June is a month filled with weddings. One of my favorite parts of the ceremony is when the newly married couple walks down the aisle and all their friends and family are hooting and hollering, celebrating their joy. Those first steps are actually just the start of a pretty big job. Husbands and wives are called to be visible signs of Jesus’ love for his Church. The “I do” makes married couples living, breathing advertisements for Christ. If the couple makes God a part of their marriage, they will emerge from all the challenges of life more deeply in love.

Our world does not value or understand marriage very well these days. This makes married couples’ job as visible signs of Jesus’ love even more important. A husband and wife’s faith can help others in their doubt. Their sacrifice is a solution to the selfishness of the world. Their forgiveness can help end strife. Their openness to children witnesses to the value of each human life. Marriage vows are not just meant for the wedding day but for all the days of your life. So I offer you five ways to say “I do” again and again.

1. Actually Say It! – Sometime during the day, hold hands, look into each other’s eyes and say, “I do.”  And yes, you may kiss the bride/husband.

2. Date NightGod is love and is the source of every couple’s love. St. Paul prays, “that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth” of Christ’s love.  (Ephesians 3:18) St. Paul is saying that your love of Jesus and for each other can always be deeper. So don’t stop courting each other. Get a sitter. If your money is tight, put the kids to bed, turn off the television and snuggle. Whether you are one-month into your marriage or a veteran of 60 years, don’t settle for good enough. 

3. Talk it up! – Television commercials are filled with dopey husbands and nagging wives. The negative stereotypes are bad for this incredible sacrament. Spread the good gossip of how wonderful a sacramental marriage is. Make sure the world sees your joy, and don’t be afraid to be a little mushy in front of the kids. 

4. The Perfect Wedding Gift – Recently, before a wedding at which I was about to preside, the grandmother pulled me aside and said, “Don’t say marriage is a 50 percent to 50 percent operation.” I looked her with surprise and she replied, “On the average it’s 50 percent to 50 percent.  But some days you give 30 percent and he gives 70 percent and other days, it’s the other way around. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.” Grandmom is right. That’s why every home should have crucifixes all around the house to remind the family that sacrifice is the secret of true love.  So next time you’re invited to a wedding, don’t send china or a blender, give them a beautiful crucifix. It’s also a great reminder that the best marriages are built on prayer.

5. Be THAT Couple – We have all been with couples that don’t treat each other with respect. It’s no fun. I say be THAT couple where, after you leave, people say, “Why don’t you treat me like that?” The most beautiful sight you should see each day is your spouse’s smile.