232. The life of every family is marked by all kinds of crises, yet these are also part of its dramatic beauty. Couples should be helped to realize that surmounting a crisis need not weaken their relationship; instead, it can improve, settle and mature the wine of their union. Life together should not diminish but increase their contentment; every new step along the way can help couples find new ways to happiness. Each crisis becomes an apprenticeship in growing closer together or learning a little more about what it means to be married. There is no need for couples to resign themselves to an inevitable downward spiral or a tolerable mediocrity. On the contrary, when marriage is seen as a challenge that involves overcoming obstacles, each crisis becomes an opportunity to let the wine of their relationship age and improve.
So much for the old adage to “offer it up.”
Life offers enough opportunities to lose things of importance: health, youth, employment, friends and loved ones, houses, wealth, status, privileges, etc.. Spouses suffer in isolation far too often. This is a great sadness: losing one’s closest ally in the mortal life. We’ve heard this advice before, to get counsel from people of experience:
Couples will gain from receiving help in facing crises, meeting challenges and acknowledging them as part of family life. Experienced and trained couples should be open to offering guidance, so the couples will not be unnerved by these crises or tempted to hasty decisions. Each crisis has a lesson to teach us; we need to learn how to listen for it with the ear of the heart.
I like the reference to “apprenticeship” given above. I like “lesson” somewhat less–but that’s just me. I treat the obstacles of marriage as opportunities. They provide opportunities to go deeper, to encounter more intimately and more fully.
For your reference Amoris Laetitia is online here.