We just celebrated St. Valentines Day and as anyone who has been married for a long time knows, love, real love is much more than romance. Still romance is important and must be keep alive and that's why having a day to just be romantic is important. Unfortunately for those whose married love is waning a heart shaped box of chocolates or a dozen roses won't change things much. Married love requires much more. Think of it like one of those little bonsai trees that need lots of trimming, just the right amount of water and sunshine. Without that kind of attention married love can easily begin the slow process of decline and just like the bonsai tree that shows little signs of stress until it is too late, marriages can come apart without the partners realizing it until it is too late.
One of the lessons that was learned from the sinking of the Titanic was that a sense of urgency is often our best defense against serious and sometimes fatal problems. During the sinking of the Titanic the crew made a decision to keep the lights on so as to keep the passengers calm. They realized too late the seriousness of the destruction the iceberg caused the ship and instead of alerting the travelers that they had little time, keeping the lights on lulled them into thinking things weren't that bad. Reacting quickly, taking action and not waiting to see if things are really that bad is a good sound strategy for marriages.
If you do find your marriage in a sinking state, please consider making a Retrouvaille Weekend (www.helpourmarrriage.com). This is not a marriage enrichment experience but a life preserver that spouses can reach for to save their marriage. My experience with couples that have made the weekend is that deep forgiveness and a well-grounded hope for their marriage begin to emerge. As I often say "the problems are emotional and the answers are spiritual". You will find the spiritual solution here.
For those marriages that are not hitting the rocks and those spouses who want to go deeper I highly recommend a Marriage Encounter Weekend. Marriage Encounter is one of the quiet, unsung gifts of the Church. Though it is not specifically religious and is open to all couples, it too will give spouses new spiritual tools to enrich and deepen their marriage.
Here at the Parish we offer a monthly evening for Marriage enrichment called OIKOS. OKIOS comes from the biblical Greek and means household. These evenings are designed to help you build via your marriage a household that is reflective of a holy household. The evenings are simple: Dinner, followed by a reflection on marriage or marriage skills, some Adoration and Prayer time. Childcare is also available for those with young children. Make a commitment to attend for six months and see if it does not enrich your married life.
All of these programs are free of charge and all the couples that make them happen do so because they themselves have been helped and simply want to give back. So don't be like the person who because he feels good refuses to get a check-up and suddenly has full-blown cancer or a heart attack. These are opportunities to fix a broken marriage or to make a good marriage even better.
Marriage is the building block for a healthy family and a strong society. But as important, from the Christian perspective marriage is the primary institution by which divine love is reflected into our world. Authentic married love gives to the world a reminder of God's creative, faithful and forgiving love. And as the song goes, "what the world needs now is love, sweet love". Allow your marriage to be a reminder to the rest of us what real love looks like.
Love, Fr. John B.BACK TO LIST