Commitment, communication and couple prayer will help build a healthy and intimate married relationship, encourages Father Peter de Sousa in his book, “For Better, For Worse”. How are you doing in these areas? Just remember, nothing happens unless you make it happen.
A MARRIAGE IS a relationship between a man-person and a woman-person. Each one grows and evolves as a person through an ongoing relationship. The conjugal relationship of newly-weds has to grow in depth and strength through the years and this requires an effort from each one to give 100 percent of himself or herself to the other, everyday for a lifetime.
Commitment means effort, perseverance and courage. God has called the two to be help-mates and companions. His grace is sufficient for you and He will provide you with what you need to be a good spouse everyday. Maybe you need to make your relationship a priority, one day at a time.
Have you made a firm commitment to give your spouse the first place in your life after God? Will you continue to honour that commitment even when you do not feel loving towards your spouse? God’s plan for you as a couple is to make love a daily decision. Decide to love each other and allow yourself to be loved by each other. God is love. You are merely channels of that love to each other. Allow God’s plan to be realised in your marriage. Perhaps you would prefer God to use a holy priest or a trusted friend to sanctify you. But God chooses your spouse.
Husband and wife need to communicate daily on three human, conjugal levels: They need to (a) share their ideas and listen to each other’s ideas on various topics; (b) share their feelings in these areas; (c) communicate non-verbally. Touch, tone of voice, expression in one’s eyes, posture and body language are all important. God wants you to touch, to kiss and to embrace each other in love. Sex is a form of communication between husband and wife. He has not called you to a celibate love but to a conjugal love. His plan for your holiness and salvation is tied up in your living a conjugal spirituality.
You communicate your delight in each other, your need for each other and your forgiveness to each other. Communicate your affirmation, your appreciation and trust in each other.
When a couple prays together, each one sees how precious the other is, through the loving and compassionate eyes of Abba Father. Often times we experience failure, difficulty, disappointment and disillusionment in our lives. God gives you a flesh and blood companion in whose embrace you can come to life again.
Together adore, praise and thank Him for your vocation and this beautiful call to be one so that you may mirror His love to others as a couple. Ask Him for the graces you need in your sacrament, to die to your pride, self-righteousness, superiority, coldness, indifference, impatience and lack of love that prevent you from witnessing as a couple. Ask and give forgiveness to each other and remove the blocks of pride. Be aware of God’s presence and love for you in your home. Thank Him for your children and your home. Thank Him for the food you eat and all the blessings He gives you. Thank Him for the crosses through which He prunes you to bear more fruit. Ask the Holy Spirit to accompany you this day as husband or wife, father or mother, parent or child.
Reflect together on God’s Word spoken to you as a couple this day and share with each other what you hear God saying to you in your marriage. Listen to what the other tells you God is saying to him or to her. Do not preach to the other, but accept the other unconditionally and lovingly, as God’s precious gift to you this day.
Extracts of “For Better, For Worse” are brought to you by Worldwide Marriage Encounter Singapore which runs a marriage enrichment programme.
Visit marriage-encounter-sg.org to find out more.