“A good marriage is a lot of work. But God is always there to help us,” the Nativity Parish, Fair Haven, parishioners say. Courtesy photo
“A good marriage is a lot of work. But God is always there to help us,” the Nativity Parish, Fair Haven, parishioners say. Courtesy photo
After 48 years of marriage, Fred and Terry Horney admit they still hold hands – a lot.

“A good marriage is a lot of work. But God is always there to help us,” the Nativity Parish, Fair Haven, parishioners say. “We’re never afraid to ask for forgiveness or to say we are sorry. We say ‘I love you’ to each other every day, and mean it!”

In recognition of World Marriage Day Feb. 9 and National Marriage Week, which runs Feb. 7-14, The Monitor Magazine spoke with the Horneys, who together, do their best to keep Christ at the center of their marriage.

A Christ-Centric Marriage:

“This is important because we know that we are both totally committed to our marriage. It isn’t a feeling, a social custom or a legal contract: It is a Sacrament. … Our love is a gift we don’t take for granted. We thank God for it every day, and try to show our Christianity by sharing Christ’s love through our marriage. This commitment means that no matter what happens, the other person will still be there working just as hard to get through it.

Faith in Adversity:

“As we began to see [our marriage] as a blessing and gift from God … our commitment grew. With every obstacle, we were shown how God was blessing us. It didn’t keep bad things from happening, or remove the pain, but it let us know that he was with us and that he would use whichever one of us was stronger to help the weaker.

We had two stillborn children, and I was devastated. Fred’s faith in a loving God, and his reminding me that God loved us … helped me through a very dark time.

Christ as Your Guide:

“Being in a Christ-centric marriage doesn’t magically teach you how to live a Christ-like life. You have to work that out for yourself. You have to think about what you ‘think you should do’ … and ask, ‘Is it showing love, or are you doing it for a pat on the back?’ Part of this … is to sit quietly and listen (pray) … and God will let you know if you are right.

To have God at the center of your marriage, prayer will have to be a part of it. It also means volunteering in church [and] outside service, and teaching your children that service is a blessing we give to others. [Our sons] seem to have learned [that service is important], and have even shown us by example. Our younger son got us involved in a medical mission to Ecuador to help people in need of medical care.”

World Marriage Day (Feb. 9), an initiative of the Worldwide Marriage Encounter organization and endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is a day to set aside to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage. National Marriage Week (Feb.7-14) is an ecumenical movement also supported by the USCCB that aims to strengthen marriages.