Finding unity in marriage takes effort, commitment

Guest Column, Catholic Wedding Guide, Clarion Herald

As long as I have been doing counseling for individuals and couples, I find myself amazed every time the presenting issue is “We aren’t on the same page” or “We have communication problems.”

I wonder why the couple finds itself in that situation. Did the couple really think marriage was a personal benefit without any cost?

It is interesting to hear sometimes about the symbols an engaged couple requests for the wedding liturgy: the three candles, different colored sand, etc., all indicating they are becoming ONE. 

The wedding ceremony even states: “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”

The goal of unity has been stated and people appear to understand, yet, so often couples do not give it their best to achieve the goal.

The bottom line for both individuals and couples is to review the purpose and call of marriage. Each person is challenged to deny self in favor of forming a strong marital unit.

Can it be said there is some pain to be endured? Of course! No change or goal worth attaining is ever achieved without some pain or suffering.

People endure diets and  exercise to lose weight; athletes endure pain and suffering to win a game or a championship.

Transforming two people to achieve a solid unit in marriage will not be any less painful. It takes time, effort and investment of self to achieve marital union. This has to be the daily goal of both parties.

There are a couple of elements I haven’t mentioned:

You don’t have to do it alone. There are two sources of assistance, God’s grace and counselors.

The sacrament of marriage has a special grace attached to it that strengthens one’s resolve to become vulnerable through the transition into becoming one.

Counseling adds a dimension of coaching, which is a given in every other challenging endeavor. It’s not a sign of weakness, and it’s not an embarrassment. It is the closest we will come to having a book to follow.

No one is really an expert at marriage; however, there are people whose vocation it is to spend their lives studying relationships and assisting individuals to attain their rightful places in marriage.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans cares about the mental health of individuals and couples. Catholic Counseling Service, located at 2814 South Carrollton Ave. in New Orleans, has counselors waiting to assist a couple in achieving relationship goals. Sliding fees are available; more importantly, help is available when needed.

If you sense you need help in working through the obstacles to unity as a married couple, please pick up the phone – 861-6245.

Deacon Dave Farinelli is clinical supervisor and therapist for Catholic Counseling Service. He can be reached at 861-6245 or 606-4342;

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