Catholic Speaker Discusses Marriage
Smith, Amy, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Amy Smith Daily Herald Correspondent
Achieving a happy marriage and family may seem daunting in today's world with the high rate of divorce.
But there's hope, according to well-known Catholic author and speaker Jeff Cavins. Cavins spoke about marriage and family issues at St. Peter Catholic Church in Geneva this month.
"When you mention that you've been married for 29 years, people look at you and ask 'How'd you do it?' like it's a miracle," Cavins told the audience of approximately 100. "I have a happy marriage and a beautiful family, but it doesn't come without work."
Cavins served as a Protestant minister for 12 years before returning to the Catholic Church. His autobiography, "My Life on the Rock," discusses his return to the Catholic denomination. Cavins is the founding host of the "Life on the Rock" television program on the Eternal Word Television Network and is the creator of the Bible study program "The Great Adventure." He and his wife, Emily, and three daughters live in Minnesota.
The key to a happy marriage? According to Cavins, "It's paying attention to the details of life and making a commitment to love."
"Marriage is not our idea," Cavins said. "It is God's idea. In Genesis, God created Adam and Eve. He created them husband and wife. God is the author of marriage."
He continued, "Christian marriage communicates to the world Christ's love. We are living witnesses. Our goal is to make our spouse a saint."
He emphasized the need to leave one's past life behind to create a new life together, the importance of cleaving by actively pursuing one another, and becoming one through sharing everything, from goals to finances. "Dying to self is key and so is living for the other person and bringing joy to the other person," he said. "Individualism is the death of the covenant."
Cavins encouraged couples to embrace forgiveness. "One of the greatest enemies of marriage is unforgiveness," he shared. "When we're hurt, that can fester. But we must learn to forgive. Forgiveness isn't a feeling. It's a decision of the will. The ability to forgive once you've been offended is a gift from God to maintain harmony in your home."
And look to Jesus for guidance, he said. "The bottom line is you have to ask yourself 'What Would Jesus Do?' We often hurt the ones we love the most, and that's crazy! We must forget self and love our spouse with all our heart."
Points on parenting
In his introduction of Cavins, St. Peter pastor the Msgr. Joseph F. Jarmoluk quoted the late Pope John Paul II: "The future of humanity passes by way of the family. …