MURRAY – There is a saying that there is no age for love, but getting married at a young age is a different thing.
A marriage is different from a boy-girlfriend relationship; it is a big commitment that requires hard thought.
That was the case for Francisco and Monica Fernandez, who recently celebrated the Sacrament of Marriage.
Both are 27 years old but they have been committed to each other since they were 18; they had a civil wedding in 2007.
"We thought about getting married in the Church, but we were not prepared," said Monica about their early years.
Then, about two years ago the couple started attending the couples’ retreats that the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City offers at least once a year. That changed them forever.
As Saint Joseph the Worker parishioners, they also joined the parish’s groups.
"In those retreats I’ve learned that I was making a commitment to God, too, and I had to honor and respect my now wife [Monica]," said Francisco.
The couple has two children.
"My little ones were also very important for the decision of getting married in the church," said Monica, who thinks that with her example her kids will grow up with a more solid sense of Catholicism.
"I agree," said Francisco, adding that, for him, getting married in the church was very important but he never imagined how important it would become as the years with Monica started passing by.
"I knew something was missing," he said. "I mean, I love her with all my heart, and she is the mother of my kids, but presenting ourselves to God and having his blessing was a key element that we were lacking."
The couple celebrated the Sacrament of Marriage in 2011. Since then they feel more united and in love than ever.
"It’s like God is holding our hands together," said Monica.
She firmly believes that this great love has taught them that love goes beyond justice and competing, that love helps them achieve, teaches them, forgives them, helps them to be generous, to give and to offer with joy.
"God has taught us that giving is very important," said Francisco. "The more you give to your wife and children the more they will feel that sense of belonging."
According to the couple, God has also taught them that his love was not committed just one time many years ago, He is committed all the time and He is always there for them.
"And not just that, He is always open to forgive us and to give us the needed help so we don’t fall," said Monica.
"God is the source of our love. We have the enormous joy of knowing that He loves us. He accepts us in all senses," said Francisco.
Now the couple is starting to plan the baptism of their two children.
"We have become an instrument of God’s will so we can feel that both of us and our children have a little taste of his eternal, merciful, deep love for us," said Monica.