FR CARLOS LUIS SAC
The escalating divorce rates in Goa are worrying, especially since they have surpassed the average yearly divorce rate of the previous three years in the past six months.
Researchers have shown that a number of causes such as poor communication, changing lifestyles and family conflicts are the reasons for this trend.
God created marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman for the rest of their lives.
Pope Francis says, “Christ ‘dwells’ in your marriage and he is always waiting for you to open your hearts to him, so that he can sustain you, by the power of his love. Our human love is weak; it needs the strength of Jesus' faithful love.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church No 1660 states that the Creator established and endowed the marital bond with its own unique laws, which allows a man and a woman to build an intimate communion of life and love with one another.
It is arranged for the couple's benefit as well as for the birth and upbringing of children by its very nature. Christ the Lord elevated inter-baptised marriage to the status of a sacrament.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE INDISSOLUBILITY OF MARRIAGE
Therefore, the Catholic Church recognises the indissolubility of marriage, which means that a legitimate sacramental marriage cannot be dissolved by any human authority or action.
Civil divorce does not, from the perspective of the Church, sever the sacramental connection between spouses.
The Church demands that Catholics who want to remarry following a civil divorce seek an annulment. An annulment is a statement made by a Church tribunal that a valid sacramental marriage did not exist because of a hindrance or flaw present at the time of the wedding.
If the annulment is approved, the person is allowed to wed in the Catholic Church, according to Church rites.
AFTER A FAILED MARRIAGE
It's crucial to understand that, although maintaining its theological position on divorce, the Catholic Church places a strong emphasis on showing compassion and support for people who have gone through the grief of a failed marriage.
The Church urges people who have experienced divorce and remarriage without an annulment to stay active in their religious community and to look for assistance and counsel from the clergy.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR MARRIAGE WORK: OPEN COMMUNICATION
It takes effort, dedication and efficient communication from both spouses to make a marriage work. The cornerstone of a happy marriage is honest and open communication.
It is important that both partners are at ease discussing their ideas, emotions and worries. Avoid interrupting or disregarding each other's feelings, instead, listen intently and empathically to one another. Be respectful and considerate to one’s partner.
Even if you disagree, attempt to empathise with their circumstances and comprehend their viewpoint.
Try to keep a supportive and friendly atmosphere and refrain from using unpleasant remarks.
QUALITY TIME AND EXPRESSIONS OF THANKFULNESS
Even with busy schedules, routinely spend quality time together. Take part in joint hobbies and make an attempt to develop fresh experiences that you can share.
Respect one another's efforts, no matter how insignificant they may seem.
Frequently express your thankfulness to one another, and compliment one another on accomplishments.
The goals and aspirations of each person should be supported and encouraged. Cheer each other on and acknowledge one other's accomplishments.
Relationships by their very nature will experience conflicts. Learn how to resolve conflicts amicably. Instead of going after each other personally, concentrate on the current problem. To convey your feelings without blaming your partner, use "I" statements.
Get better at forgiving one another for transgressions and prior disputes. Practice letting go and moving on since holding onto grudges can cause walls to form between partners.
A marriage needs to have both emotional and physical intimacy. Conjugal love may foster emotional connection and keep the romance alive.
SHARING DUTIES AND MAINTAINING INDIVIDUALITY
Consider each other's preferences and strengths while allocating household jobs and obligations. This encourages collaboration and prevents animosity.
It's important to retain your identity even when marriage requires you to work as a team.
Outside of your partnership, pursue your personal interests and hobbies to advance your development.
SEEK HELP WHEN NEEDED
Don't be afraid to get treatment from a counsellor or therapist if your marriage is experiencing ongoing difficulties or problems. An impartial viewpoint might occasionally offer insightful advice.
NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT MARRIAGE
Unfortunately, we are living in a time when we are looking for everything that is perfect. Although we need to strive for perfection, it is important to accept imperfections too.
Pope Francis says, “The perfect family doesn't exist, nor is there a perfect husband or a perfect wife, and let's not talk about the perfect mother-in-law! It's just us sinners. If we learn to say we're sorry and ask for forgiveness, the marriage will last.”
A successful marriage is an ongoing process that calls for commitment and the readiness to change and advance as a partnership. Be kind to one another and treasure the journey you are taking together as life partners.
(Carlos Luis is a priest belonging to the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottine) and is currently studying for a licentiate degree in Moral Theology. He comments on social and moral issues.)