Marriages today are in a war between individualism and togetherness.
Individualism has been the primary, media-promoted lifestyle over the past few decades. This is why many people don’t marry and why many marriages don’t last. However, community spirit is making a comeback (praise God!), because God designed all of us to be community-oriented. We have a built-in pull toward something beyond ourselves, an innate need to feel a sense of belonging. This is why we couple up, seeking that special someone who will satisfy our need to be cherished and to have someone we can cherish.
Individualism causes rifts in relationships, because our culture has not taught us how to make compromises nor how to listen well during disagreements nor how to put aside our own agendas for the sake of others. So, it’s up to us to figure it out. Thankfully, the Church has been offering help with this, and increasingly so. Marriage ministries led by lay couples are one example. If we fail to seek them out and make use of the various marriage-empowering helps that are available, we are failing our sweetheart and our children.
These Reflections for Couples are one example of what’s available. Congratulations for putting your time into them and using the reflection questions to strengthen your relationship! Have you recommended this resource to couples you know?
Pope Francis has touted the importance of taking time for dialogues between spouses. He calls it “the famous and demanding ‘duty to sit down’, which goes so against the current [of] the habits of our frenetic and agitated world [which is] impregnated by individualism”. He describes couple dialogue as a “moment of exchange lived in truth under the gaze of the Lord, which is a precious time of thanksgiving, of forgiveness, of mutual respect and attention to the other” (Sept. 10, 2015).
- How do I feel about taking time with my beloved to learn more about marriage for the sake of our relationship?
- Are we getting enough time? What evidence do I see that indicates we’re not?
Strengthen your relationship:
Share with each other what you value most about spending time in dialogue. What else would you like to do to nurture your relationship? In prayer, ask Jesus to forgive you for individualism that has interfered with your togetherness. Then ask the Holy Spirit to help you discern the right balance between your own needs and the needs of the other.
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© 2018 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries
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