How do you become a better individual? By learning from your mistakes and challenges, while always looking to improve, rebuild and be better. In life we all get an opportunity to reflect, discern and look for second chances. How do you do this as a married couple?
We all know that marriage is difficult, is not perfect and that we will face challenges and struggle. It is also not easy to reflect on what is not working or what has failed; but if we learn from those situations, we will certainly have the chance to grow and improve the bond that exists between us.
The new year gives us, as spouses, the great opportunity to reflect and re-align our views, goals and mission. It is a chance to ensure that we are walking in the same direction.
Every end of the year, we normally set and define individual goals and objectives, but how do we do so as a couple? Do we set goals together? Do we analyze and define how to keep growing in our relationship? Do we define common objectives? My invitation is for you to reflect on your marriage and set common goals and objectives for 2021!!
As we analyze and reflect on our lives, two key factors to consider are forgiveness and love. As I heard once: “There is no forgiveness without love, and there is no love without forgiveness;” both words go hand in hand.
Forgiveness is key and vital in the long-term success of a marriage. If we want to grow and improve we need to learn to forgive our partner for the things that happened before and we need to learn to forgive all the time. As it is reads in the Gospel of Mathew 18:21-22, when Peter approaches Jesus and he asks, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Forgiveness is probably the most important word in a relationship and it will strengthen you. It is a bitter yet necessary medicine. I heard once from a Priest that there are four components for forgiveness:
- Forgiveness does not mean forgetting.
- Forgiveness gives you back freedom.
- Forgiveness is a decision.
- Forgiveness shows mercy.
As mentioned above, in order to forgive we need to love the person we are forgiving. Our spouse is that person whom we should always love and for whom we must seek to be better for and grow. Love is critical and fundamental to the success of any marriage; it is the opposite to look for a personal benefit, it is the resignation of the ME. Love is a decision, so loving our spouse is our own decision. Love heals some of the deepest wounds in life.
You can’t expect to receive love if you are not willing to give love. As per a song from the play Les Miserables, “To Love another person is to see the face of God.”
As per John Lennon, “Love is the flower you’ve got to let grow.”
Father Mike Schmitz once said that love isn’t a feeling but an ability and love is willing or choosing the good of another.
Mother Adela Galindo said that love is given and received, but can’t be bought. She also said that love is not to receive something in return. In a marriage, if you don’t feel loved and complete it is because you don’t have God in your soul.
So let’s take the chance to reflect on our marriages and set common goals for 2021. As we do so, let’s consider forgiveness and reaffirm the love that we have for each other. With that love, we will be able to set goals that will allow us to keep growing as a couple. Remember that married life is not a 100-meter run, but a marathon where you will need to adapt, change strategies and persevere. Married life is about creating a perfect statue from a big marble rock. As we set goals and rebuild we are carving pieces of that perfect statue.
God bless you all and I wish you the best in 2021 as you keep developing and growing your relationship.
Genaro Poulat was born into a Catholic family in Mexico City where he lived for the early part of his life. He lives now in Key Biscayne, Florida with his wife Martha, to whom he has been married for 26 years. He has been blessed and fortunate to have 4 kids: Genaro, Daniela, Bernardo and Andres. Over the past 26 years he has lived in Edinburgh, Mexico, New York, Panama and Florida.
Genaro is an International Banker and he has worked in the sector for 28 years. Over the past five years, together with his wife Martha, he has been dedicated to supporting married couples and helping them to get closer to God. Genaro is an active volunteer in his Church and supports many ministries.