By Robin Gomes
“Love in Marriage” is the title of chapter 4 of “Amoris Laetitia”, the Latin for the “Joy of Love", the post-synodal exhortation of Pope Francis on the pastoral care fo the family. The Holy Father often refers to this chapter when speaking to families, including at the World Meeting of Families (WMOF)
In this chapter, the Holy Father takes the cue from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, providing some psychological insights into the emotional world of spouses and families, showing how love helps in overcoming the faults and weaknesses of the other. He also explores the positive and negative aspects of love, including the erotic dimensions love.
He says that love which coexists with imperfection helps bear all things and can hold its peace before the limitations of the loved one. The Pope reminds us that in order to discover the joy of love we should try to see each person as an unfinished product needing to grow – a work in progress – especially in marriage.
It is a collection of brief passages carefully and tenderly describing human love in absolutely concrete terms, following the pattern of St. Paul, such as, love is patient, serves others, hopes all things, and love is not jealous, boastful and rude. The Pope resorts to his rich experience as pastor to provide concrete suggestions on how to perfect love and grow in it.
Here are some samples from Chapter 4, “Love in Marriage”:
“Love is patient” first refers to the habit of responding with restraint and mercy to the faults of others. Patience does not mean being a doormat, but it does require that we accept the other person as part of this world.
The words “please”, “thank you”, and “sorry” are essential for healthy family life.
“Love is not rude” means being respectful in your treatment of others. Love seeks to build relationships and to encourage others.
Love rejoices in the success of others, not in their failures. Joy in the success of others is a fruit of love.
Love in marriage requires dialogue, which requires us to recognize that we all communicate in different ways. Learn to be an effective listener. Recognize the importance of the person with whom you are dialoguing… Learn to be an effective listener. Try to understand the other’s point of view before responding, be aware of the emotions that are being evoked within you, and respond carefully. Love the person with whom you are disagreeing.
It is important for Christians to show their love by the way they treat family members who are less knowledgeable about the faith, weak or less sure in their convictions. At times the opposite occurs: the supposedly mature believers within the family become unbearably arrogant.
Sexual passion is from God, but like the other passions it must be rightly ordered…. Human sexuality is a language that must recognize the dignity of the other person in order to be life giving and a true expression of love… Sex, rightly ordered, enriches married love… Seeking fulfillment through dominating the other’s body dehumanizes both persons.
Watch WMOF animations
As part of the preparations for the World Meeting of Families 2018 a series of interesting animations in simple language had been created by the organizers to help understand the message of “Amoris Laetitia”. Watch particularly “Love and Imperfection” and “Love and Mercy”.