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For Your Marriage

“Love and Life” Retreat Day Seven: Marriage is a School of Love and Gratitude

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Breaking Open the Theme
As Adam recognized Eve as God’s gift to him, likewise spouses should recognize each other as God’s gift in their lives. Marriage is “a school for nurturing gratitude for the gifts of God and for openness to the gifts of God that are proper to marriage,” such as sexual intimacy and children (USCCB, Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan, p. 50). Through life’s journey, sometime a husband or wife may need to reflect on the gift of the other, especially when misunderstandings or difficulties arise. To remember how this person came to offer love so unexpectedly or how one recognized the other as “made for you” is to be humbled by the divine gift you have received.

In those moments of remembering, thankfulness should fill one’s heart. Spousal gratitude is linked to conjugal charity. It will help husband and wife to persevere in fidelity, kindness, communication, and mutual assistance. “In the joys of their love and family life, he [Jesus] gives them [spouses] here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb,” (Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia, no. 73).

Watching her husband reading to their young children one evening, her heart swelled in gratitude for the tender and loving man that God had made for her. Catching her look of love, he paused and looked deeply into her eyes, returning her smile. He savored the moment of peace and the warmth of his family surrounding him, thinking that he certainly had so much to be grateful for. Later, after the children were tucked in bed, she embraced him and told him how grateful she was to have him. He wondered aloud, “God has given us so much, I’ve been feeling lately like we certainly have a lot to offer another child…”

To Think About
(Choose one or more of the following questions to reflect on by yourself and/or with your spouse)

  1. List five ways that you show gratitude toward your spouse. Which two ways does he/she like best? Resolve to do those two more often.
  2. What good thing did your spouse do recently that you could have thanked him or her for, but didn’t? Make a note to remember next time.

Prayer of Married Couples
Almighty and eternal God,
You blessed the union of husband and wife
So that we might reflect the union of Christ with his Church:
look with kindness on us.
Renew our marriage covenant.
Increase your love in us,
and strengthen our bond of peace
so that, [with our children],
we may always rejoice in the gift of your blessing.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

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