Making time and space for love to grow

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Home > Media > News > Making time and space for love to grow
Making time and space for love to grow

By Ben Smith, Director of the Office of Life, Marriage and Family for the Archdiocese of Hobart

During the holidays, my wife and I were given a chance by my parents-in-law to go on a short trip to Launceston to have a night away from our six beautiful children. We haven’t had the opportunity to do this for about eight years.

We visited a range of antique shops as we made our way north up the Midland Highway and managed to share a mouthwatering vanilla slice in Ross. Once we got to Launceston, we visited the picturesque Josef Chromy Estate at Relbia and enjoyed the lovely views and sampled some wines. The next day we took a 50-minute drive to the Bridestowe Lavender Farm via Lilydale. The view of freshly blooming lavender in rows stretching off into the distance was amazing and the lavender flavored ice creams were delicious.

This trip was an enriching time for our marriage. It gave us the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company in a personal way and to give us the time and space to really talk and listen to each other. Furthermore we were able to pray together and talk to God about some of the deep joys, hopes and fears that were on our hearts. The trip helped us realise that we spend so much time working in our marriage to deliver on the day to day demands of raising six children but not enough time working on our marriage.

Pope Francis reflected on this reality in his 2016 Apostolic Exhortation on marriage and family life, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), by observing that: “In marriage, the joy of love needs to be cultivated.” (AL 126). He identified that dialogue between spouses “is essential for experiencing, expressing and fostering love in marriage and family life”. (AL 136) This dialogue can’t necessarily happen by chance. Hence Pope Francis encouraged couples to, “take time, quality time. … This means cultivating an interior silence that makes it possible to listen to another person without mental or emotional distractions.” (AL 137)

The summer holidays give us the time and space to work on things like our tan or our fishing technique and to catch up with family and friends. However we should not miss the opportunity to dedicate time and energy to renewing our core relationships with God and our spouse so that we can weather the storms of life that can sometimes emerge unexpectedly.