Updated: Oct 11, 2019
God created two institutions: one is family and other one is Church in the Trinitarian model. If we do not take much care, these two institutions will become like hell. Mutual sanctification and holiness of children are the plans of God in marriage (1Cor 7:14-16). Broken relationship with God is one of the main reasons of broken families in the world. Family is the vineyard of God which should not be destroyed by weeds – Pope Francis I.
God delights in three things which are most beautiful in the sight of God and men (Sir 25:1):
Agreement between brothers and sisters
Friendship among the neighbourhood
Perfect harmony between husband and wife
Challenges of Marriages
14 countries accepted same sex marriage as legal, Pre-marriage, Extra marriage sexes, Cohabitation, Concubinage, Single parents, Unhealthy feminism, Surrogate motherhood, Divorce and remarriage, Only civil marriage, Corroding of value system, Influence of media, Trial marriages, Free unions, Civil Divorce, Abortion, Euthanasia, Decision not to have children, Prayerlessness, Misunderstanding and lack of communication, Lack of mutual love, Unforgiveness, Mixed marriages and Prostitution.
Let us go to the details of the teaching on family
1. God hates divorce – Mal 2:16 & Lk 16:18, - and Jesus said what God has united man should not asunder Mt 19:6, but certain marriages are to be annulled because these are not real marriages due to five reasons:
Lack of due consent (due to mental diseases, substance abuse, force and fear, lack of due discretion etc)
Non consummation (lack of penetration and ejaculation inside the vagina, impotence and frigidity etc)
Diriment impediments (existing marriage, priesthood, religious vows, consanguity)
Contra bonum fidei, Sacramenti, prolis and conigum (excluding fidelity, sacraments, children and welfare of the partner)
Simulation of the marriage
2. Family is a divine institution - Gen 2:18-24
18 Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner." 19 So out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken." 24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.
3. Family is a domestic Church – CCCC 350 Why is the Christian family called a domestic church? CCC 1655-1658 and 1666. “The Christian family is called the domestic church because the family manifests and lives out the communal and familial nature of the Church as the family of God. Each family member, in accord with their own role, exercises the baptismal priesthood and contributes toward making the family a community of grace and of prayer, a school of human and Christian virtue and the place where the faith is first proclaimed to children”.
4. Some people turned it as a Bar, Beauty Parlour, Butcher house, Cinema Theater etc
5. Marriage is a Sacrament - It is a covenant and not a contract. Invisible grace comes to the couple through the visible signs which are established by Jesus and instituted by the church. Therefore it is sacrament.
6. To solve all problems in the family we have to look Jesus. Zacheaus looked to Jesus. Jesus said “Today this family is saved” Lk 19:9-10. Some people search donkey to solve their family problems.
7. Jesus did his first miracle in a family to save a marriage. Jn 2:1-10
8. Believe in the Lord you and your family will be saved. Acts 16:31
9. Dangers in the marriage - YouCat 264 - What threatens marriages? What really threatens marriages is sin; what renews them is forgiveness; what makes them strong is prayer and trust in God’s presence. [1606-1608]. Conflict between men and women, which sometimes reaches the point of mutual hatred in marriages, of all places, is not a sign that the sexes are incompatible; nor is there such a thing as a genetic disposition to infidelity or some special psychological disability for lifelong commitments. Many marriages, however, are endangered by a lack of communication and consideration. Then there are economic and societal problems. The decisive role is played by the reality of sin: envy, love of power, a tendency to quarrel, lust, infidelity, and other destructive forces. That is why forgiveness and reconciliation, in confession as well, is an essential part of every marriage.
10. All are not called for marriage. Youcat 265. Not everyone is called to marriage. Even people who live alone can have fulfillment in life. To many of them Jesus shows a special way; he invites them to remain unmarried “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19:12). [1618-1620]. Many people who live alone suffer from loneliness, which they perceive only as a lack and a disadvantage. Yet a person who does not have to care for a spouse or a family also enjoys freedom and independence and has time to do meaningful and important things that a married person would never get to. Maybe it is God’s will that he should care for people for whom no one else cares. Not uncommonly God even calls such a person to be especially close to him. This is the case when one senses a desire to renounce marriage “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven”. Of course a Christian vocation can never mean despising marriage or sexuality. Voluntary celibacy can be practiced only in love and out of love, as a powerful sign that God is more important than anything else. The unmarried person renounces a sexual relationship but not love; full of longing he goes out to meet Christ the bridegroom who is coming (Mt 25:6)”.
