Couples should not be afraid of having a marriage crisis, Pope Francis says on Saturday during an address to members of the Retrouvaille Association, a group that ministers couples in extreme crisis.
“Today there is a great need for people, for spouses who know how to testify that crisis is not a curse, it is part of the journey, and constitutes an opportunity,” Francis said.
He added that priests and bishops also need to show couples that the opportunity to grow and change exists even in the midst of a relational struggle. (Read: Prayer For A Christ-centered Marriage)
A marriage crisis “makes you feel unpleasant things at time, but one can emerge from a crisis, provided that you emerge better,” he said.
Pope Francis praised the Retrouvaille program, which began in 1977. While it is Catholic in origin, it serves couples of any faith. The volunteer ministry now has communities in Canada, Central and South America, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and the United States.
The name “Retrouvaille” is French for “rediscovery.” The program aims to provide couples who “live in disappointment and pain of marriage problems.” A weekend setting is provided for troubled couples “to learn communication in marriage in a respectful manner.”
Pope Francis praised the group for its ministry to couples who are experiencing a serious marriage crisis. (Read: 5 Powerful Prayers for Marriage and Relationships)
“This is very important, we must not be afraid of crisis,” he said. “Crisis helps us to grow, and what we must take care of is not to fall into conflict, because when you fall into conflict you close your heart and there is no solution to the conflict — or barely.”
‘Life will always have challenges’
Pope Francis said life will always have challenges to overcome because it is human life and it does not take place in a sterile laboratory.
The Pope also called on the Catholic clergy and the laity to learn from Jesus on how to accompany husbands and wives who are struggling and experiencing marriage crisis.
The Holy Father, in his address, noted the importance of help in order to come out of crises. “It is difficult to emerge from a crisis alone: we must always all come out of a crisis together. I like this,” he said. (Read: 3 Relationship Advice From Pope Francis)
“I identify with your experience, which invites us to consider crisis as an opportunity: yes, a painful opportunity, but an opportunity – in this case, an opportunity to make a qualitative leap in relationships,” the Pope said.