A Question of Marriage

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Following this line of reasoning makes it easier to correct oneself later on and if necessary to beg pardon, which is the best way of ending a quarrel. In this way peace and love are regained. I am not encouraging you to quarrel but it is understandable that we should fall out at times with those we love most, because they are the people we are always with. We are not going to fall out with someone in Timbuktu! Thus small rows between husband and wife, as long as they are not too frequent, and they should see to it that they are not are not a sign that love is lacking; and in fact they can help to increase it.

Finally, I would advise parents never to quarrel in front of their children. They can remind each other of this with a certain word, a look or a gesture. If they cannot avoid the argument altogether they can, at least, put it off till later when they are calmer. The family atmosphere should be one of peace between husband and wife because peace is a necessary condition for deep and effective character training. Children should see in their parents an example of dedication, sincere love, mutual help and understanding.

The small trifles of daily life should not be allowed to hide from them the reality of a love that is capable of overcoming all obstacles. Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously. Each of us gets angry now and again. Sometimes because it is necessary; other times because we lack a spirit of mortification. The important thing is to show, with a smile that restores family warmth, that these outbursts of anger do not destroy affection.

In a word, the lives of husband and wife should consist in loving one another and loving their children, because by doing this they love God. Many married couples find themselves confused regarding the number of children that they should have. What advice would you give them?

Married couples should remember, when they receive advice and recommendations on this matter, that what they have to do is to discover what God wants of them. There are cases in which we seek advice that will favor our own selfishness, and suppress with its apparent authority the voice of our inner convictions. This is a pharisaical attitude which is unworthy of a child of God.

Advice, however, does not eliminate personal responsibility. In the end, it is we ourselves, each one of us on our own, who have to decide for ourselves and personally to account to God for our decisions. God will give His grace to those who act with an upright intention. He will inspire them as to what to do and, when necessary, He will enable them to find a priest who knows how to lead their souls along pure and right paths even though at times they may be difficult ones. Spiritual guidance should not be used to turn people into beings with no judgment of their own, who limit themselves to carrying out mechanically what others tell them.

On the contrary, it should tend to develop men with their own Christian standards. This requires maturity, firm convictions, sufficient doctrinal knowledge, a refined spirit and an educated will. It is important for married people to acquire a clear sense of the dignity of their vocation. They must know that they have been called by God not only to human love but also to a divine love, through their human love.

It is important for them to realize that they have been chosen from all eternity to cooperate with the creative power of God by having and then bringing up children.

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Our Lord asks them to make their home and their entire family life a testimony of all the Christian virtues. I shall never tire of repeating that marriage is a great and marvelous divine path. Like everything divine in us, it calls for response to grace, generosity, dedication and service. Selfishness, in whatever shape or form, is opposed to the love of God which ought to govern our lives.

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This is a fundamental point which one must always bear in mind with regard to marriage and the number of children. There are some women who are afraid to tell their friends and relations that they are going to have another child. They fear the criticism of those who think that large families are old-fashioned. What would you say to us on the subject? I bless parents who, joyfully accepting the mission that God entrusts to them, have many children. When I praise large families, I do not refer to those which are the result of mere physiological relations.


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I refer to families founded on the practice of human virtues, which have a high regard for personal dignity and know that giving children to God consists not only of engendering their natural life but also undertaking the lengthy task of raising them. Giving them life comes first, but it is not everything. Nevertheless, the theories that make birth control an ideal, or a universal or general duty, are criminal, anti-Christian and humanly degrading. To appeal to a presumed post-conciliar spirit opposed to large families would be to adulterate and pervert Christian doctrine.

The number is not in itself the decisive factor. The fact of having few or many children does not on its own make a family more or less Christian. What matters is the integrity and honesty with which married life is lived. True mutual love transcends the union of husband and wife and extends to its natural fruits — the children. Selfishness, on the contrary, sooner or later reduces love to a mere satisfaction of instinct and destroys the bond which unites parents and children.

I was saying that, in itself, the number of children is not a decisive factor. Nevertheless, I see clearly that attacks on large families stem from a lack of Faith. They are the product of a social atmosphere which is incapable of understanding generosity, trying to conceal selfishness, and unmentionable practices under apparently altruistic motives.

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Paradoxically, the countries where most birth control propaganda is found, and which impose birth control on other countries, are the very ones which have attained a higher standard of living. Perhaps their economic and social arguments in favor of birth control could be taken more seriously if they led them to give away a sizeable part of their great wealth to those in need.

Until then it will be hard not to think that the real motive behind their arguments is hedonism and ambition for political domination, for demographic neo-colonialism. I am not unaware of the great problems facing humanity, nor of the actual difficulties which a particular family can confront. I often think of this and my fatherly heart, which I have to have as a Christian and as a priest, is filled with compassion. Nevertheless, it is not lawful to look for the solution in this direction.

The frustration caused by not being able to have children leads, at times, to discord and misunderstanding. In your opinion, what meaning should Christian couples who are childless give to their married life?

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In the first place I would tell them that they should not give up hope too easily. And then it would be good for both of them to see a good doctor. If in spite of everything God does not give them children, they should not regard themselves as being thwarted. Often God does not give children because He is asking them for something more. God asks them to put the same effort and the same kind and gentle dedication into helping their neighbors as they would have put into raising their children, without the human joy that comes from having children.

There is, then, no reason for feeling they are failures or for giving way to sadness. If the married couple have interior life, they will understand that God is urging them to make their lives a generous Christian service, a different apostolate from the one they would have fulfilled with their children, but an equally marvelous one. If they look around they will discover people who need help, charity and love. There are, moreover, many apostolic tasks in which they can work.

If they give themselves generously to others and forget themselves, if they put their hearts into their work, they will be wonderfully fruitful and will experience a spiritual parenthood that will fill their souls with true peace. Do you feel like we have enough heart to heart conversations that connect us emotionally? What amount of available money do you need to have to feel comfortable? How will we make sure we have quality time together no matter how busy we get?

How important is it to you to keep up physical appearances?

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Are there some things that you and I are not prepared to give up in the marriage? Do you feel like you can be assertive with me? Why or why not?


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How do we balance holiday and special occasions with both families and also make sure to have special time for us? When conflict arises, do we tend to want to fight or avoid it? Can we comfortably and openly discuss our sexual needs, preferences and fears? Do you want kids?

Lean in and first process why the answer they gave made you feel that way. At least this time the H doesn't seem to be overly infatuated with his former flame, tho LA does give us cause to wonder, instead he seems to be overly infatuated with doing his own thing - which seems to consist of being a brilliant physicist and looking for meteorites. The h, on the other hand, is a volunteer radio operator for Re A Question of Marriage - Lindsay Armstrong does mild romance amongst her usual 'H is way too into another woman but hangin' with the h' trope. The h, on the other hand, is a volunteer radio operator for the Coast Guard and has just sent her 60 yr old father off to sail around the world on his little sloop.

The H and h meet when the h realizes that when her father sold the family home just before his voyage, he did not know about the many seekrit diaries the h had hidden behind a loose brick in the fireplace. The h tries to sneak into her former house to retrieve them, she still has a key to the back door, but she collides with the H and he thinks she is a burglar, so she knocks him over and runs away. But the h REALLY wants her diaries back, they are the repository of all her inner life since small childhood, when her mum died and it was only her and her father. So the h has to get the H to give her the diaries back, but his live in PA won't make an appointment for the h to see him - she thinks the h is some kind of physicist groupie.

Fortunately for the h, her boss got an invitation to the H's house warming party and needs an escort, so the h decides to accompany him to try and talk to the H.