“Love and Life” Retreat Day Six: Marriage is a Journey of Human and Spiritual Growth
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Breaking Open the Theme
“On their wedding day, the couple says a definitive ‘yes’ to their vocation of marriage. Then the real work of marriage begins” (USCCB, Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan, p. 45). Each stage of marriage has its own joys and sorrows, opportunities and challenges. A couple grows in holiness by journeying with Christ through the mystery of His life and that of His Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Glorious Ascension (the Paschal Mystery).
Pope Francis emphasizes in Amoris Laetitia that married love is “a process of constant growth,” such that “a love that fails to grow is at risk” (no. 134). The Paschal Mystery unfolds again and again throughout marriage and invites spouses to continually grow in love. There are Holy Thursdays, times of loving service when couples put their own needs in second place. There are Good Fridays, times of suffering, tragedies, even death. There are Holy Saturdays, times of waiting and uncertainty when all seems dark and the couple wonders what is to come and even if their marriage will survive. Then there are Easter Sundays, when renewed faith or celebrations such as the marriage of a child or the birth of a grandchild bring new hope. Through all of these moments, a couple can grow in love and holiness.
When he returned from his tour in Iraq, the baby was nine months old. He felt like an outsider in his own family. There was no way he could fully explain what his past year had been like, and he had missed so much at home. The baby didn’t know him and certainly didn’t seem to need anyone but Mom. His wife was thrilled that he was home, but she resented that his return had thrown a wrench into her well-established routine. They felt a great distance between them. Memories of the happy days when they were first married helped to give them faith that God meant for them to be together, and they looked with hope to better days ahead. She found support from other military spouses; he found sound advice in his talks with their pastor. Now, their baby is four years old. Their marriage and their family bond are strong. They volunteer as a mentor couple to support other military couples struggling with similar transitions.
To Think About
(Choose one or more of the following questions to reflect on by yourself and/or with your spouse)
- Think of a time from the past when your marriage went through a transition. Describe life before, during and after the transition. What got you through? How was God present to you?
- How has surviving a time of trial, either personally or in your marriage, better equipped you to support others who are suffering or struggling?
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.