Aimed at greater intimacy than the one-flesh union, married love “leads to forming one heart and soul,” states the Catechism. (Section 1643). How do married couples become one in heart and soul, especially when the demands of daily life keep getting in the way?
Becoming One Heart
Talk to your beloved about what’s in your heart. Sometimes men don’t talk enough and women talk too much. What do you think about all day? Do you share those thoughts with your spouse? If not, why not? Take your concerns and preoccupations to prayer and ask God to help you share them with your spouse in a productive and positive way.
Becoming unified with your spouse is a foretaste of becoming one with God, the Bridegroom of our soul. But union entails sorrow as well as solace. St. Catherine of Siena experienced a mystical marriage with Jesus, which both increased her love and familiarity with Jesus and gave her a more intimate participation in his sufferings. Do we offer to participate in our spouse’s sufferings, or do we avoid them because we don’t want to feel their hurt as our own? True unity requires compassion.
St. Catherine united her heart so closely to Jesus that she saw a vision of Jesus accepting her heart from her and, in turn, placing his own heart in her chest. Do we take care of our spouse’s heart and our spouse’s feelings as if they were our own? Or are we careless, or even critical? When your spouse reveals the secrets of his or her innermost heart, take care never to use that knowledge against them. Your hearts should be safe with one another.
Becoming One Soul
How do we become one soul with our spouse? The closer our souls become to God, the closer they will become to one another. Bound together in the Sacrament of Matrimony, husbands and wives have a special responsibility to help one another get to heaven. So pray for each other and your marriage. Pray that your love for each other and for God will grow stronger every day. Remember how much Jesus’ heart is on fire with love for each of you. As Pope Francis expressed it, enter into the “fiery furnace of love that is the Trinity.” In his October 30, 2013, General Audience, the pope said:
This relationship between Jesus and the Father is the “matrix” of the bond between us Christians: if we are intimately part of this “matrix”, this fiery furnace of love, then we can truly become of one single heart and one single soul among us. For God’s love burns away our selfishness, our prejudices, our interior and exterior divisions.
In the heat of God’s tender love, let anything that divides you from your spouse melt away. Receive his love, share it with one another, and be at peace.
Looking for ways to make your marriage stronger? Karee Santos will be hosting an online marriage enrichment retreat on February 3, 4, 10, and 11. Like an interactive webinar, the retreat offers talks illustrated by sacred artwork with a background of Gregorian chant. All you need to participate is high-speed Internet and computer speakers. For more information or to register, click here.
Artwork: St. Catherine of Siena at the Side of Christ, by Sano di Pietro, 15th cent.