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News - Between crisis and children, the beauty of an "imperfect" marriage

Between crisis and children, the beauty of an "imperfect" marriage

23/06/2022

Between crisis and children, the beauty of an

The first years of marriage are a discovery. "Living together with each other, being away from home, taking on new tasks and responsibilities, reaching agreements…. Little by little, we realized that everyday life would require efforts, renunciations, and sacrifices". For this we need "our Mother Church, who enlightens and accompanies". This was explained by Eduardo De La Paz and Monica Gonzales, speakers at the conference that opened the work of the Pastoral Theological Congress of the Tenth World Meeting of Families this afternoon. The two live in Toledo and run marriage preparation courses for engaged couples.

Not every marriage is full of "roses and flowers", this is what the two speakers presented. Just like the others who took turns on stage in the Paul VI Hall, in the panels that followed: normal families, wounded, fragile, grappling with more or less big problems, from betrayal to forgiveness to abandonment. The same thing happens at every latitude, in Africa and Europe, in Brazil and Canada. This was witnessed, among others, by Stephen and Sandra Conway, from South Africa, representatives of 'Retrouvaille', a pathway for marriages in difficulty. "Retrouvaille," they explained, "examines four phases of marriage: romance, disillusionment, misery (where our betrayal took place), and finally joy. In the sentimental phase, the focus is on the other person and any shortcomings are ignored or overlooked. This sentimental phase does not last forever and couples may soon find themselves disillusioned by small annoyances that begin to creep in. Disillusionment can lead to unhappiness where all the problems faced are attributed to the other person and life becomes a living hell”. But then, through a journey in various stages, we come to joy. "In the stage of joy, we no longer focus on ourselves as individuals but now on ourselves as a couple united in the true meaning of love - the conclusion -. It is in this stage that we realize that love is not a feeling but actually a decision".

Dedicated to the arrival of children and the acceptance of life were the following panels, in the second part of the afternoon on Thursday 23rd. Jordi Cabanas and Gloria Arnau from Spain spoke about adoption and fostering as a Christian choice. "We are a welcoming family because first we were welcomed ourselves, with only one merit - which is not a small one: to be intermediaries of the Love we have received".

Gigi De Palo, president of the Forum of Family Associations, and his wife Anna Chiara Gambini also welcomed life. At home waiting for them are five children, the last of whom, four years old, has Down Syndrome. "When our fifth child was born,” they began, “we had the arrogance of already knowing everything. The experience, but also the arrogance of those who have already lived through four births, four weanings, four enrollments in school, four first rides, four first times at the beach... as if things happened the same way twice. Our fifth child, Giorgio Maria, amazed us and changed our lives a second after his birth. Because he is not only a child with Down Syndrome, but has been for us the earthquake of our useless certainties.” They do not want to be considered 'good', however, they pointed out. "We are not a model family," they emphasized, "We are simply one of the many families that said yes to life, not because of an ideological question, not because they told us so in the parish, but because it was good. There is nothing to do: it is beauty that drives us to do things. It is for beauty that we are Christians. It is for beauty that we are married. It is out of beauty that we welcomed Giorgio Maria. Because life, every life is intrinsically worthy and objectively more beautiful than death”.

In the evening, the delegates moved to the Lateran Palace, for a guided tour of what used to be “The House of the Bishop of Rome”, and to listen, in the courtyard, to a concert of classical music performed by the Form - Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana, resident team of the Macerata Opera Festival.