the only non-Catholic in it.

I did the RCIA program myself in 2001 and became Catholic at Easter in 2002. In just the 8th time I had Communion I was having it with 500,000 people on an abandoned airstrip in Toronto Canada, at WYD. And, as always, my wife was right beside me.

I know that God chose Sarah and I for each other and we decided right from the beginning – our marriage vows – that we’d honour the vows that said “In sickness and in health, in good times and in bad times.” We’ve enjoyed singing and playing alongside each other doing music for masses, retreats, prayer groups and other events, and it’s great when others can see that happy, positive stuff. But we had to be prepared for the rough times as well.

In 2009 our marriage was put to the test. We couldn’t seem to see eye to eye on anything and we were in real danger of losing what we had together. You see, sometimes the things that initially attract you to someone can be the very things that end up annoying you and eating away at your patience. Vietnam was the start of the healing process for us. We talked at the time about love being a choice, not just a feeling, and that keeping our marriage vows was also a choice. We both decided that we were going to put everything into our marriage to make it work no matter what. I simply never gave up. No matter how much we argued we knew that leaving wasn’t an option because we had made the choice to be together forever when we’d made our vows in 1999. As a result of those choices our marriage is now rock solid – some would say fireproof. Our families and friends and even people that hardly know us comment on how strong we are as a couple. When we can be a witness to others in this way it is proof that the vocation of marriage works; that God can sustain us if we make that choice. It gives hope to others who may be struggling in marriage and provides encouragement to strive for the same. Our love for each other being displayed in this way symbolises God’s love of others through us. But it only works if we make it a priority. I need to be confident in my gut instincts and trust that when they’re from God I will act on them, like I did when I knew Sarah had that something special – that ‘X Factor’.

So, to be able to lead others to God through our vocation, Sarah and I need to pray together and listen to what God is telling us. I know that without that commitment to prayer, we could never have endured the painful yearning to have a child of our own. For some years now we have had many people interceding for us to conceive. Finally, after having our faith well and truly tested, we have witnessed a miracle in our lives and are expecting a baby in June this year. I had to take my eyes off our situation and focus totally on God’s face.

God is the third person in our marriage (but is now the fourth); and together we are all one in mind, body and spirit. You can be so into someone else and be attracted to them because you both think the same and so you are one in mind. But the vocation of marriage goes way beyond this and is unique in that two can become one in flesh and in spirit as well.

We want to show others that, yes, you may have arguments as part of a marriage but with God nothing is impossible. And with God, somewhere just around the corner there is always new life waiting to be experienced.