Pope Francis met with ten thousand engaged couples today in St. Peter’s Square to celebrate the joy of marriage, offering them sage love advice. The lovers came from all over the world to meet with the pope in an event organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family. They asked him questions about how to sustain a loving marriage.
Here are some of his best words of wisdom for living a successful relationship:
1. Build Love
But what do we mean by ‘love’? A mere emotion, a psycho-physical state? Certainly, if it is just this, it cannot provide the foundation for building something solid. But if instead love is a relationship, then it is a growing reality, and we can also say, by way of example, that it is built in the same way that we build a house. And we build a house together, not alone!
2. Commit To Forever
Because ‘forever’ is not simply a question of duration! A marriage does not succeed just because it lasts; its quality is also important.
3. Living Together Requires Consideration and Care
[Living together is] an art, a patient, beautiful and fascinating journey … which can be summarised in three words: please, thank you and sorry. ‘Please’ is a kind request to be able to enter into the life of someone else with respect and care. … True love does not impose itself with hardness and aggression.
4. Be Courteous and Grateful
St. Francis said that ‘courtesy is the sister of charity, it extinguishes hatred and kindles love’. And today, in our families, in our world, often violent and arrogant, there is a need for far more courtesy. ‘Thank you’: gratitude is an important sentiment. Do we know how to say thank you?
5. Recognize Mistakes and Apologize Sincerely
‘Sorry’. In our lives we make many errors, many mistakes. We all do. … And this is why we need to be able to use this simple word, ‘sorry’. In general we are all ready to accuse other sand to justify ourselves. It is an instinct that lies at the origins of many disasters. Let us learn to recognize our mistakes and to apologize.
6. Don’t Expect Perfection
We are all aware that the perfect family does not exist, nor does the perfect husband, nor the perfect wife.
7. Your Marriage Is More Important Than Your Wedding
At the same time, it is good for your wedding to be sober and to emphasize that which is truly important. Some people are more concerned with external signs, with the banquet, the dress… These are important aspects of a feast, but only if they are able to indicate the true reason for your joy: the Lord’s blessing upon your love.
8. Don’t Go To Bed Angry
Do not end any day without asking each other for forgiveness, having peace back in your house and your family. Never end a single day without being at peace with each other. This is the secret in order to preserve love.
The Pope also tweeted:
Dear young people, don’t be afraid to marry. A faithful and fruitful marriage will bring you happiness.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) February 14, 2014