164. In the course of every marriage physical appearances change, but this hardly means that love and attraction need fade. We love the other person for who they are, not simply for their body. Although the body ages, it still expresses that personal identity that first won our heart. Even if others can no longer see the beauty of that identity, a spouse continues to see it with the eyes of love and so his or her affection does not diminish. He or she reaffirms the decision to belong to the other and expresses that choice in faithful and loving closeness. The nobility of this decision, by its intensity and depth, gives rise to a new kind of emotion as they fulfil their marital mission. For "emotion, caused by another human being as a person...does not per se tend toward the conjugal act".174 It finds other sensible expressions. Indeed, love "is a single reality, but with different dimensions; at different times, one or another dimension may emerge more clearly".175 The marriage bond finds new forms of expression and constantly seeks new ways to grow in strength. These both preserve and strengthen the bond. They call for daily effort. None of this, however, is possible without praying to the Holy Spirit for an outpouring of his grace, his supernatural strength and his spiritual fire, to confirm direct and transform our love in every new situation.
174 John Paul II, Catechesis (31 October 1984), 6: Insegnamenti VII/2 (1984), 1072.
175 Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est (25 December 2005), 8: AAS 98 (2006), 224.
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