During the last days of the liturgical year, the Mass included readings from the book of Revelation. And when I hear, “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance… But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first” (Rev. 2:2-4), I think of how often our marriages and family life are invaded by haste and busyness. Many of the things we do are for those we love, and that’s good. However, they can wear us down and we can lose sight of what’s really important — love.
Often, when I speak to engaged and married couples, I remind them that throughout married life the following 3 ingredients must be present, in adequate proportion: emotion, reason, and will.
In our relationship, there will be many times when we will feel very comfortable. On those days we don’t need anyone to remind us why we got married: we’re enjoying and experiencing it happily.
But there will also be moments of fatigue or of disagreement when a certain distance can grow between the two of us. This can happen even without any serious argument or disagreement between us.
Among the causes can be be:
- our day-to-day activities take up all our attention;
- we do things with the best intentions to take care of and please our family, but we get absorbed in something specific and we get distracted and isolated, without sharing it;
- without realizing it, we’ve been taking some steps in different directions.
When this happens, we may feel sad, or angry, or cold.
Feelings speak to us; they’re a clue to what’s going on in our life. It’s good to stop and decipher what they are telling us: perhaps they’re saying, “… you have abandoned the love you had at first.”
If this happens, don’t panic
There’s no need to panic! However, we should take note and take measures to make that love we had at first burn again in our heart, getting rid of whatever has distanced us, adding fuel to the fire of love, and renewing the habit of making gestures of affection.
As Pope Francis said, “In no way should we resign ourselves to a downward curve, to an inevitable deterioration, to a bearable mediocrity.” (Amoris Laetitia, n. 232)