South Korea

Church teachings help resolve marital conflicts

Many couples today suffer from many problems because they do not recognize and practice the meaning of marriage

Lee So-young

Updated: May 18, 2022 05:50 PM GMT

Catholic Church prioritizes love, respect, prayer and dialogue for happy married life. (Photo:  

Catholics in South Korea observe May 21 as Couples' Day and May is designated as the Month of the Family. The day for couples was initiated in 2007 with an aim to awaken conscience on the importance of marital relationships and to promote harmony in the family

It also seeks to diagnose social problems that affect families at home and how couples can find permanent solutions for their troubles.

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Ahead of this year's Couples' Day, let us learn and practice the meaning of marriage and how to resolve marital conflicts based on the teachings of the church.

Marriage is a partnership with God. God created a woman from a man, saying, It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a suitable partner for him (Genesis 2:18).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1605) says that man and woman were created for each other and explains that God has given man 'flesh of his flesh that is, a 'helpmate' who is equal and close to him. And thus, Jesus emphasizes, What God has joined together, let no man separate (Mark 10:9).

Couples that God has joined together are called to give each other generously. Saint Pope John Paul II, in paragraph 11 of the Apostolic Letter Familiaris Consortio (The Fellowship of the Family, 1981) said: Love enables man to discover self-fulfillment through the unsparing giving of himself.

Saint Pope John Paul II said that the bestowal of personality must be an irrevocable and lasting one by its very nature and that the indissolubility of marriage comes from the very bestowal essence of such a person.

A marriage would be empty without the logic of giving it freely, he said.

Yet, many couples today suffer from problems because they do not recognize and practice the meaning of marriage.

Catechism of the Catholic Church (1606) reminds us that everyone experiences evil and this experience also occurs in relationships between men and women.

Thus, this confusion and troubles in marriage seem to be universal.

Pope Francis has paid great attention to the crisis that today's families face. His apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love, 2016) is a guiding light on marital relationships

Pope Francis reminds us that a common crisis for couples emerges in the early stages of marriage, in which we must learn to reconcile differences and separation from our parents. The crisis of childbirth also creates new emotional challenges, the pope noted.

So, how can marital conflict be resolved? The Church emphasizes the importance of prayer and dialogue, teaching that couples should obey each other, husbands love their wives, and wives should respect their husbands (Eph 5:21-33).

Bishop Matthias Ri Iong-hoon, the president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) has issued a pastoral letter for families titled Family, the home of love and life.

Bishop Ri says that the family is a community that transmits and communicates faith and a community of dialogue.

He emphasizes that family disagreements often come from a lack of dialogue. At the same time, reflecting on the day and giving thanks to God for the good, forgiving each other for the wrong, and making a decision not to repeat it, and good family prayer can help achieve harmony in the family.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis noted in Amoris Laetitia that every crisis is an opportunity for couples to grow closer to each other and learn more about the meaning of marriage.

The pope advises that maturity in marriage be attained if couples see each other as life partners and acknowledge the immaturity of their ways of love.

Most importantly, Pope Francis suggests families read the writings of St. Paul, the Apostle, on love to find the qualities of true love.

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not self-interested, it is not angry, it is not vindictive. Love does not rejoice over injustice but rejoices over truth. Love covers all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13,4-7).

This is a translated and edited version of a Korean-language article published by the Catholic Times of Korea on May 15, 2022

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