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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Contemporary Difficulties in Marriage

Contemporary Difficulties in Marriage



The marital union in our time exists under unfavorable conditions. Some fifty years ago divorce was a rare occurrence; today divorces are an epidemic. The American Academy of Marriage Lawyers (ABA Journal, February 1, 1988) conducted a survey on the causes of divorce and established that the main ones among them are: 1) lack of communication between spouses, 2) gradual divergence of interests, 3) sexual problems and breach of marital faithfulness, 4) financial difficulties, and 5) lack of mutual understanding.
                These reasons and others, less significant in essence, come down to the fact that a husband and wife lose their spiritual contact over time as each one begins to lock himself into the sphere of his own personal interests. From this, one may deduce that spouses, in order to strengthen their marital union, need to establish and maintain their spiritual contact. Of course, this is more easily achieved when both of them belong to the same faith, but with good will, it is achievable even when they are not.
                The roots of spiritual contact between spouses are formed in the Sacrament of Marriage. It is then that a spiritual candle is lit in their hearts. Husband and wife must carefully guard the grace they have received during the Sacrament. For this purpose it is necessary for them to devote some time for a joint spiritual life:when feasible, to pray together daily  (“A family which prays together, stays together.” — So states a proverb); to regularly go to Church together and participate in the Sacrament of Holy Communion; to read the Holy Bible together; and to discuss spiritual topics. Reading God's Word together will help the spouses resolve, in a Christian spirit, unavoidable problems of life — in a spirit of love, humility, gentleness, forgiveness, leniency, patience and acquiescence.
                Furthermore, to maintain spiritual contact a husband and wife must talk with each other frankly and share their difficulties and desires. They must help one another as much as they can and be concerned about each other. They must respect the opinions, tastes and habits of each other. Joint life always requires concessions and compromises.
                Under no circumstances should there be crudeness, use of force or insults. Often in marital relations the unbridled tongue becomes a great evil when in the heat of anger a man and a woman lash out at one another with all kinds of insults. Scars from these verbal wounds last a long time. An ancient holy book gives the following meaning to the word:“An insult is sharp as a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18 When anger is aroused, it is best to be silent for awhile and calm down (“take and hold a mouthful of water”) and then later, having prayed, to say in a well intentioned tone that which may be helpful. The tirade of accusations and lecturing is best replaced by two mighty words — “Forgive me!” which, by the way, are very difficult to utter. In general, it must be said that the family environment is one in which a person learns virtuous living. This is exactly how a man and woman should view their marriage, as a school for Christian living. This school is not always easy.
                A contemporary book dedicated to marital problems gives the following advice for a happy marriage: 1) Never be angry at the same time; 2) Never yell at each other (unless the house is on fire); 3) If one of you has to win an argument, let it be your mate; 4) If you have to criticize, do it lovingly; 5) Never bring up mistakes of the past; 6) Never go to sleep with an unsettled argument; 7) At least once every day try to say one kind or complimentary thing to your life's partner; 8) When you have done something wrong, be ready to admit it and ask for forgiveness; and 9) It takes two to make a quarrel, and the one in the wrong is the one who does the most talking.
                In essence, these and other similar admonitions rephrase that which our Christian faith teaches. Therefore, if both spouses will try to become better Christians, all disagreements will be dissolved, and mutual understanding and love between husband and wife will grow.

www.ocpak.comPublish By: Fr. Cyril Amerfr.cyril@ocpak.com