My husband and I had a traditional Catholic wedding back in 1994. Our wedding day was picturesque; the fall weather in Atlanta was gorgeous, the ceremony was beautiful, and the reception was buzzing with extended family and friends. And yes, the day even included to my husband’s delight (NOT), the “Hokey Pokey.” I married my best friend and soul mate. Life couldn’t be any sweeter than this. We left the next day for a week-long honeymoon in the Virgin Islands, excited to start our new life together as a Mr. and Mrs. Little did we both know that on the very first day of our life together as husband and wife, we would be given a beautiful life lesson on marriage that we would never forget.
On our first day in the Virgin Islands we took a taxi so we could get a good look around the beautiful island. Our driver, whose name I wish I could recall, told us several stories about the local beaches, restaurants, shopping areas, and places to sightsee. He was funny, charming, and we could tell he loved his job. When he found out we were newlyweds, he got a huge grin on his face, and with broken English, proceeded to give us his advice on the key to a happy marriage. We could tell he’s told this story before.
He told us about when he was single, that he loved to go to the store and buy mangoes, his favorite fruit in the whole world. Oh how he loved his mangoes. After a long day at work he couldn’t wait to get home and have his favorite treat. He would eat them slowly, and savor each bite. Then, when he got married, he would go to the store and buy his beloved mangoes, and return home to his wife, who would always want a bite, or two or three. His realized his mangoes weren’t just for him anymore. He knew he had to share his mangoes, so he would buy his favorite treat, and give her half. The next year their first child came along. And of course this first child of theirs loved mangoes too. So he would share his mangoes with his wife, and his first born. There wasn’t much left over for him, but he knew his wife and child loved mangoes, and this made him happy. As the years passed, their second, third, fourth and fifth child came along. Needless to say, he had to share a lot of mangoes. He finished up his story telling us to always remember that to be happily married, you have to sacrifice; you have to share your mangoes.
As simple as this advice sounds, it had a profound effect on my husband and me. Here this elderly taxi driver, with his island accent, gave us a life lesson that has stuck with us for the last 17 years. To this day we make comments to each other about “sharing our mangoes.” His advice made us realize that when you get married, it’s not all about “me” anymore. It’s about sharing, sacrifice, and looking out for the good of another. Married life brings many opportunities to sacrifice and serve. In our 17 years together we’ve been through a lot – job changes, job losses, moves, a breast cancer diagnosis, and all the ups and downs and challenges that come with being married and raising children. In a Christian marriage the word “Joy” sums this up beautifully: “J” for Jesus first, “O” for others, then “Y” for you. Real love is a sacrifice. Real love is serving others. Real love is worth it. Real loves means sharing your mangoes.
I (Liz) have a Facebook page called “Love Being Catholic” that I started as a way to share my love for
the Catholic faith with others. I have always been Catholic, but had a
major reconversion while watching Pope John Paul II funeral in 2005.
Since then I have read hundreds of books, taken many Bible studies, and do my
best to learn and tell others about the Catholic faith. Currently my
Facebook page has a weekly reach of over 8 million friends of fans, and is in
over 25 countries. Basically it comes down to this: I love