“Pushing the cart together from the same side,” “respecting each other,” and “keeping God inside the house,” was some of the advice that longtime married couples offered Feb.10, World Marriage Day.A total of 33 couples from parishes in the archdiocese renewed their vows during the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels’ mid-morning English Mass and the noon Spanish Mass, Archbishop José Gomez presiding at each. When the archbishop asked by the end of the Spanish Mass which was the couple with the longest time together from among a group of elderly couples sitting in the front pews, Rogelio and Esther Cadena stood out. The couple married in Mexico 73 years ago on March 28, when both were 14 years old. They later had 12 children, 34 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.So how have the longtime St. Anne’s (Santa Monica) parishioners managed to stay together for seven decades? “Doing what he says,” said Esther, a stay-at-home mother. “Doing what she says,” smiled Rogelio, who retired many years ago from working in the construction industry and still does minor handiwork at the parish.Then they both added, “Always staying true to God and to our Catholic faith.”All the children, including grandchildren and great grandchildren, attended Catholic schools, and they proudly said that except for one who is single, all their children are married.“And we have never seen them argue,” said daughter Teresa Cadena. “They always went into their bedroom for any major thing they needed to discuss.”A vocation“Marriage is a vocation,” Archbishop Gomez told the large assembly during the homily. “It is a calling from God, who calls us the same way he called the prophet Isaiah and St. Peter.”After citing the readings to exemplify how God calls people “in the midst of their daily affairs,” he then suggested two steps that need to be taken in marriage, as in any other vocation.“First, we have to listen,” he said. “And once we listen we have to say yes such as Isaiah did. We need to say, ‘Here I am! Send me!’“Marriage vocation is a divine adventure,” he told the assembly, “and as the scene narrated in the Scriptures, at the moment you said yes you both went off-shore; so your lives are full of spiritual and human fruits of happiness.”He also mentioned forgiveness as “maybe the most important virtue in the marriage life” and in any other type of relationship.On their way to celebrate their 50th anniversary (March 16 is their anniversary) with their four children and nine grandchildren at a local restaurant, Jose de Jesus and Elena Lopez, parishioners of St. Joseph Church in La Puente, said knowing how to forgive and to love each other has been the glue that has kept them together.“A man’s responsibility in the marriage is to respect his wife and learn to forgive her because we all make mistakes,” said Jose, a retired construction worker. “And both need to push the cart from the same side, not one from one side and the other one from the other side. Walking side by side is the best way to do it. Navigating the boat of life together; educating the children together.”“A woman needs to understand her husband and also forgive him,” added Elena, a retired seamstress.“Blessed be God that everything is fine in our lives,” said Jose. “And He keeps feeding us with His teachings.”{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0215/marriage/{/gallery}