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“Blessed are the lovers”: Beatitudes for married couples

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The Sermon on the Mount by Fra Angelico

Manuel Cohen / Aurimages

Tom Hoopes - published on 09/12/22

Applying the Sermon on the Mount to your marriage will give you great (hard!) insights.

My wife and I read Father Jacques Philippe’s book about the Beatitudes together on a retreat we took to celebrate our 30th anniversary and found that the lessons are extremely relevant to married life. So I imagined what the Beatitudes of married life would look like.

Blessed are couples who live simply, for their hearts will find true treasure.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,” is the original beatitude from Matthew Chapter 5, and the spirit of poverty turns out to be a great way to live married life — while consumerism seems to wreck everything. Aleteia has featured some great advice about simplifying including these great six rules, these benefits of “moderate minimalism,” and this young mom who decluttered without regret.

“Blessed are they who mourn,” is the original beatitude. Many of us have discovered that suffering together teaches us to love. This is the law of the cross that is built into the very foundations of the earth, because Jesus is the crucified one and “through him all things were made.”

As Pope Benedict said, “There is no true love without suffering, there is no gift of life without pain.”

Blessed are those who let insults roll off of them.

“Blessed are the meek,” says the original. The more we take offense at our spouse, the more we prickle at small irritations, the further apart we will be. The more we allow our spouse to be flawed and human, the closer we will become. 

Pope Francis’s favorite film, La Strada, is about a spousal relationship where a woman’s meekness saves a man.

Blessed are those who call out sin; this is the only way to progress.

The Beatitude “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness” for spouses has to mean that a spouse should not simply take it if the other is doing real harm, to spouse or child — or self. Sin is sin and encouraging it is not a virtue. 

In the end, the power of the movie La Strada is that the woman will not tolerate her husband’s greatest sin, and it is this alone that causes her to be meek no longer. 

Blessed are those who are able to forgive, because they, too, will (eventually) be forgiven.

“Blessed are the merciful” will mean for spouses almost exactly what it means for everyone else, but spouses will have to forgive deeper hurts, and forgive them more often. In the unforgettable words of Father Hughes Sundeme at my daughter’s wedding, “When you hear people celebrating 30, 40, 50 years of togetherness, they are celebrating forgiveness.”

Blessed are those who keep a shining vision of their spouse, for they will see them with God’s eyes.

“Blessed are the pure of heart,” says the original. To be “pure of heart” is to see and treat people according to their objective value, and not to see just the parts of them that attract or annoy you. 

You can look at your spouse and see all of their defects, or you can look at your spouse and remember all of their virtues. Jesus chooses the latter when he looks at each of us. We should join him.

Blessed are those who are willing to lose arguments, for they will win the peace they long for.

“Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus says. That is true in marriage more than anywhere. A priest once put it this way: “The spouse who loves the most is the spouse who loses the most arguments.” When the choice is between being right and being united, true love chooses unity. Lifelong love is worth losing for.

Blessed are the countercultural, who choose what’s best over what’s favored.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,” Jesus says, and “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.”

We know what is best for our family, and we should be willing to suffer the rebukes of anyone who complains in order to secure it, be they in-laws, school officials, doctors, neighbors or friends.

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