Pope Francis has described marriage and family life as wrinkled and flawed but beautiful — not despite the wrinkles but because of them. Its beauty comes from forgiving and loving each other even in the midst of arguments.
He said that many people would say, “‘But, Father, a perfect family never fights.’ That’s a lie!” he explained. “It’s advisable that sometimes they argue. And that a plate or two flies. It’s fine. Don’t be afraid of this. My only advice is that you don’t finish the day without making peace. Because if you finish the day at war then you wake up in a cold war, and a cold war is very dangerous in a family, because it goes undermining the relationship from below….”
“Married life has to be renewed each day,” he continued. “I prefer wrinkled families, with wounds, with scars, but that continue going forward because these wounds, these scars, these wrinkles are the fruit of fidelity in a love that was not always easy. Love isn’t easy. It isn’t easy. No. But the most beautiful thing that a man and a woman can give each other is true love, for a lifetime.” (Feb. 15, 2016)
When we assume that arguments are evidence that the marriage is in danger of failing, we are wrong. The danger exists only when we believe the lie that Pope Francis named: the lie that it’s wrong to feel upset with each other. Because, when we believe this lie, we seek solutions that are outside the plans of God. We despair, we hope to escape, we flirt with the idea of getting away and living apart, we become attracted to someone else because he/she seems to like us and hear us better than our spouses do.
When wounds heal, they leave scars. If we interpret these scars as imperfect restorations of the love we once had, we remain in long-term disappointment, and we blame our spouses for it. This is dangerous. The truth about scars is: They are evidence that we have stayed committed to our commitment, we have chosen to love despite imperfections, and we have lived together long enough to prove that love, with Christ’s help, truly is forever.
- What example of fighting and handling disagreements did my parents give me?
- What have I learned from life about loving others even during divisive or hurtful problems?
Strengthen your relationship:
Describe to each other how you feel when an argument has quieted down but remains unresolved. Do you still love each other? Why? Pray for each other, for healing from the wounds that still hurt and for the joy and satisfaction of recognizing the beauty of old scars.
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© 2018 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries