Catholic Outlook

Be a passionate spouse this Marriage Week


“Our marriages are meant to be a living wellspring providing fresh and constant joy.”
“Our marriages are meant to be a living wellspring providing fresh and constant joy.”

Catholic Outlook, September 2012

Marriage Week in Australia opens on 9 September 2012. If you’re married, what comes to mind when you think about the word marriage, specifically in relation to your own?

If words such as love, settling down, routine, work, children, stability and commitment crop up in your free association, that’s great.

But what about excitement, mission, challenge, passion and adventure? Do they have a place in your marriage?

Why not? asks Francine Pirola, who with husband Byron is co-director of the newly launched Marriage Resource Centre.

The couple, who have 20 years’ experience in facilitating marriage seminars, are convinced that marriage is an art and that a passionate marriage isn’t only a matter of choosing the right partner but requires specific skills and ongoing practice.

“With all the needs and pressures of daily life, some married couples can fall into habits of living out of a sense of commitment to each other in terms only of duty and sacrifices, while missing out on the aspect of marriage as created by God to be a source of daily joy,” Francine said.

“Over time, this can erode our relationship. We are meant to enjoy our spouse, to delight in their presence every day, not only on our anniversaries or other special occasions, and whether we are newly married or married for 30 years or more.

“Our marriages are meant to be a living wellspring providing fresh and constant joy and a deep intimacy which sustains us in good times and bad.

“The wider social impact of joyful marriages is incalculable. This is the vision God holds out to us, and it really is possible to live this way.”

Francine said that couples with either a stressed or a solid marriage could benefit from having an opportunity to self-assess their interactions with each other, and gain some fresh approaches, practical strategies and insights.

The organisers of the nationwide Marriage Week also point out that marriages are not only the private matter of spouses.

Children gain emotional security and a myriad of health and other benefits from loving marriages, and benefits extend to wider families, employers, and communities.

Married couples are being invited to do something special for their marriage during Marriage Week, even if only to write a loving letter to their spouse.

The Marriage Resource Centre is offering a SmartLoving Marriage weekend on 8-9 September 2012 for couples, which explores the interpersonal, sexual and spiritual dimensions of married life.

The program is a series of presentations by married couples and exercises shared privately between husband and wife.

Drawing on the insights of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and current research on relationships, the weekend gives couples a new understanding of themselves and their spouse.

There is no counselling and couples are not asked to discuss their relationship with anyone else.

While it is a program in the Catholic tradition, couples or spouses of other denominations are most welcome.

Byron and Francine will be joined by Bernard and Anne Ellis and Bernadette and Steve Janson in hosting the weekend.

For registration and information visit and click on Events.

SmartLoving Marriage weekend

Dates: Saturday 8 September 2012 (9am-7pm) and Sunday 9 September 2012 (9am-5pm).

Venue: Our Lady of Mercy College, 6 Victoria Road, Parramatta.

Cost: $250 per couple, which includes meals and print materials. Alternative payment plans are available for couples who cannot afford the fee, please call (02) 9319 6280 to discuss the options privately.

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