Ana Domitrovic recommends a book which puts the ‘art of loving’ at the heart of marriage.
[New City Magazine – July 2016]
The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
When I saw this sentence it really touched me, as it shows how important the relationship between the couple is. I have been married for twelve years now, and with three children in the house, jobs and other activities, it’s hard to find time ‘for us’. As time passes, the relationship that was once so strong starts to wobble. We still think that we can keep it fresh because ‘hey, it’s us!’ but we begin to grow slowly apart. Even without realising, we start living two separate lives under one roof. ‘Whose fault is it? Is it me again for working too much? But I provide for the whole family. You are just not grateful for what we have. Oh, we talked about this last month, why are you bringing it up again?’
Our awakening point became an announcement of divorce from a couple close to us. We didn’t see it coming. We looked at each other and hugged, at the mere thought of such a pain, and we understood that love needs to be nurtured in order to stay alive.
I’m so glad to have found this book. It reminded me of what is important in order to ‘give love legs’, as the authors say. Kevin and Katie Kelley have been married for thirty-six years and have five children and six grandchildren. The book is based on their experience of living the spirituality of unity in their marriage, in their family and with other families of the Focolare. They have implemented the ‘art of loving’, as Chiara Lubich named it, into guidelines for married couples.
Every step is explained in a simple and very down to earth way, reinforced with a family experience. The authors don’t hide from tough questions and are very honest in saying that this book doesn’t offer a checklist to ‘a perfect marriage’. Neither do they claim to provide help for couples in serious crisis. What they hope to offer is encouragement for couples in their journey together, in their desire to grow more and more in love with each other and with the source of all love, God. It’s a small book of fifty pages, but packed with wisdom. I just had to stop at sentences like these: ‘Putting the art of loving into practice takes time, perseverance and patience with ourselves and with our spouse’ and ‘I love you, therefore I’m interested in what you are interested in’.
I wish this book could be part of a pack that comes on your wedding day: not just a certificate of marriage but also a pack of resources to have at hand for the journey together.