“Love and Life” Retreat Day Two: Marriage is the Unique Union of a Man and a Woman
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Breaking Open the Theme
In the beginning, God created man and woman in his image, “male and female He created them” (Gn 1:27). God planned that man and woman would be made “for each other”: “they are equal as persons…and complementary as masculine and feminine” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 372), “uniquely suited to be partners or helpmates for each other” (USCCB, Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan, p. 10). In a particular way, when a man and woman marry, they beautifully and uniquely complement each other. “The family is entrusted to a man, a woman and their children, so that they may become a communion of persons in the image of the union of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia, no. 29).
Although each individual person is irreducibly unique and fundamentally equal in dignity, obvious differences exist between men and women, and these differences are blessed by God. These differences can be seen not only in biological terms, but also in how we think, express ourselves, and even pray. A most obvious difference can be seen in the distinct gifts a man and a woman bring to sexual intercourse. Together, they jointly hold the potential to unite in the most profound way and to bring new life into the world. The “one flesh” union of husband and wife in marriage shows that their differences are a foundation for a beautiful unity.
She proudly thinks of herself as a multi-tasker, able to juggle many things at once. Her husband might counter that he likes to concentrate on one thing at a time, focusing his attention on the task at hand. She may need to share her worries; he may be surprised to find that she isn’t expecting him to fix them. He discovers that she needs to talk and relax into feeling romantic; she wishes he figured that out sooner. The beauty of marriage is that spouses have a lifetime to understand and appreciate their differences. Vive la difference!
To Think About
(Choose one or more of the following questions to reflect on by yourself and/or with your spouse)
- Name one or two ways your spouse approaches problems that differ from the way you like to do things.
- As a man or a woman, what unique qualities do you bring to relationships, at work and in your family?
- How does being a man (or a woman) impact how you approach your relationship with God?
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.