NBVM Novena Day 4: Love Overcomes

On the theme of ‘Love Overcomes’ focusing on married couples, Fr Patrick Massang shared some of his pastoral insights on marriage. He shared on factors that destroy marriage and ingredients that are necessary to build marriage. Love is crucial, he said, but so many factors work against the relationship.

Factors that Destroy Marriage:

Ego is like a beast that devours a relationship. All of us have ego and when it becomes larger than life it destroys a marriage. It is hard to be humble when your ego is in control. Repairing a marriage becomes difficult too.

Lies and insincere communication or communicating with an ulterior motive destroy a relationship too. One must have open and honest communication; each time we talk, we should not have hidden agendas. Even white lies can take a life of their own and destroy relationships.

Lack of Commitment: There are some things that are negotiable and non-negotiable in a marriage. What is not negotiable is that you must love with all your heart and mind, give yourself completely to your spouse just like God does- gives Himself completely to us and communicates with us in love . Communication is not just in words but also in gestures. Everyone in the family grows closer together through loving communication.

Hurtful words: Words too can kill and cause scars that hinders intimacy. There are times when we must have the humility to seek professional help especially when we cannot see eye to eye or when the other half does not get what you mean; the cross we bear does not become burdensome when someone can help us see things in a different light.

Ingredients that Build Marriage

Love is an important ingredient in marriage but there are a few other ingredients necessary in a marriage too.

Forgiveness is important in marriage. Whatever sin we commit, it is never greater that God’s love and mercy. It is difficult to say “I am sorry, I took you for granted” but in any relationship it is necessary to say sorry and forgive. Fr Patrick disputed the catchphrase “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”  from the classic movie ‘Love Story’. In a marriage it is important to forgive and say sorry!

Quality time: Another essential ingredient in a marriage is quality time with the spouse – sometimes one just needs to sit next to each other without saying anything; the presence is important.

Faithfulness: Many things distract us today and lead us into the pitfall of unfaithfulness. Faithfulness is the greatest challenge in a relationship today. Unfaithfulness can be very painful and sometimes it becomes difficult to repair the relationship because the dynamics of the relationship has changed. Hence we should be careful of the things that distract us. Faithfulness is another ingredient that is crucial to marriage.  

Prayer: Love comes from God and thus we need to include Him in our relationship. God is an important ingredient in a marriage. A couple should pray together and thank God for the relationship. We should pray but not with ulterior motive. Prayer should be sincere and from the heart.

Sacrifice: Lastly Fr Patrick said sacrifice keeps the marriage too. “No greater lover one has than to lay down his life for a loved one”. He recapped the stories his mother told him about his father who had to walk for miles in search of food during the Japanese occupation. He put his life in danger to feed his family. Marriage also involves sacrifice.

After the homily, couples renewed their vows and Fr Patrick reminded them to pray for their children always.