Husband & Wife Articles


 

Contigo’ Couples

A popular song can be the ballad of married life

By Mary Rose Somarriba

Enrique Iglesias’ hit song “Bailando” featuring Sean Paul, Descemer Bueno and Gente De Zona has been climbing the charts these days. Spanish for dancing, “Bailando” features a catchy Latin beat, Spanglish lyrics and a romantic mood. For me, it also carries a message for married couples: contigo, Spanish for with you. It is the most repeated lyric of the refrain — in both English and Spanish versions. “I want to be contigo, want to live contigo, want to dance contigo,” Iglesias belts out in the English version, matched by “estar contigo, vivir contigo, bailar contigo” in the Spanish.

In a way, contigo captures the unspoken addendum to everything that comes after a couple says, “I do.”

Once married, I start and end every day with you, my spouse. I eat dinner every night with you. If I get a job offer, I consider it with you. And if we’re able, we plan a couple days of vacation every year to spend with no one else—only with you—all to remind ourselves of what we’re renewing at each wedding anniversary. Ultimately, as a married couple, we’re also on a journey toward heaven together. We’re all going to die someday, and while in some sense we can only truly control the state of our individual soul, when we stand before God we’ll also be judged on how much we helped our spouse get there. We’re each other’s helpmate.

Did you help your spouse’s spiritual growth or hinder it? Since your life’s walk is something you do with your spouse, and since heaven is the preferred destination, you should try to get one another there as well.

Dancing is not a bad analogy for married life. Whether or not one likes to get on the dance floor, married couples can draw some helpful pointers from the qualities required of good dancing.

First, good dancing requires letting one’s guard down. One of the first hurdles to dancing is letting go of worrying about how good of a dancer you are. Sure, it can be unsettling putting yourself out there. But marriage is about loving the full person, imperfect as we are. The first step is to let down our guard and embrace each other.

Second, good dancing requires a mastery of basic steps. Ideally one learns the basics of a healthy marriage by seeing it in one’s home growing up; but where this example falls short, the Church is there to guide us. A good place to start is Pope Pius XI’s encyclical on Christian marriage, Casti Cannubii. There’s also St. John Paul II’s rich lectures we’ve come to know as Theology of the Body. Try reading and pondering these together as a couple.

Third, good dancing requires flexibility and improvisation. It can feel nice to have everything choreographed beforehand, but life doesn’t always work that way. Being a prayerful couple requires being in sync with where God is leading.

Whether a couple’s particular situation best resembles the music of a high-intensity tango, a cheerful cha-cha or a peaceful waltz, good dancing requires harmony. Sure, we’ll step on each other’s toes here and there, but it’s all about the quick save. Don’t get bent out of shape. Turn setbacks into opportunities to hone communication skills, and keep on dancing. Every day, as mindful couples, we’re called to renew the vow—to look at our spouse and affirm, “I am living this day contigo.”

Mary Rose Somarriba is executive editor and culture editor of Verily Magazine. She and her husband Gabriel live in Northern Texas with their two children.