‘Beloved’ – I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine’ – Song of Songs 6:3. A one of a kind young couples conference open to both CFCI and non-CFCI couples was organized by Couples for Christ India at the National Catechetical Liturgical Centre (NBCLC), Bangalore on the 17th of February 2019. The conference was focused on providing an understanding of the necessary tools to build our marriage and the four essential pillars in making a great marriage.
The conference began with teaching of songs followed by praise and worship. The conference was then inaugurated by Fr. Milton Gonsalves, the Executive Secretary of the CCBI Family Commission. Fr. Milton in his inaugural speech laid emphasis that the real ministers of the Sacrament of Marriage, are the couple themselves and hence invited a couple to join him in inaugurating the conference.
The first session was focused on understanding, what God intended for every marriage and how He designed marriage from the beginning of creation as it says, in
‘Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and they were not ashamed’.
~ Genesis 2:24-25
As part of the session, the couples were asked to jot down their idea of a dream marriage, and then they were taken through why this dream does not last long and how important is maintenance and hard work in a marriage. The couples were then introduced to the four important pillars – Priority, Pursuit, Possession and Purity, which are necessary for making a great marriage.
The second session was about the first 2 pillars of marriage Priority and Pursuit. The first part of the session explained in detail what our priorities in life should look like, in what order, and what it really means to put our spouse after God and before everything or everyone else. Through the session the couples were asked to identify what are the priorities in their life and their spouse’s life and what are the changes they would like, to make their spouse a priority. The second part of the session dealt with the second pillar of marriage that is Pursuit. How to pursue our spouse and work on our marriages. The couples were asked to recall what are the things they used to do for their spouse and have stopped and to discuss what their spouse would like them to start doing again.
The first half of the day then ended with Eucharistic Celebration, celebrated by Fr. Sunny Richard, The Secretary of the Family Commission in the Archdiocese of Bangalore and concelebrated by Fr. Bacil Sebastian Singh, Chaplin at St. Philomena Hospital. Fr. Sunny in his homily spoke about spiritual maturity and the importance of growing spiritually not just physically, intellectually, etc. How our spiritual growth can transform us and our marital relationship. Fr. Sunny also reiterated on how our relationships with our extended family should be by explaining the following scripture verse –
‘Therefore, a man leaves his father and his mother and cleave to his wife’ Genesis 2:24.
The afternoon began with praise and worship and then a few fun games and activities for the couples, followed by the next session. The third session of the day was about the next 2 pillars of marriage Possession and Purity. The session also focused on the aspects that give meaning and purpose to marriage. What is meant by “…and they shall become one flesh”, how to trust each other and grow in intimacy as God intended, and how everything should become ours and must be shared, and nothing should be hidden between the couple. The couples also learned about mutual submission from
Ephesians 5. “We are no longer our own but belong to the other”.
The 4th pillar- Purity signifies our nakedness/openness in every aspect of our life. The couples were then asked to examine what are the things that they are uncomfortable to share with their spouse or are holding back from their spouse and they were encouraged to open themselves to each other.
The final session was on parenting, which touched upon the principles. The couples need to adapt as parents and to turn to God to learn from him on how to raise children by finding in scriptures how God dealt with his children by first, loving them before anything else. The session also emphasized how important it is to aim for heaven for our children. How to embody love and be close to the children. How to be consistent and work together and share responsibility while parenting and to lead by example and follow what is taught to the children.
The conference ended with an introduction of CFCI to all non-community members. The couples returned with God’s message and love being poured into their hearts. The children of the couples too had a fun-filled time of learning through a parallel program with action songs, activities, games and sessions organized for them at the same venue.