If a stranger were to ask you, “What kind of marriage do you have?” would the question catch you off guard? How would you respond on such short notice? Would it sound like any of the following?
· “We are doing great because everything is 50/50”
· “We’re living the dream. I make all the decisions and plans and my wife likes it that way”
· “I think we have a good marriage because we have a shared vision and we check in with each other to make sure we remain on the same page”
St. John Chrysostom suggests that we say to our wives,” I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us…. I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you”
Engage the large group in a discussion to explore different types of marriage styles. The intention is not to judge one better than the other but rather gain insight into why certain styles work for varying couples. Keeping in mind that God’s call for our marriages is to move toward agape love.
· Top down
o You or your wife commands the ship and the other may just be living in the others reality
§ Is this healthy and sustainable?
§ What makes it work?
§ Have you or she checked in with each other to see if you are happy living in this style?
· The “Equal” marriage
o Tasks and effort are divided equally and scores are kept
§ Divide and conquer
§ Is this a business arrangement?
§ What happens when perception of who is carrying the load is other than 50/50?
o Living day to day
§ Just keeping it together
§ Lack of intention in the relationship
§ Is the marriage at risk?
· Side by Side
o Shared vision and shared goals
§ Intentional about how you both want the relationship to grow
§ Mutual respect
o St. John Chrysostom’s quote
§ I live for you and you live for me
o Definition of Catholic marriage
§ My role is to get my wife into heaven and her role is to get me into heaven
· Are you and your wife intentional about this?
1. Ephesians 5:31
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
1. Paragraph 2364
The married couple forms “the intimate partnership of life and love established by the Creator and governed by his laws; it is rooted in the conjugal covenant, that is, in their irrevocable personal consent.” Both give themselves definitively and totally to one another. They are no longer two; from now on they form one flesh. The covenant they freely contracted imposes on the spouses the obligation to preserve it as unique and indissoluble.
Small Group Questions
1. Has your marriage morphed in or out of any of the types discussed this morning?
2. Have you had the guts to check in with your wife lately to ask her what she likes about your marriage and what she doesn’t?
3. If your marriage is in trouble are you willing to seek counseling?
4. What role does God play in your marriage?
1. Catechism of the Catholic Church
1. Give thought to and report back as to what your marriage looks like
2. Discuss with your wife her vision for the marriage