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Words at the Wedding

ISBN13: 9780809144037

ISBN10: 0809144034


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  • This book offers a series of concise, thought-provoking chapters primarily written as helpful reflections for engaged couples preparing for Christian marriage and married couples, but suitable as well for clergy seeking ideas for wedding homilies or in marriage preparation programs.

  • Byron

    William J Connolly

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    'Mutual self-sacrifice ... is what makes a marriage work.' Without sacrifice, 'the happiness each partner seeks will always remain out of sight,' Jesuit Father William J. Byron writes in 'Words at the Wedding.' He says: 'Sacrifice is usually difficult and irksome. Only love can make it easy.'

    Father Byron is a former president of the Jesuit-run University of Scranton and of The Catholic University of America. He is an economist and a syndicated columnist for Catholic News Service. As a priest he has witnessed many weddings and helped prepare many couples for marriage.

    This books 29 brief chapters bear one-word titles such as 'Commitment,' 'Forgiveness,' 'Laughter,' 'Love,' 'Money' and 'Trust.' These are words that couples might 'ponder before and after the wedding.' Father Byron describes the chapters as 'a series of reflections capable of prompting personal prayer or shared communication between engaged or married' couples.

    I think his chapter titled 'Argument' is a gem. 'Feelings in marriage should not remain unexpressed,' he advises, but says it can be a challenge 'to surface the feelings gracefully in a context of civility.' One way to keep 'the potential for blowups to a minimum is to convince your partner that a really supportive spouse is one who has no immediate plans for your improvement,' he believes. He writes, 'In an argument, remember that it will go a whole lot better if each of the participants agrees to hear the end of each others sentences.'

    This book shares many additional gems of advice and insight. 'You simply cannot afford to be an ingrate, a person who never says thanks, if you want a happy marriage,' says the author. And, he suggests, 'if commitment is the cement of the marriage bond , conversation is the reinforcing rod.' Having something to talk about 'is all the more important in our day of mute, at-home televiewing,' Father Byron believes.

    Father Byron encourages couples to consider how their marriage 'might become unbalanced through unfairness, unkindness, rudeness, selfishness, resentment, infidelity, unforgiveness, a refusal to trust, to hope, to endure whatever comes.'

    He insists at the same time that in 'a marriage of two ordinary persons' it is possible to discover 'extraordinary reflections of divine generosity, creativity, patience, trust, persistence, understanding; it is possible to see in a solid marriage reflections of divine forgiveness. It is possible to see there the face of God , not directly, of course, but radiantly in the lives of two generously committed persons.'

    Reviewed by David Gibson, former editor , now retired , of Origins, CNS Documentary Service


Words at the Wedding