Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Marriage Requires More than Love

Statistics show that among OECD countries Korea has the highest number of  divorces, but this may mean less than it seems since we do have so many forgetting about marriage in the first place. Writing a column in the Catholic Times, a diocesan priest working pastorally with families gives us his understanding of the problem.

He has asked young people what they consider the most important qualities for a partner in marriage. A typical female response would be: "First of all, one has to make a good choice; one who is tall, good looking, capable, with a good personality is the  kind of  man I want to marry." A typical male response would be: "I want a girl who is thin, beautiful, good natured, cheerful, and cultured."

After these basic and mostly unrealistic expectations,  there is the interest in the mate's finances, the house, the place of  marriage, dress, and the other factors considered essential for marriage. It is understood that not having money problems will make for a happy marriage. But is that the case? the priest asks.

Love is not enough, he says, and notes that his maternal grandfather, who very much loved the priest's mother, did not allow her to do what she wanted. Do you think that his mother appreciated this great love of his grandfather? he asks. The grandfather did not consider his daughter's needs but only his own love. What one person thinks is love is often seen by the other as discomfort and pain.

The priest refers to Genesis 2:24: "This is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body." God does not ask for love, he says, but that they be one. The partners to be married are brought up in different environments, circumstances, educational backgrounds, and understanding each other will require much effort. Questions that are helpful in reaching this understanding would be: Am I a suitable match for my mate? Can I make the effort to bring harmony and unity to the marriage? Can I overcome my own faults, and at the same time am I mature enough to accept the faults of my mate that I may see later in life? Otherwise, he counsels his young people, the unity will not be achieved.

The priest reminds Catholics that the Sacrament of Matrimony allows one to be open to the graces of God, for what is demanded is not easily achieved without  grace. We have to know what we lack and ask this from God. The priest laments that many young Catholics opt for marriage in a wedding hall instead of the church, which is a sign that the desire for the spiritual help necessary to make their marriage a holy union is missing.


  1. This is interesting!Thanks for sharing this one.

  2. This is a great eye-opener to each and everyone. I am so grateful that I come across to your blog. Marriage is not an easy path and it really needs a great and strong foundation to the couple. Love alone will not stand because it will surely fade specially when facing tough challenges. Putting God in the middle of your relationship will lead you to a very fruitful life.