By Mary DeTurris Poust
Ask any Catholic couple for the secret to their marital success and they're likely to focus on two key things: communication and faith. Without those crucial elements, marriage can quickly become a business partnership rather than the sacramental relationship it is meant to be. The Church tries to ensure, through Pre-Cana programs, that young couples are aware of that reality before they say walk down the aisle to say, "I do."
Now the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y., is offering a DVD, "When Two Become One: An Introduction to Sacramental Marriage," to give engaged couples a first-hand look at what it means to make a sacred vow to another person. Four couples -- engaged, newlywed, married with children, and one celebrating their 51st wedding anniversary -- talk directly to the camera, sharing their stories, their joys, their struggles and their wisdom. The couples, as well as Msgr. Jim Lisante, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle parish in West Hempstead, N.Y., and a regular contributor to various TV news shows, talk about what must be present in a marriage to make it sacramental -- and happy.
Discussions of sexuality, NFP, marriage as vocation, grace through challenges, domestic church, and public witness of faith through marriage are all part of the mix in this well-produced program. My favorite couple had to be the husband and wife married for more than half a century. They talked about how they continue to "date" and how they relish their time together. The husband reminds viewers that marriage is "a lifelong love affair...Every day I renew the commitment."
The diocese's Office of Faith Formation also offers a DVD on NFP called "Plan Your Family Naturally: An Introduction to Natural Family Planning." The DVD covers the basics: What is NFP? How does it work? How does it improve a relationship? What are the challenges? Why is NFP acceptable for Catholics? Is it effective?
The program features conversations with couples who use NFP and one couple trained as NFP educators. There is heavy emphasis on the fact that fertility is not a disease to be treated but a gift to be celebrated and that rather than leading to problems in marriage the periods of abstinence required in this method actually improve communication and bring couples closer together.
For more information on the DVDs or to place an order, click HERE.