11. Singles CCC 1658. We must also remember the great number of single persons who, because of the particular circumstances in which they have to live - often not of their choosing - are especially close to Jesus' heart and therefore deserve the special affection and active solicitude of the Church, especially of pastors. Many remain without a human family often due to conditions of poverty. Some live their situation in the spirit of the Beatitudes, serving God and neighbor in exemplary fashion. The doors of homes, the "domestic churches," and of the great family which is the Church must be open to all of them. "No one is without a family in this world: the Church is a home and family for everyone, especially those who 'labor and are heavy laden.” "No one is without a family in this world: the Church is a home and family for everyone, especially those who 'labor and are heavy laden.”
What Bible says about Marriage?
God joins man and woman - Let not man separate what God has joined was Jesus’ comment on marriage (Mt. 19:6). God had joined man and woman. Unless the inevitable result of sinful way of life, the life-partner acquainted with in any way is God’s gift. God gave Adam, Eve, as wife. God arranged all that (Gen. 2:22). Isaac married Rebecca. Laban commented: “The thing comes from the Lord; we cannot speak ill or well of it” (Gen. 24:50). God said to Joseph: Fear not to take Mary as wife (Mt. 1:20).
Life-Partner is not to be rejected - If God approves the selection of one’s life-partner through the sacrament of marriage, that selection will never go wrong. Hence, the life-partner should never be rejected. “Let not man separate what God has joined” (Mt. 19:6). They are no longer two but they are one. Till death they are to be one. Love each other as if they constituted one body. As the baby feels pain in its arm, the mother too feels the same. Similarly marriage relation enables the couple to feel the partner’s physical and psychic problems as of one body. “Except for unchastely the wife is not to be divorced” (Mt. 19:9). `Unchastely’ here means illegitimate cohabitation. As it involves sin, it has to be terminated. There is no genuine marriage-relation there. `Unchastely’ then is not the sin of occasional infidelity.
The mystery of marriage - The two become one; it is a great mystery (Eph. 5:32). Matrimony is a great mystery beyond human understanding. Only those who regard marital union as a mystery succeed in married life. From the day of marriage, Jesus bestows the husband and the wife a special love for each other. That is, His own love. His own love is love unto death, towards his church. Therefore even in the infirmities of the partner, the other is capable of patiently loving. Since Jesus grants abiding love, the Catholic Church is against divorce. As difficulties arise in married life, approach Jesus and pray: Lord, I accept the great mystery of matrimony, strengthen me.
Sanctify mutually - “For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband” (1 Cor. 7:14). Married life is an invitation for mutual sanctification. Why do excellent ladies get married to men with imperfections? The good lady is to reclaim her husband through prayer and loving conduct. “Wives, be submissive to your husbands, so that some, though they do not obey the word, may be won without a word, by the behavior of their wives, when they see your reverent and chaste behavior” (1 Pt. 3: 1-2). Several wives indignant at their husband’s drunkenness and other weaknesses try to reform them, sure to fail in the attempt. When she conforms herself to Jesus and commences to behave calmly, recognizing her husband, gradually the husband gets better.
How should Wives behave?
Wives should be subject to their husbands. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in every thing to their husbands (Eph. 5:22-24). Never speak ill of the husband. As the husband correct the children, don’t take the side of the children and disrespect the husband.
Wife should respect husband (Eph. 5:33)
Wife should deal with husband innocently and honorably. That will regenerate the husband (1 Pt. 3:2)
Exterior glamour is not the real grace of wife. The interior grace with the gentle and quiet spirit is precious in God’s sight (1 Pt. 3:4)
A good wife seeks her husband’s happiness, rather than her own (Eccl. 26:2)
A good wife works with willing hands (Prov. 31:13)
An early riser, she regulates everything (Prov. 31:15)
She examines herself and corrects (Prov. 31:18)
She helps the poor and the needy (Prov. 31:20)
She will converse about good things (Prov. 31:26)
Her devotion to God makes her praise worthy (Prov. 31:30)
Points for Husbands
Husbands should love wives (Eph. 5:25). As Christ loved the church, husbands should love wives. Christ died for the church. If need arises, the husband should be prepared to die for wife. Love demands that.
