Step by Step Retreats


The vocation of a married couple is that in their mutual love they can render God, who is Love present in the world. The couple and their love is a an efficacious “sign” of the Trinity’s inner life, as they are two distinct persons in the communion of love, which is fruitful and becomes a third person in their child.

That God is Trinity can be somewhat understood on the base that “God is love” (1John 4:8) and love exists between persons. Love by its nature cannot remain between two in a closed circuit but pours out – hence we see the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit as the outpouring mutual love of father and Son. 

The couple on the other side, as the image of the Triune God appears in the first creation story where we can note the shift of the singular and plural of the nouns as a sort of expression for the unity and distinction of them (see Gn 1:27).

The Church recognizes that there exists in the human reality of sexual love the potential for the fullness of communion, as well as the potential for realizing the very love of God. For this reason the marriage of a Christian couple is a sacrament, and it is a sign of the union between Christ and the Church (see Eph 5:31-32):
“Though the love of a man and a woman is marked by imperfection, it is always called upon to reveal in concrete terms that which Jesus revealed in full: the irrevocable love of God who has tied himself for all time to our humanity…. Married people take part in this mystery. They become its living signs”.(Michel Fortin, Helen Lussier, Nicole Mazthjieu-Valade & Renaat Van Hove, Perspectives nouvells en pastorale du marriage, Inter-diocesan working document, 2000 p. 7)

“Mutual giving creates the communion of persons…which means to exist one for the other in a relationship based on natural gifts” says John Paul II in the Theology of the Body: Human Love in the Divine Plan (Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 1997 - This collection of reflections of John Paul II is translated in English as “theology of the body” although it would be more correct to call it the “theology of married love” as it is exactly what the work is about.)

The communion in love between husband and wife creates a real Church; the domestic Church that prays and has a mission similar to the universal Church for the world that needs the testimony of the spouses of their love, and of the presence of God in their everyday life.

Praying as a couple, praying together – in every kind of form, even practicing contemplative prayer together – is essential for building the communion of persons. For living as a domestic Church in the married love means living in prayer and in common mission, too. 

Common prayer, time spent together with each other and God is as important for the spiritual and psychological well-being of the marriage as for example the sexual encounter between the spouses. In common prayer we discover our oneness, our belonging together and confirm newly our commitment to each other – without speaking of it, but acting it, realizing it by our being one in prayer.

On the other hand, in the life of a married couple every activity becomes a “liturgy”, a service to God. By virtue of the grace of the sacrament that they are living, every work done in and for the communion of love, each and every single even banal job of everyday life, the washing of the dishes, the cleaning, cooking, educating the children, is a form of worship. Marriage is not a sacrament of a given moment, but it is becomes reality through a long period, through the entire life of the spouses, and through all the acts of their common life. It is evident that to maintain this kind of spirituality of the marriage, the couple needs to receive strength newly every day and draw from the grace of the sacrament of matrimony. This does not happen without praying together, without invoking the Holy Spirit who creates and strengthens their communion of love.

Scripture: “God created man [singular] in his image; in the divine image he created him [singular]; male and female he created them [plural]” (Gn 1:27)
“…and the two of them become one body” (Gn 2:24)
“This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church” (Eph 5:32)