By Roxane B. Salonen


wedding dress



“By your endurance you will gain your souls.” ~ Luke 21:19


Thirty-one years ago, I slipped into my wedding gown with help from some friends. Spotting a missing button in the back, my pals didn’t want to ruffle me, so they waited until later to mention it.

The missing button seemed to represent places in my husband’s and my relationship needing mending. Only after many trials and decades would I understand that the missing piece begged for a fuller turning to God, not alone, but with my husband, our hands clasped together nightly in prayer.  

Unequally yoked

While researching for the book “What Would Monica Do?”, I learned that St. Monica and her husband, Patricius, had some “missing buttons,” too. He was a cranky pagan, and she was a kind-hearted Christian. Given the one-sidedness of their marriage, Monica’s life story is even more amazing—and her son Augustine’s departure from the Church less surprising. Unfortunately, being unequally yoked handed the couple a ready-made cross that couldn’t be managed without divine help. 

In desperation, Monica turned to prayer for her son’s waywardness and her husband’s rough edges. Finally, after 17 years, Augustine returned to Christianity, becoming one of the Church’s greatest theologians. And Patricius died a Christian whose wife’s heart, through Christ, had softened his own.

Perseverance pays off

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus produces a dire list of possibilities for his disciples’ lives but ends in hope: “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” (Luke 21:19). Monica’s success story also hinged on hope, despite bleak possibilities. 

In some ways, it’s my story, too. After 31 years of marriage—some fairly tumultuous—we’re on even ground now and filled with gratitude. Though the button that completes my wedding gown has yellowed, it holds firm as a testimony of how God’s grace, gained through steadfast prayer, kept our union in place, despite the odds.



Dear Lord, help me to remember that you are the glue that holds together all my relationships, whether with my spouse, relatives, or friends. Help me persevere, as did St. Monica, through any trials and doubts I experience daily in these relationships.


Call to Action

Ponder Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Consider the power of praying with your spouse, a good friend, or a cherished relative. The prayer need not be complicated, but coming together before the Lord daily, or at the end of each day, can do much to repair the loose threads in any relationship.


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