Observing just how different people are, especially men and women, it is not so much remarkable that couples divorce or that families have serious divisions. On the contrary, it is worthy to note just how resilient and forgiving most couples and most families are. However, just when we say, “that will never happen to my family or my marriage”, it does happen and it is never easy to resolve problems in families. “There are many reasons for divorce”, as one wife and mother told me recently, “but no reason is reason enough”.
There is much wisdom in that statement; I would call it “kitchen” wisdom, “living” room wisdom or “family” wisdom. How to live with others without becoming resentful, cynical, depressed or sad? How to work through problems and not let them divide couples and families?
Unfortunately, couples and families today lack the support they so desperately need; they are fragile, sometimes breakable. I am not referring just to the support of having someone to help with chores, or to drive to soccer games, or to baby sit. I am thinking of the spiritual supports that were available years ago, which we do not readily think to rely on today.
In particular, I am referring to frequent confession, yearly men and women retreats, Sunday or daily communion, personal devotion, quiet time to pray a rosary or read the Scriptures, morning and evening prayer, family grace before meals, family rosary, etc. We have become busy; we exclude God from our daily lives so much that we hardly think to welcome Him to our homes and to our family. Nonetheless, we need those personal supports to maintain healthy families.
If we want others in our families to improve, we must personally find ways to renew ourselves. Expecting everyone else to change is not fair. Asking God to assist us in this personal renewal is more realistic. We are not perfect, nor are our families. Nonetheless, becoming more and more attuned to God by the many ordinary means available to us, will add to the progress that our own family makes in becoming more and more an icon of the Church, a Domestic Church so to say, where Christ Himself lives and reigns.
+Gregory John Mansour
(Reprinted with permission.)