Couple nurtures marriage as if tending a garden - Catholic Courier
(Photo courtesy of Ed and Leonor Rivera) (Photo courtesy of Ed and Leonor Rivera)

Couple nurtures marriage as if tending a garden

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since September 2018, Leonor “Leo” and Ed Rivera, members of the local Worldwide Marriage Encounter community, have written the Catholic Courier’s “To Have and To Hold” marriage blog. On Aug. 1, 2020, Ed unexpectedly passed away at the age of 59. This is the last blog he wrote with Leonor.

Leonor: When we got back from our honeymoon, we started our married life in our new home. Living in the suburbs was a dream come true. I grew up in New York City. My front garden was concrete. Now I had green grass, trees, bushes and flowers.

Ed: My family had worked hard to make the outside of our house look beautiful for our wedding reception. We enjoyed it until I noticed it was time to do yard work. I asked Leonor to get ready to help me.

Leonor: I wasn’t really sure what Ed meant by yard work. I changed into a designer sweatshirt, grey denim mini skirt and leather ballerina flats. Since I didn’t want to touch any dirt with my bare hands, I put on gloves.

Ed: When Leonor came out to help me, I took one look at her and said, “What are you wearing? You can’t do yard work in that!” I gave her an old sweatshirt, cargo pants, work boots and gloves. I asked her to weed the beds. When I came to check on her she had pulled out the flowers and left the dandelions. I yelled, “Oh no! You pulled out the flowers?” She started to cry.

Leonor: I had never pulled weeds before, so I kept the yellow flowers that Ed called weeds. I was confused. I thought that if we just left everything alone nature would take care of itself and it would stay the same.

Ed: It took a while, but we both came to understand that things that are worth having require work to keep them beautiful. Not only our yard, but our marriage. Early in our marriage, we made the decision to regularly attend marriage enrichments to keep pulling the weeds that inevitably keep popping up.

To learn more about Worldwide Marriage Encounter, visit The next Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend is Nov. 20-22 at Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua. Or try the new virtual multiweek experience starting Aug 31. To read more of Leo and Ed’s blogs, visit

Tags: Catholic Marriage
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