Francis says love in marriage is like making pasta -- it takes beginning again every day
On Saturday, Pope Francis addressed a Delegation of the Forum of Family Associations, leaving aside his prepared address to speak off-the-cuff about such issues as marital love, abortion, and his document on family life Amoris Laetitia.
One of his points was a bit of practical advice on how to get to a 50th or 60th wedding anniversary.
A key, he said, is patience.
“Another thing in married life that helps greatly is patience: knowing how to wait. Wait. In life, there are situations of crisis—major crises, ugly crises—where perhaps there are even times of infidelity. When the problem can’t be resolved at that moment, we need that patience of love that waits, that waits.”
The Holy Father said that with this patience, many storms can be waited out.
“A lot of patience, of one for the other. If one is nervous and shouts, don’t respond by shouting too… Be quiet, let the storm pass, and then, at the opportune time, talk about it.”
Here’s a full translation of this portion of the pope’s talk:
A man and a woman, husband and wife, look each other in the eye. Let me tell you an anecdote. During my audiences, I like to greet the couples that are celebrating their 50th anniversary, their 25th …; also when they come to Mass at Santa Marta. Once, there was a couple celebrating their 60th anniversary. But they were young, because they got married when they were 18 years old, as was done in those days. (…) I found myself before this couple, and they looked at me…. I said, “Sixty years! But, do you still have the same love?” And they (…) turned to look at each other, then they looked back at me, and I saw that their eyes were wet. And both said to me, “We are in love.” I’ll never forget it. “After 60 years, we are in love.” The warmth of the family, that grows, the love that isn’t the love of a novel. It’s true love. Being in love all your life, with all the many problems there are… But being in love.
Then, another thing I ask spouses who are celebrating their 50th or 60th anniversary: “Which of you has been more patient?” It’s mathematical, the answer is: “Both.” It’s beautiful! This shows a life spent together, one life lived by two people. That patience to put up with each other.
And then, to the young spouses who say to me, “We’ve been married for one month, two months…” the question I ask them is, “Have you had arguments?” They usually say, “Yes.” “Ah, that’s fine, that’s important. But it’s also important not to end the day without making peace.” Please, teach this: it’s normal to argue, because we are free people, and if there is some problem, we need to clear it up. But don’t end the day without making peace. Why? Because the “cold war” the following day is very dangerous.
With these three anecdotes, I want to introduce to you what I would like to say. Family life: it’s a sacrifice, but a beautiful sacrifice. Love is like making pasta: every day. Love in marriage is a challenge, for the man and for the woman. What is the biggest challenge for the man? Making his wife more of a woman. More of a woman. That she grow as a woman. And what is the biggest challenge of the woman? Making her husband more of a man. And that’s how the two move forward. They move forward.
Another thing in married life that helps greatly is patience: knowing how to wait. Wait. In life, there are situations of crisis—major crises, ugly crises—where perhaps there are even times of infidelity. When the problem can’t be resolved at that moment, we need that patience of love that waits, that waits. So many women—because this is more proper to women than to men, although sometimes a man does it too—so many women have waited in silence, looking the other way, waiting for their husband to return to fidelity. And this is holiness. Holiness that forgives all, because it loves. Patience. A lot of patience, of one for the other. If one is nervous and shouts, don’t respond by shouting too… Be quiet, let the storm pass, and then, at the opportune time, talk about it.
There are three words that are magic words, words that are important in marriage. First of all, “May I”: don’t be invasive with the other. “Can I?” That respect of one for the other. Second word: “Sorry.” Asking forgiveness is something that is very important, very important! We all make mistakes in life, all of us. “I’m sorry, I did this…,” “Forgive me, I forgot…” And this helps to move forward. The ability to ask forgiveness helps the family to move on. And it’s true, asking forgiveness always includes a bit of shame, but it’s holy shame! “Forgive me, I forgot…” It’s something that helps so much for moving forward. And the third word: “Thank you.” Having the big-heartedness to always give thanks.