Monday, March 27, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 239

Old wounds

239.  Understandably, families often experience problems when one of their members is emotionally immature because he or she still bears the scars of earlier experiences.  An unhappy childhood or adolescence can breed personal crises that affect one's marriage.  Were everyone mature and normal, crises wouild be less frequent or less painful.  Yet the fact is that only in their forties do some people achieve a maturity that should have come at the end of adolescence.  Some love with the selfish, capricious and self-centered love of a child: an insatiable love that screams or cries when it fails to get what it wants.  Others love with an adolescent love marked by hostility, bitter criticism and the need to blame others; caught up in their own emotions and fantasies, such persons expect others to fill their emptiness and to satisfy their every desire.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 238

238.  In such situations, some have the maturity needed to reaffirm their choice of the other as their partner on life's journey, despite the limitations of the relationship.  They realistically accept that the other cannot fulfil all their cherished dreams.  Persons like this avoid thinking of themselves as martyrs; they make the most of whatever possibilities family life gives them and they work patiently at strengthening the marriage bond.  They realize, after all, that every crisis can be a new "yes", enabling love to be renewed, deepened and inwardly strengthened.  When crises come, they are unafraid to get to the root of it, to renegotiate basic terms, to achieve a new equilibrium and to move forward together.  With this kind of constant openness they are able to face any number of difficult situations.  In any event, while realizing that reconciliation is a possibility, we also see that "what is urgently needed today is a ministry to care for those whose marital relationship has broken down".256

256 Ibid., 78.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 237

237.  It is becoming more and more common to think that, when one or both partners no longer feel fulfilled, or things have not turned out the way they wanted, sufficient reason exists to end the marriage.  Were this the case, no marriage would last.  At times, all it takes to decide that everything is over in a single instance of dissatisfaction, the absence of the other when he or she was most needed, wounded pride, or a vague fear.  Inevitably, situations will arise involving human weakness and these can prove emotionally overwhelming.  On spouse may not feel fully appreciated, or may be attracted to another person.  Jealousy and tensions may emerge, or new interests that consume the other's time and attention.  Physical changes naturally occur in everyone.  These, and so many other things, rather than threatening love, are so many occasions for reviving and renewing it.


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Friday, March 24, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 236

236.  Then there are those personal crises that affect the life of couples, often involving finances, problems in the workplace, emotional, social and spiritual difficulties.  Unexpected situations present themselves, disrupting family life and requiring a process of forgiveness and reconciliation.  In resolving sincerely to forgive the other, each has to ask quietly and humbly if he or she has not somehow created the conditions that led to the other's mistakes.  Some families break up when spouses engage in mutual recrimination, but "experience shows that with proper assistance and acts of reconciliation, through grace, a great percentage of troubled marriages find a solution in a staisfying manner.  To know how to forgive and to feel forgiven is a basic experience in family life".254  "The arduous art of reconciliation, which requires the support of grace, needs the generous cooperation of relatives and friends, and sometimes even outside help and professional assistance".255

254 Relatio Synodi 2014, 44.
255 Relatio Finalis 2015, 81.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 235

235.  Some crises are typical of almost every marriage.  Newly married couples need to learn how to accept their differences and to disengage from their parents.  The arrival of a child presents new emotional challenges.  Raising small children necessitates a change of lifestyle, while the onset of adolescence causes strain, frustration and even tension between parents.  An "empty nest" obliges a couple to redefine their relationship, while the need to care for aging parents involves making difficult decisions in their regard.  All these are demanding situations that can cause apprehension, feelings of guilt, depression and fatigue, with serious repercussions on a marriage.