“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous; it is not inflated; it is not rude; it does not seek its own interests; it is not quick tempered; it does not brood over injury; it goes not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ).
Marriage is a vocation – a life-long commitment that two people take to love, and to grow in love with each other. But, as most married couples know, marriage takes effort from each spouse. Married couples may go through great difficulties in their marriages, some of which can seem almost impossible to overcome.
Like all vocations, those called to marriage can benefit from ongoing support to deepen and strengthen their marital bonds. Our secular society misguides us into thinking that our marriage is a failure if we fall "out of love" with our spouse or if the romance wanes. But, as Pope Francis said during an address in Poland in 2016, “a strong marriage requires three key ingredients: permission, thanks and forgiveness.”
Asking “permission” simply means including your spouse in decision making and valuing his or her opinion. Just asking “would you like to do…?” allows agreement and courtesy in the marriage. Courtesy, according to Pope Francis is the “sister of charity, which extinguishes hate and protects love.” Second, always being thankful for even the littlest thing a spouse does will affect how satisfied we feel about the relationship. Finally, it is normal that quarrels occur between husband and wife, but Pope Francis advises to never finish the day without making peace. Learning to put away your pride and say “sorry" while also being able to accept your spouse’s apology without holding a grudge is key.
The Family Life Office offers opportunities for both engaged couples and married couples to grow in virtue and receive the guidance they need to stay happily married. Opportunities include parish-based marriage enrichment gatherings, relationship skills courses, and weekend getaways designed to strengthen marriages and even help couples who are experiencing serious difficulties.
Often, couples encounter difficulty parenting and planning the size of their families responsibly. If you are a couple who would like to naturally space your children or who are experiencing infertility, Natural Family Planning (NFP) can help. For couples with parenting challenges, the Office offers Love and Logic Parenting.
Information on marriage preparation is available on our Marriage Preparation page. For information on opportunities to enrich your marriage, visit our Marriage Support page.
To become a Marriage Preparation mentor couple or certified FOCCUS facilitator, visit our Ministry Trainings page.