When We read that Pope Francis said ” the Great Majority of Sacramental Marriages Null” We almost fell backward to the floor. Working in family counseling, when we interview marriages in crisis, and evaluate how and why they got married, we discovered that many times they took the sacrament as a simple blessing, more as a social custom than a supernatural reality.
That is why many times the Sacramental Grace does not act! It’s simply because it does not exist! Given the huge number of marriages in crisis, we would have to ask ourselves if they are really married “as God Makes”. Many times, the response to crises is there, in the lack of full understanding of the effects of the sacrament on spouses and children.
Another widespread problem that leads to marital crisis is the lack of awareness among spouses. They know each other, they fall in love, and they get married because they’re in love. And when you miss the infatuation, you want to “rest”! You don’t understand, the butterflies in the stomach were brutally digested by routine and now they don’t know what to do with that relationship that doesn’t work in any way.
Therefore, in addition to strengthening pre-and post-marriage catechesis, The spouses should have a dialogue between themselves that in some way prevents and minimizes the risk of these crises. And what questions should the future spouses ask for this dialogue to bear fruit? What subjects should they talk about?
1.Do we really understand the gift and mystery that the sacrament of Matrimony means?
Marriage is a sacrament and the sacraments are sensible and effective signs of Grace. And what is the Grace properly to the sacrament? Perfecting Your Marriage! That does not mean that your job is to perfect your spouse, but that We have the help of grace to perfect myself in relation to our spouse. Everyone wants to marry the lord or the perfect lady, but very few are willing to become the lord or the perfect lady for the benefit of their spouse. And that is precisely what Grace helps us with!
2.Are we really committed?
Courtship is the privileged time of preparation close to marriage. And we have to prepare ourselves to be faithful, love and respect in health and illness; in prosperity and in adversity, that is, always! (or at least until death separates us). This will of commitment, this “forever” we have to propose as a topic of conversation as soon as we make the decision to get married. Then, when the difficulties come, (which will come) we will affirm ourselves in this first decision: “We have to solve it because we decided to marry forever”.
3.How is our friendship?
It can seem incredible, but very few people see their future husband or wife as “their best friend”. Hence, many believe that nefarious phrase “from love to hate there is only one step”. It should not be like that. Conjugal friendship is based on a previous friendship, and this friendship has to be enriched every day, cultivated through dialogue, attention, kindness. And once married, that culture of conjugal friendship has to be more intense, especially men tend to feel that “it is already”, that “we already met”. We disguised ourselves as penguins, we made a fool of ourselves in front of family and friends and with that, we showed our wife that we love her . You have to conquer your wife again every day of your life!
4.How many children would you like to have?
A key topic of conversation before getting into the biggest adventure of our life! How many children would you like to have? How will we educate them? How will we guide them to holiness? And what happens if we can not have them? Do we adopt? How many? Each of these issues is key, and it also leads us to the next question, because, as everyone knows, to make children you have to “do something” beforehand.
5.Do we understand what sexuality implies within marriage?
This is a subject that can be difficult before marriage, but you have to talk about it! In the first place, we will have to study, understand and know how to explain the teachings of the Church regarding the transmission of life. If we could get into the study of the catechesis on the sexuality of John Paul II (Called “Theology of the Body”) Fantastic! But if we can not, at least read what the Catechism of the Church says about it. The gift of chastity is not a prohibition of sexuality, but a way of orienting and directing it to help in the sanctification of the spouses. Not only is it important to wait for marriage, but how and for what!
6.How will we protect our marriage from infidelity, pornography, etc.?
We have to discover and cultivate conjugal chastity before marriage. And talking about these issues will help us prevent and even “shield” our future marriage from these true modern curses, so frequent. We have to know that we live in a hypersexualized age that banalizes marriage and attacks it with a cataract of pornography that is practically impossible to avoid.
7.What to do with the political family?
The phrase that is repeated in the Bible at least three times, (in Genesis, then says Christ and repeated by Paul in Ephesians): “That is why a man leaves his father and mother.” The proper distance, with the due respect of the political family, is what will help to cement the conjugal peace. It also does not mean abandoning parents. But before getting married, we have to be clear that the political family ends up tending to be more political than family, and if they get into the intimacy of the couple, it’s a disaster!
8.And, the issue of finance?
This topic is also important to talk about before. The funds “mine” or “yours” are gone. Now there are only “ours”. You have to reach an agreement before the conflicts are generated! If we are about to face a common project and instead of saving to buy a house, or to rent even if it is for a room I spend the money in and going out with my friends, it is more likely that after being married that behavior will continue. The funds of the family are from the family, not from each of the spouses. Especially in the case that it is only one of the spouses who works.
9.How will it be when we argue?
It is important to discuss before we get married! I’m not saying that you have to “look for a fight” to see how the other reacts. But it is important to have had at least one “good fight” before getting married. If we get married without having discussed, at least once, we will not know if the other person is spiteful, if he knows how to forgive or he is violent, etc. It is important to know that in marriage disagreements will almost inevitably arise and that in order to reach an agreement we will have to know how to give in to our positions and fundamentally listen and understand our circumstance.
10.And our prayer life?
Last, but most importantly: “Family that prays together stays together”. The dialogue we establish with God must be central to our courtship. And we have to get used to doing it together early. All the strength of our union will come from shared daily prayer! The closer we are to God, the closer we will be to each other.