Letting the love of a marriage spill over 

By Debra Vermeer, 4 May 2022
Image: Unsplash.


When a bride and groom join together in Christian marriage, they’re embarking on more than a pathway to personal happiness. A loving marriage with God at the centre will ‘spill over’ into their family, their friends and their community.  

Looking at it this way, marriage is a way of living out the love God wants for us. Basing our marriage on love for others draws us closer to Him, and by sharing that love, bring others closer as well.  

Many people may not see marriage in terms of being what the Catholic Church calls a ‘vocation’, but long-time marriage educators in the Diocese of Parramatta, Rowena and Angel Penano, say the word hints at what marriage is all about. 

“It’s called a vocation because it is something you do not just for yourself, but for others, out of love,” says Rowena. 

“And that is a mirroring of God’s love for the world. It’s a thing that helps others.”  

Joan and Declan Sally are also pre-marriage educators in the Diocese of Parramatta and say a healthy marriage is always “evolving and growing”. 

“The feedback we get is that people love the pre-marriage course because it’s a chance to talk about things they might not have heard before, like the meaning behind the Church’s vows and the notion of entering into marriage freely and wholly – two single people coming together to form one unity,“ says Joan.  

“We talk about grace and the opportunity to have children and grow your family.” 

When a couple in a marriage see themselves in partnership with God, they can also call on grace when times get tough, say the marriage educators. It’s something Rowena and Angel found out themselves and remind new couples of, for when they experience the inevitable bumpy times in a relationship. 

“Our issue came down to different ideas about finances, which came from different ways of looking at money in our families of origin. In the end, it was grace which helped us through, and to remember that we loved each other. We were able to call on the grace of the sacrament to strengthen us,” says Rowena. 

“We say that grace is one of the ‘superpowers’ of Catholic marriage,” she says. 

The educators say it’s important for couples to discuss difficult topics and to have strategies to deal with and resolve the conflicts that will arise in any marriage. 

“We talk about marriage being a circle of connection,” says Joan. “It’s not only about ourselves, but about God and others. It’s bigger than us.” 

Marriage preparation courses are held face-to-face or online throughout the year. For more information and bookings go to www.parracatholic.org/pmp or call the MET Marriage Team on (02) 8838 3460. 


Keeping the ‘we’ in marriage 

  • Stay connected. Find regular time to connect with each other. It can be as simple as morning and evening hugs or a phone call through the day. 
  • Make regular deposits in your marriage account. If you build up deposits of fondness and admiration, it will provide a buffer in the hard times.  
  • Be gentle with each other. Be aware of the language you use and always try to speak gently and with respect, especially during an argument. 
  • Remember the love that brought you together. Your spouse is your best friend, the person you love. It’s very hard to stay angry when you operate in this mindset. 
  • Be forward-thinking. Try to understand each other and identify the pressures that might arise and positive strategies to respond. 
  • Live your vocation in your Domestic Church. Allow your faith practices to enhance your marriage and support your journey together to eternal life. 

 Debra Vermeer is a freelance writer. 

This article first appeared in Catholic Outlook Magazine 2022 Easter Edition. You can read the magazine here.


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