Do not desire a woman for her possessions (Eccl. 25:21). The husband should sanctify himself sacrificing his self. Christ sacrificed himself, to safeguard the church without spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:25-27)
Should love the wife as one’s own body. In case the body is wounded, as we try to heal it, the husband should be kind to the wife and strive to rectify her deficiencies and defects.
The husband is expected to foster his wife. As Christ his church, husband should guard wife. A good husband takes care of all the needs of his wife, like food, dress.
Husband should have consideration for wife (1 Pt. 3:7). “Husbands, live considerately with your wives, bestowing honor on the woman as the weaker sex, since you are joint heirs of the grace of life in order that your prayers may not be hindered (1 Pt. 3:7).
The husband should not feel lust but love towards his wife (Tob. 8:7). Marital relations call for unblemished love, not lust of the flesh.
Husband should pray with wife (Tob. 8:4). God-fearing husband obtains God’s blessings. He, his wife and their children will be good (Ps. 128:1-6).
Points for Couples
The duty of the couple - The husband should fulfill his marital obligations to his wife; so too the wife. The husband, not the wife, has dominion over her body. Except on mutual consent as they practice chastity for concentrating on prayer, they should not deny their mutual obligations. After such short breaks, they should definitely `come together again’, lest satan tempt them through lack of self control (1 Cor. 7:3-6). CCC- 2362 "The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude."145 Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure: The Creator himself . . . established that in the [generative] function, spouses should experience pleasure and enjoyment of body and spirit. Therefore, the spouses do nothing evil in seeking this pleasure and enjoyment. They accept what the Creator has intended for them. At the same time, spouses should know how to keep themselves within the limits of just moderation”
Relations with parents - “A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Eph. 5:31). The Ps. chanted in marriage liturgy is significant. “The beauty of the princes is all internal. Forget your people and your father’s house” (Ps. 45:10). From the day of marriage, in a man’s life, next to God, the most important person is his wife. In the wife’s case her husband. Since husband and wife have become one, together they deal with parents. No father or mother is to take decisions about one’s wife. The guy, who packs his wife to her home on the behest of his father or mother, goes counter to the commandment of God.
Marriage Covenant - “A man who breaks his marriage vows says to himself, who sees me? Darkness surrounds me, the walls hide me, and no one sees me. Why should I fear? He does not realize that the eyes of the Lord are ten thousand times brighter than the sun” (Eccl. 23:18, 19). The woman deceiving her husband, indulging in harlotry is cursed (Eccl. 23:23-26). The marriage covenant was made in the presence of God. Forget not, even when no one notices, God sees.
Indissoluble Bond - The wife should not separate from husband. But if she does, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband. The husband should not divorce his wife (1 Cor. 7:10-12; Mt. 19:6).
Prayer and Bible Study - “O Lord God, thou art God and thy words are true, and thou hast promised this good thing to thy servant. Now therefore may it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue forever before thee” (2 Sam. 7:28,29)? Let husband and wife pray together and get spiritually strengthened. “If two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my father in heaven” (Mt. 18:19) Good to remember the above cited word of God.
Rely mutually - The husband should not think: I am master at home. I will do as I please. The wife too should not be self-willed. “In the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman” (1 Cor. 11:11). Who is more important, you or I? Such a question should not arise in married life. Like the two wings of a bird are husband and wife. The bird cannot fly of fluttering one wing alone.
Primacy of God - God has joined the couples according to their mutual consent . Let God who has joined the husband and wife, not be forgotten. The moment they began to live ignoring God, family life crumbles. As problems and difficulties crop up, resort to God in prayer and await God’s help in solving them. God will definitely bless those whom He has joined, provided they resort to Him in their difficulties. God will communicate with them as He communicated with Joseph. Fear not to take your wife (Mt. 1:20).
