'I do,' take 2: Couples renew vows at Lititz church service
By P.J. Reilly, Staff Writer email@example.com
When Mike and Mary Schreiner said "I do" 31 years ago, they had no doubt they were committing themselves to each other for as long as they both shall live.
"To me, marriage means a lifelong commitment," Mary said.
With that mindset, the Penn Township couple said they've been able to conquer all.
"Anything that comes up, be prepared to work through it because your commitment should be forever," Mary said. "That means every problem has a solution."
The Schreiners were among about 70 couples who renewed their wedding vows Saturday night during a mass at St. James Catholic Church in Lititz, celebrated in honor of World Marriage Day.
About halfway through the service, couples were asked to stand and repeat after the Rev. James O'Blaney the vows each already had taken anywhere from seven months to 63 years ago.
Those were the shortest and longest marriages represented in the church Saturday night, O'Blaney said.
According to the Worldwide Marriage Encounter's website, World Marriage Day "honors husband and wife as the foundation of the family -- the basic unit of society.
"It salutes the beauty of their faithfulness, sacrifice and joy in daily married life."
The basic ingredient of any marriage, according to O'Blaney, is love.
And love comes from God.
"God created man out of love and also calls him to love," O'Blaney said.
"Anyone who has truly experienced love in their lives realizes what a complex idea it really is."
O'Blaney compared the love shared between a married couple to an orchestra.
There are many, many instruments that all play different parts.
Most times the instruments play in harmony.
Other times, they don't.
"Sometimes, you have a composer where the orchestra has bits of dissonance in it, where the notes, instead of blending harmoniously, the notes seem to crunch each other for a while, and then come into harmony," he said.
Anyone who tries to understand how love functions is doomed to failure.
"A true scientific attempt to examine love always bogs down," he said. "It's as if we looked at a beautiful sunset and just looked at it in terms of the chemical elements."
Tim and Trina Siegrist, of Warwick Township, met in November 1976, when Tim was looking for a date to take to his employer's Christmas party at The Timbers in Mount Gretna.
A coworker -- Trina's brother-in-law -- showed Tim a picture of Trina, and suggested he take her.
"You can guess the rest of the story," Trina joked.
Over the next four years, the two spent a lot of time together riding snowmobiles and motorcycles, going to sprint-car races, camping and enjoying other outdoor activities.
"During all this time, God was preparing us to become soulmates," Trina said.
On June 6, 1981, the couple finally married.
Since then, they've traveled all over North America "to see God's beauty in places like Yellowstone in the winter by snowmobile, Mount Washington by cog railroad, Alaska by land and sea, the Grand Canyon and the Great Smoky Mountains by car and the Skyline Drive by motorcycle," Trina said.
Trina continued, "All those years ago, when we spoke our vows 'for better or for worse, in sickness and in health,' little did we know what lie ahead.
"We cared for each other through difficult times, from a horseback riding accident to breast cancer."
In those difficult times, however, they were not alone.
"God gave us the courage to endure, and to fight the fight," Trina said.
It's good to have a partner for the good and bad times, said Peggy and Pat Malloy, of Lititz, who have been married 37 years.
But for the marriage to work, each person has to be individually strong.
"Don't expect all your happiness to come from your spouse," Peggy said.
"If you're looking for him to satisfy everything -- or her -- you're going in the wrong direction."
And like anything in life, Pat said, "You've got to work at it."n