|Steve, Cyndi, and Sean Marlow in a memory pillow created at a grief workshop|
Here is Cyndi's advice on cherishing the years that you have together, because they may be cut short far sooner than you imagine.
1. How many years have you been married and how many kids do you have?
Steve and I were married 24 years when he passed, and we have one adopted son.
2. Name 3 things that helped you to stay married that long.
Faithfulness to each other, no matter the storms. No matter the trials. No matter the struggles.
Commitment to family and what it means to be a family.
Pure Taurus stubbornness.
3. What role did faith play in your marriage?
I have only God and our deep sense of commitment to each other, no matter the pain or cost, to credit those 24 years together. For it was not an easy one for us. We were not married in the Catholic Church. Neither of us was Catholic. He was Baptist by up-bringing; I did not have a church affiliation. We somehow managed a Christian wedding. Many years later I would become Catholic on my own.
Grace is the glue that held us together when we did not have the strength to do it ourselves. God had a plan for us. God has a plan for you. Trust that.
4. What advice would you give people who are dating and considering marriage?
Don’t pay attention to what the media or the world tells you about relationships and marriage. It couldn’t be further from what is real and is not the model you want to emulate.
5. What advice would you give newlyweds?
Don’t run away from the bad times. Don’t run away from each other. Say I love you all the time, because you never know when you won’t get the chance to say it again.
6. What advice would you give new parents or couples who are trying to have children?
So I am only going to speak to the couples that are longing for children and experiencing any type of infertility. It is not an experience that every marriage can survive. Dealing with those pains and disappointments will be a challenge. Stay faithful to each other. Stay committed to each other. Together and with your faith to guide you, you can and will get through it all. Infertility is cruel and devouring monster that is eager to destroy if you let it. Don’t let it. Husbands, sometimes she just needs to be held and allowed to cry her eyes out. Wives, do what you need to do to get through each day. If that means staying away from baby showers, and avoiding the baby aisle of the store, then that is what you need to do. Couples, please just don’t suffer this alone. Find others who are or have experienced this pain and find some friendship and comfort there.
I still carry the scar of my infertility. There are times when it hits me that I have never known the joy of carrying a child in my womb and now, due to age and a complete hysterectomy, I never will. There is an ache that permeates from the soul when you long for a child and you cannot have one. I wish that I could tell you that the ache goes away 100% ...but it doesn’t really ever leave. With faith, the pain can and will undergo a metamorphosis to become that blessing of mercy. I promise.
God bless you in your union, now and always.