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The only question that matters if love is to last forever

WEDDING

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Mathilde De Robien - published on 02/05/24

A priest who has prepared many couples for marriage offers a perspective that bases marriage on a decision and inscribes it in the long term.

Paradoxical as it may seem, when embarking on the great adventure of marriage, the question is not whether you love the other person, but whether you “want” to love them. For life. This is one of the key lessons Fr. François Potez wants couples to learn.

“People don’t get married because they love each other. They get married because they’ve decided to love each other,” insists the parish priest of St. Philippe du Roule in his recent book, Since you’ve decided to love each other (“Puisque vous avez décidé de vous aimer…” currently available in French). Marriage isn’t the result of reciprocal feelings of love, however strong they may be, but the fruit of a decision. And that’s why it can last.

Because as the years go by, big feelings and butterflies in the stomach fade. “Many people get married — even Christians — with the inner thought: ‘I hope it works out,'” says Fr. Potez. “But that’s turning things upside down. Love is a decision; and since we’ve decided, we’ll do whatever it takes to make it work. So, the question of whether I love them or not is the wrong question. The only right question is, ‘Do I want to love them?’”

In reality, this decision doesn’t just concern engaged couples about to get married. It concerns all couples, whether they’ve been married for 10, 20, or 30 years. It’s a decision that they have to make again and again, especially when the couple is going through a difficult period.

Not a constraint, but a gift from God

The problem is if we see the indissolubility of marriage as a constraint. On the contrary, the Church invites us to see it as a gift from God. “The indissolubility of marriage is not a constraint imposed by the Church, but a gift from God in the sacrament! This changes everything. In the sacrament of marriage, God commits Himself to and with the spouses. God says, ‘I know your fickleness, the fragility of your feelings, your freedom, and your yes, better than you know yourself. That’s why I commit myself to you and with you, I who never change. I stand firm, I give my life. You can rest your faithfulness on mine, for I am the rock on which your love will be sealed,’” writes Father Potez.

The decision to love is certainly a decision on a human scale, but thanks to the sacrament of marriage, it benefits from a divine boost… which is no small thing. “If you understand that indissolubility is not a constraint but a gift, a grace from God, you’ll find serenity, you’ll no longer be afraid, and you’ll be able to regain perspective every time you go through a crisis,” the priest emphasizes.

Tags:
Catholic LifestyleFamilyMarriage
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