Parents & Children
Don’t provoke children to anger (Eph. 6:4). Parents should be particularly vigilant on this point. As they converse with children, admonish them, punish them; they should not provoke them. Many children don’t like the very mention of their parents. Which child does not dislike a drunken father keeping indecent company? Several parents gladden the minds of their children. Dr. Christian Bernard who performed the first heart surgery used to visit frequently his home where he had spent his boyhood with his parents. He kept his ancestral home intact. He used to say whenever he went there he was reminded of his loving father and mother who invoked God’s blessings on him and that it gave him immense joy.
Bring up children as the Lord’s disciple - Fathers, bring your children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). Some family’s practices sever kinds of punishments. Yet children seldom improve. Some parents resort to tying the children to a stake in order to beat them. Don’t punish children to appease the parents’ anger. The children should be induced to virtue by making them realize their mistake. Michael Angelo recalls how he became famous as a painter. As a boy once he drew with carbon on mother’s frock. Instead of scolding me, mummy corrected me. Next day itself she bought me paper and pencil. Mother’s encouragement fostered the artist in me. Love should be the motive behind correcting children (1 Tim. 1:5) If parents neglect in bringing up of the children, God will punish the parents for that very reason. About Eli, God said: I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity, which he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them (1 Sam. 3:13). He who disciplines his son will profit by him: (Eccl. 30:2). Take pains to discipline your son (Eccl. 30:13). Do not withhold discipline from a child, if you beat him with a rode will not die. If you beat him with the rod you will save his life from inferno (sheol) (Prov. 23:13). He who loves his son is diligent to discipline him (Prov. 13:24). A child left to his own brings shame to his mother (Prov. 29:15).
Discipline your children in right time - “Pamper a child and he will frighten you” (Eccl. 30:9). Sacred Scripture teaches children should not be spoilt by pampering, by not punishing when needed, and before time giving them access to money and position (Eccl 30:10-13). Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him (Proverb 22:15).
Give children their due in right time - Tobit before dying counseled his son on all money matters pertaining to him (Tob. 4:3-21). Do not indulge in favoritism in partitioning the property. “If you show partiality, you commit sin” (James 2:9; Deut. 21: 15-17).
The question of the vocation of children - Abraham commissioned his steward to find out proper mate for his son Isaac (Gen. 24:2-4). Naomi told Ruth, her daughter-in-law: “My daughter shall I not seek a home for you that it may be well with you? (Ruth 3:1). Parents should take special care about the vocation of their children. They should not encourage, or induce children to a state of life not to their taste and call”.
Set good example - Sacred Scripture reminds us of the proverb: like mother, like daughter (Ezek. 16:44). Abijam walked in all the sins, which his father did before him (1 Kings 15:3). Parent’s example, children easily follow. How can the crab, moving sideways, teach its young ones to proceed straight?
Points to be pondered by Children
Obey, honor, parents (Eph. 6:1-4). The Decalogue categorically insists on honoring parents. As long as Solomon heeding his father David’s counsel, kept the law of God, he flourished. His ruin commenced as he discarded the law of God (1 Kings 2:2-5; Eccl. 3:1-2; Prov. 13:1-4)
In adversity too, keep company to parents. Ruth even after the death of her husband, did not desert Naomi, her mother-in-law (Ruth 1:14). She insisted to stay with her mother-in-law till her death. She worked to support her mother-in-law.
Do not grieve parents in their old age Eccl. 3:12). The Lord confirmed the right of the mother over her sons (Eccl. 3:2). Abandon not the father (Eccl. 3:16). He who chases away his mother brings reproach (Prov. 19:26).
He who scorns his mother will be punished (Prov. 30:17). The son who remains stubborn and rebellious even after correction deserves death sentence (Deut. 21:18-20.
The paramount of fear of God. “To die childless is better than to have ungodly children” (Eccl. 16:3). Tobith Exhorted his son: “Do not walk in the ways of wrong doing” (Tob. 4:5).
“In pride there is ruin and great confusion; and in shiftlessness there is loss and great want, because shiftlessness is the mother of famine” (Tob. 4:13).
Wages and alms. “Do not hold ever till the next day the wages of any man who works for you” (Tob. 4:14). Give more, when you get more (Tob. 4:8). Tobith reminded his son his duties.
Children God's Gift
We read in the book of Maccabees: “I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, not I who set in order the elements within each of you” (2 Macc. 7:22). God forms men. Children are God’s gift. “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, the fruits of the womb a reward” (Ps. 127:3).
