Today's news reports the separation of a prominent American couple (not the couple in the photo at whose marriage I officiated!), both Catholics, after 25 years of marriage. Their four children range in age from 21 to 14. The couple issued this statement, part of which I emphasise:
'This has been a time of great personal and professional transition for each of us. After a great deal of thought, reflection, discussion, and prayer, we came to this decision together.
'At this time, we are living apart while we work on the future of our relationship. We are continuing to parent our four children together. They are the light and the centre of both of our lives.'
I do not know all that is behind this particular separation and clearly it wasn't done lightly. The couple in question also deserve our prayers. But I truly believe that the last sentence of their statement explains why so many marriages break up. When a couple consider being parents as more important than being spouses they are heading for deep trouble - because they are ignoring what God has called them to: oneness. Their children are the fruit of their spousal relationship of oneness.
In my previous post Columban Lay Missionary Joan Yap (above) introduced herself this way: I am Joan Yap, fifth child of the late Mr Lito Yap and Josefa Blaza Yap. I am one of the fruits of the love of two people who offered most of their life to the Prelature and now the Diocese of Ipil.
Joan is one of nine 'fruits' of that marriage. Parenthood is also a fruit of marriage. In God's plan, being father and mother is a consequence of being husband and wife.