Monday, October 12, 2015

Achieving Intimacy in Marriage

Catholic bishops are meeting this month to find ways of helping families and  couples  to overcome the many problems they face. Much in our society is not helpful in making the  marriage commitment strong. Intimacy makes for strong bonds between husband and wife, and sexuality is important but there are  many other forms of intimacy that help to make for a strong union that  will help overcome the obstacles in the way of a happy and fulfilling life. Divorce is a fact of present day marriages, and we are far from understanding the harm to society in the aftermath of this sad reality.

Bride and groom on their wedding day promise  to be faithful to one another: " I promise to be true to you in good time and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life." The problems that are present in many cases are varied and many: finances, disillusionment, domestic violence, infidelity, personality differences and hundreds of other difficulties.

The church has with many of its programs helped couples and families:  Marriage Encounter, programs for the engaged,  Retrouvailles weekends, and many other programs are  available; outside the church, we also have help. However, as with all programs, education, examples: Whatever is received is received in the manner of the receiver.

Maturity of the couple is a requisite for marriage. In our society, how many are mature, and have enough natural virtue to live intimately with another person in a healthy matrimonial bond is a question that needs to be answered, and ways to prepare programs for our young people to achieve this basic maturity. Our educational system is of little help.

In one of our diocesan bulletins, the question of intimacy was presented to the readers. When the understanding of intimacy is different for each of the couples, we will have problems in marriage. This is an area where hopefully they will dialog long and deep to reach a common understanding of what they expect from each other.  
Intimacy requires: deep emotional involvement, respect and understanding of each other, meeting of mind and heart, sexual intimacy.  One definition is not sufficient to include all that is meant by intimacy. Many are the facets of intimacy, and to have a black-and-white  understanding of what is happening limits the possibilities.

The bulletin mentions many of the ways this intimacy is seen: raising a family, working together spiritually, using leisure time together to develop their common interests, talents and artistic pursuits, overcoming crises together, emotional intimacy and sexuality.

In conclusion, the writer hopes that his married readers will discuss these topics deeply and come to a common clear understanding of what intimacy means for them, and enable both to work together to achieve this intimacy.