265. Marriage requires preparation, and this calls for growing in self-knowledge, developing the greater virtues, particularly love, patience, openness to dialogue and helping others. It also involves maturing in your own sexuality, so that it can become less and less a means of using others, and increasingly a capacity to entrust yourself fully to another person in an exclusive and generous way.
Each of the described elements here can be expanded upon in the preparation urged here.
Self-knowledge, for example, is not a narcissism, but an awareness of how one interacts in a meaningful way with loved ones.
Among those greater virtues, I recall a young college student who longed for a significant other. But the desire was expressed in terms of “someone to complete me, to make me the best person I can be.” It wasn’t totally inaccurate, but in terms of the marriage commitment it rung as somewhat self-centered. This person will mature, I thought, eventually. What my friend eventually experienced was indeed that maturity for the married beloved. Trusting that another will accept us, and that we can accept growth in the virtues with a partner … this can be difficult.
The Colombian bishops touch on this, I think. We lack perfection, but Christ’s perfection can assist the growth of the seed:
266. As the bishops of Colombia have taught, “Christ knows that spouses are not perfect and that they need to overcome their weakness and lack of constancy so that their love can grow and endure. For this reason, he grants spouses his grace, which is at once light and the strength enabling them to achieve progressively their ideal of married life in accordance with God’s plan”.[Episcopal Conference Of Colombia, Mensaje Cristiano sobre el matrimonio (14 May 1981)]
If you want to refer to the full Apostolic Exhortation check this link at the Vatican site. The text in color is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana