"An enduring marriage is more than simply endurance. It is a process of growth into an intimate friendship and a deepening peace. So we urge all couples:
- renew your commitment regularly,
- seek enrichment often,
- and ask for pastoral and professional help when needed."
(from the USCCB, "Follow the Way of Love:
A Pastoral Message to Families, 1994.)
Living the sacramental vocation of marriage is a lifelong process of human development and Christian foundation. Married couples sometimes feel abandoned by the Church once the parish has conducted marriage preparation and helped couples celebrate their wedding day. Simply put, we must believe and act on the belief that marriage is a life long Christian vocation rather than simply a lifestyle choice.
Like the priesthood, married life is a calling from God for two people to travel a sacramentally graced path to get each other to heaven. Therefore, the married couple needs the involvement and support of their faith community and should not be left alone to succeed or fail without help from their Church. A parish can and should be a community that supports married couples in their lifetime sacramental journey to heaven by offering them marriage enrichment opportunities.