I was reading along in W. Somerset Maugham’s Cakes and Ale, when suddenly there was a description of my very own wife:
“I do not think she had very good features. They certainly had none of the aristocratic distinction of the great ladies whose photographs were at that time sold in all the shops; they were rather blunt. Her short nose was a little thick, her eyes were smallish, her mouth was large; but her eyes had the blue [brown actually] of cornflowers, and they smiled with her lips, very red and sensual, and her smile was the gayest, the most friendly, the sweetest thing I ever saw. She had by nature a heavy, sullen look, but when she smiled this sullenness became on a sudden infinitely atractive.” (p. 177)
As Fr. Girardey wrote (as quoted on the excellent blog Saintly Sages), “one of the principal duties of those who are called to the married state is to choose their partner in life in accordance with the laws of God and His Church and the dictates, not of caprice, fashion or passion, but of sound reason enlightened by faith.”
I don’t know how conscious I was of this duty at the time I proposed to my wife. I was a fairly new “revert” at the time, had not been raised in the faith, and was certainly somewhat under the influence of passion. Yet I could not have made a more perfect choice, which therefore can only be ascribed to God’s merciful beneficence. Isn’t there a saying about God watching over fools and little children?