Accompanying Married Couples in the Initial Years of Marriage

96. (40) The initial years of marriage are a vital and sensitive period during which couples become more aware of the challenges and meaning of married life. Consequently, pastoral accompaniment needs to go beyond the actual celebration of the Sacrament (FC, Part III). In this regard, experienced couples are of great importance in any pastoral activity. The parish is the ideal place for these experienced couples to be of service to younger couples, with the possible cooperation of associations, ecclesial movements and new communities. Married couples need encouragement in a basic openness to the great gift of children. The importance of family spirituality, prayer and participation in the Sunday Eucharist needs emphasis so couples might be encouraged to meet regularly to promote growth in their spiritual life and solidarity in the concrete demands of life. Meaningful liturgies, devotional practices and the Eucharist celebrated for families, especially on the wedding anniversary, were mentioned as vital factors in fostering evangelization through the family.

97. In the initial years of married life, couples often tend to keep to themselves, resulting in isolation from the society. For this reason, newlyweds need to experience the nearness of the community. Everyone agrees that sharing experiences of married life might help younger families develop a greater awareness of the beauty and challenges of marriage. The growth of a family to maturity calls for a strengthening of the network of relationships among couples and their creating meaningful ties. Since movements and Church groups principally offer and ensure these moments of growth and formation, some wished that these associations make a greater effort to accompany young, newly married couples in a consistent manner, especially at the diocesan level.

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