Don't Forget the Past
Parents and children should not forget their past. Children should not forget the sacrifices parents had made for their sake. Now the children might be handsome and healthy. Haven’t your father and mother labored much for you? An incident in the life of Dr. Radhakrishnan - Indian President. Radhakrishnan wept dining on delicacies from costly dishes in the Rashtrapathi Bhavan. He told a comrade the reason: “As I was a boy, our family was poor. Father as teacher got only a meager salary. By the 20th of every month, no balance. One day getting ready to go to school, I wept because of hunger. Mother borrowed rice from the neighboring house and prepared rice gruel. Not having money to buy plantain leaf, mother served it on the floor itself, saying, Sonnie, don’t worry, you eat”. We should never forget the sacrifices parents have undergone for our sake.
Do 11 things to have a good Family Life
Do not love the partner only for sexual satisfaction (Tob 8:7)
Accept your life partner as a God-given gift - Tobit 6: 17.
Take decision only through dialogue that means mutual consultation and sharing.
Appreciate and encourage your life partner. Do not give much correction. Instead, pray for change. The more you give correction, the more the person will be corrupted.
Love your wife as yourself - Eph 5: 28 & Col 3: 19. Respect your husband - Eph 5: 24 & Eph 5: 21.
Unconditional forgiveness and unlimited prayers will solve all your family problems. "Try to forgive seventy times seven" - Matt 18: 21, i.e., unlimitedly.
Have family prayer everyday. "The family that prays together stays together." Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet with special intentions before every decade are good family prayers.
Share your burdens and housework with each other. Carrying the burdens each other and fulfill the law of the Lord - Gal 6:2.
Do not neglect the needs of the family members - 1 Timothy 5:8.
Do not deny the conjugal right of the life partner even though you do not want it - 1 Cor 7: 4.
Avoid all extra-marital sexual relationship including all types of sexual enjoyment other than from the legitimate life partner. Let everyone respect the marriage and keep the marriage bed holy and pure - Heb 13: 4.
Lord Jesus, help me to love and respect my family member
s especially my life partner in the way in which they want me to love and respect them. And let them love and respect me too the way in which I want them to love and respect me. Fill us with your Holy Spirit and create in us one mind, one heart, and one spirit. Provide us Lord, your unity and peace among the family members. I also pray to you, O Lord, fulfill all my intentions that I have placed before you for each of my family member.
(Pray 1 Divine Mercy Chaplet for the fulfillment of your intention)
Renewal of Family Commitment (To be recited by each member of the family)
I will cherish my family, work to build our unity and strive to love you more each day. I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, love you faithfully through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles we may face as a family. I choose to respect you in your successes and in your failures, to care for you in all situations, to nurture you and grow together in all the seasons of life. I shall strive to fulfill this commitment every day of my life as long as I shall live.
(Then hold hands and pray the Apostles’ Creed, one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be and Divine Mercy Chaplet)
Prayer to solve the Problem of Childlessness
Behold, Children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward (Ps 127:3)
My Heavenly Father ! Listen to the cry of my heart. I am in deep agony and You know the reason. Yes Lord! What is life without the gift of a child! I feel empty Lord! I know You understand my yearnings!
Master! The Scripture says that You answered the cries of Hannah and blessed her with a son. I pour out my heart in Your presence Lord! Please take into account all my tears and think of my lonely state! I feel so humiliated and worthless to face the world in this state O Lord. My heart aches when I see other children and whenever I feel their gentle touch Lord! I cannot bear the mockery and the agony any more! I have reached the limit of endurance! Have mercy upon me; remember me and bless me with a sweet child Lord! Make my life a meaningful one!
Father, forgive my iniquities and break whatever curses are hindering this blessing in my life. Grant my spouse and myself, good health and make our married life a complete one. Lord I promise to bring up my child in Your fear and knowledge. So help me my father and turn my sorrows into joy. Honour me Lord by granting me a child for Your name’s glory. I expect a miracle from Your mighty hand and I thank You even now for making my life whole. In Jesus name I pray. Amen
(Pray 1 Divine Mercy Chaplet for the fulfillment of your intention)