I may sound a bit light-hearted with this, but it’s a serious question. A couple months ago, our priest gave a sermon about the call to vocations and how people really need to listen to the call. Although the focus was mostly on people being called into priesthood, at the end he said he didn’t want to exclude married people and pointed out that it’s also a vocation and one that needs just as much commitment and attention nowadays as others.
I got a lot from the sermon and mentioned it to several others, including my wife, son and parents, and the general reaction was anything from jokes to laughter because, as they put it, marriage isn’t a vocation. They basically said it’s a lack of a vocation and no matter what I said to convince the otherwise, they still felt I was wrong.
I pointed out that Marriage is a sacrament and leading a married life, from my point of view, is just as much a calling from God as becoming a nun, priest or deacon. I told them how, back when I was in 7-8th grade, we had several presentations from our priest talking about vocations. This led me to do quite a bit of praying and soul-searching at the time. I put a lot of serious thought into it (at least as much serious thought as a 12-13 year old can on these subjects) and spent a lot of time considering the priesthood, largely because I was worried that to not do so might somehow be considered a mortal sin. No matter where my thoughts & prayers led me, I always ended back at the same conclusion, which was that God wanted me to be a husband and father some day. From that time on, I always saw myself as getting married early and having a larger-than-normal family (I was one of the first of my friends to get married, and with 4 kids I definitely have more than most of my family & friends, although I’d never complain about several more).
Despite all this, the people with whom I’ve discussed this remain unconvinced. Although I wouldn’t mind being able to convince them otherwise, I’m more concerned with being able to get my kids to have a better understanding of this. I think society does a lot to devalue marriage nowadays, and I’d like to have a bit more ammunition on my side to be able to get them to see not only what a gift marriage is, but that it truly can be God’s calling for them in life.